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XXVI Biennale des Antiquaires Paris September 14 - 23, 2012
August 31, 2012  | 

The 26th Antique & Arts Biennale, organized by the French National Union of Antique Dealers (SNA) since 1956, will be held at the Grand Palais in Paris, September 14 - 23, 2012.

The Biennale, an unmissable event for the art market, features a wide range of specialist fields presented by internationally renowned professionals in antiques, fine arts and jewellery. These professionals, who are all members of the SNA, have been chosen from amongst the world’s best antique and art dealers. They meet the quality requirements specified by the SNA, ensuring compliance with a code of honour to which all the professionals adhere.

This year’s Biennale has been designed by Karl Lagerfeld. It will host 121 exhibitors, 35 more than in 2010, taking advantage of the reopening of the Salon d’Honneur, which had been closed for over seventy years.

The public opening will be preceded by a preview attended by a large number of art enthusiasts and a gala dinner. All profits will go to the Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris-Hôpitaux de France, whose patron is Bernadette Chirac, the wife of Jacques Chirac.

The idea of staging an antiques fair first appeared in the 1950s. The inaugural event was held in 1956, at the instigation of the new Chairman of the SNA, Pierre Vandermeersch.

The dream  of the SNA was to create an event whose exhibits were as beautiful as its visitors, and whose elegance, prestige and celebratory atmosphere would attract crowds of art enthusiasts and collectors.

André Malraux opened the doors of the Grand Palais, a legendary monument built in Paris for the 1900 World Fair. It was in 1962 that the first International Antiques Biennale was held in its current form, bringing together the biggest antique dealers, interior designers and jewellers from France and further afield under the glass roof, in a fairytale interior of pavilions, gardens and fountains.

Over the years, the talent of figures such as André Crivelli, Jean-Raphaël Milliès-Lacroix, Pier-Luigi Pizzi, Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Christian Lacroix has contributed to the success of the event, which all major collectors and the international elite are eager to attend.

Event Design by Karl Lagerfeld "Window shopping in Paris"
For the 26th Antiques & Arts Paris Biennale, Karl Lagerfeld wanted to resurrect the spirit of Paris’s late-nineteenth-century shopping arcades. Working closely with the SNA, the Biennale’s contractor René Bouchara has made Karl Lagerfeld’s vision a reality.

"For this project, I was inspired by Paris, the Grand Palais, the World Fairs at the start of the twentieth century as well as the covered shopping arcades built in Paris in the nineteenth century. For me, the Grand Palais is the very heart of Paris, the idea of Paris and its universal appeal. It’s also a place I love, where I’ve held some incredible shows. I wanted to emphasize the size and splendour of the glass roof, which will be like a protective shield over the exceptional exhibits presented by the antique dealers, art galleries and jewellers" says Mr. Lagerfeld

"Karl Lagerfeld’s creative genius, sensitivity and sense of show are just some of the reasons why I’m thrilled with our collaboration for the 2012 Biennale. With his huge talent, Karl was instantly able to adapt his artistic vision to the specific needs of the Biennale." Christian Deydier, Chairman of the SNA Biennale des Antiquaires.

The poster for the 26th Antiques & Arts Paris Biennale was designed by Karl Lagerfeld. When looking through the archives of the Grand Palais, he found an old photograph showing the first Paris Air Show, which was hosted by the Grand Palais in 1909. By including a hot air balloon in the visual, he pays tribute to the first exhibitions held at the Grand Palais in the early twentieth century. Visitors to the Biennale may be surprised to see a magnificent antique hot air balloon, which will be inflated under the glass dome during the Biennale.

Organized around a central walkway symbolizing the Champs-Élysées, from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe, the stands, which open onto the aisles, offer an opportunity to see antiques in their twentieth-century environment by focusing the eye on the exhibit.

To recreate the atmosphere in Paris at that time, ten different façades have been designed as stylistic variations of nineteenth-century urban architecture. Visitors can explore an exhibition space totalling 5,150 sq m, divided between the Nave and Salon d’Honneur.

All exhibitors at the Biennale are members of the French National Union of Antique Dealers, the SNA. They have all signed the SNA’s "Customs and Practices" Charter. Membership of the SNA provides a guarantee of fairness, authenticity and international renown. The 26th Antiques & Arts Paris Biennale will host 121 exhibitors, including 54 newcomers.

For every Biennale, the SNA forms a committee, Object Admission Committee (CAO), responsible for inspecting all the objects presented by exhibitors in order to offer buyers an assurance as to their basic features and authenticity. An object may be withdrawn from the stand if there is any doubt over its origin, if the restoration is judged excessive or if the object fails to meet the selection criteria and standards of excellence imposed by the Biennale. The vetting will take place on 11 and 12 September.

The Grand Palais, which was built in the heart of Paris for the 1900 World Fair, is a prominent French landmark. A feat of engineering symbolized by the spectacular glass roof, the Grand Palais is an historic monument to which crowds flock every year to see the events held in the nave, whether they be exhibitions of the Galeries Nationales (since 1964) or of the Palais de la Découverte (since 1937).

Following a twelve-year closure, during which 15,000 rivets were changed, 110,000 sq m of surfaces repainted, 60 tons of paint used, 16,000 sq m of windows replaced, 6,600 cu m of concrete and 10,000 tons of cement poured, the Grand Palais reopened to the public for the 22nd European Heritage Day. On 17 September 2005, visitors were able to admire the restored and illuminated glass roof, further enhanced by the display of two of Coronelli’s famous globes.

Since reopening in 2005, the Grand Palais has returned to its former glory and is fit to face the 21st century, but has lost none of its longstanding values: excellence and beauty. Recently it has hosted a wide range of prestigious international events: Monumenta, fashion shows by Chanel, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, the exhibition Egypt’s Sunken Treasures, Les Etés de la Danse Festival, and of course the Antiques & Arts Paris Biennale. The creation of the Etablissement Public du Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées (EPGPCE) in 2007 opened a new chapter in the building’s history. It is responsible for continuing to develop the site, making it available to the public and increasing its renown. 

In 2012, the Grand Palais brought a new dimension to Paris with the reopening of the Salon d’Honneur, which had been closed for over seventy years.

First opened to host the 1900 World Fair, the Salon d’Honneur, a stunning 1,200 sq m reception room topped by a glass roof, closed its doors in 1937. Seven decades — and three years of renovation work — later, the area has regained its splendour and prestige by providing a very special location for countless events. Standing at the centre of the Grand Palais in extension of the nave, the Salon d’Honneur is proving to be a prestigious separate venue within the monument.

The first major event to come to the newly restored Salon d’Honneur, the Antiques & Arts Paris Biennale has gained nearly 650 sq m of additional space, which has been made available to 32 exhibitors. This prestigious area is giving the Biennale another location befitting the excellence and beauty of the items on display. Once again this year the Antiques & Arts Paris Biennale, an unmissable event for the international art market, is celebrating all forms of art, including fine food. 

"As members of the SNA, we have a duty to talk about antiques, their history, their conservation and more importantly the heritage that we have to pass on to future generations. Let’s not forget that we’re only the guardians or temporary owners of works of art." Christian Deydier, Chairman of the SNA The SNA was founded on 17 October 1901 with the motto "authenticity, quality and integrity", thereby ensuring compliance with a code of honour to which all its members adhere. SNA members make an active contribution to protecting our heritage in France and across the world by identifying and evaluating antiques and works of art, and providing well-informed advice on how they can be conserved and maintained. In addition, the SNA is a major contributor to legislation on the French and international art market, as well as defence and promotion of the profession. Today, over 75% of sales in the antiques and fine arts market are still closed by antique dealers, which is strengthening the SNA’s role and activities.

Show Information:
September 14 - 23, 2012
Preview: Thursday, September 13, 2012 6pm by Invitation
Gala Dinner: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 to Benefit: Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris-Hôpitaux de France
Show Hours: 11am to 8pm Daily
Late-night opening until 11pm:  Tuesday, September 18, Thursday, September 20 and Saturday, September 22
Show Closes at 4pm on Sunday, September 23, 2012 

Venue: Grand Palais 
Avenue Winston Churchill
75008 Paris (France)