End of fair report

Art Brussels, Brussels

April 25–28, 2019
May 8, 2019
Art Brussels
Avenue du Port 86C
Tour & Taxis
BE-1000 Brussels

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Art Brussels once again attracted experienced and considered Belgian and international collectors who flocked to the fair this year, as well as numerous institutions and high-profile art world personalities creating an electric atmosphere with strong sales across the board.

With a retention rate of returning galleries at 70% (compared to the 50% at other major art fairs according to the 2019 UBS Art Market Report), galleries came out in force with expertly curated booths and a mixture of established and emerging artists across Prime, Discovery, Rediscovery, Solo and Invited sections. This year the fair proved that it continues to be at the centre of the city’s ever-growing, thriving art scene.

Many booths had almost sold out within the first day of the fair including; in Prime Patrick de Brock (Knokke) who sold out with works by Ethan Cook in the price range of 22,000–36,000 EUR, Kristof De Clercq (Ghent) who sold twenty works within the first few days of the fair with artists such as  Mario De Brabandere and Johan De Wit and Ceysson & Bénétière (Luxembourg, Paris, Saint-Etienne, New York) who had already rehung three works in the first day. In the Discovery section, Derouillon (Paris) had sold out the booth by Friday afternoon, as well as Lehmann+Silva (Porto) and STEMS (Brussels, Luxembourg) who also sold out their booth by the end of the fair.

In the Prime section Harlan Levey (Brussels), who sold twenty pieces on his booth said “we were thrilled by the new contacts we made and the number of institutional curators who visited our booth. Art Brussels once again showed how classy, cool and qualitative a fair can be.” Also in PRIME, New Art Centre (Salisbury), who have been exhibiting at the fair for the past six years and sold a Henry Moore tapestry amongst others this year said, “the opening had an electric atmosphere with lots of great conversations with new and existing collectors … there is a buoyant and positive atmosphere every day.” Belgian gallery rodolphe janssen (Brussels) reported a “very strong start with an international crowd” having sold works by Thomas Lerooy, Gert & Uwe Tobias and sold out their Sanam Khatibi works amongst others. Others in Prime, such as Blain|Southern (London, Berlin, New York), Gladstone (New York, Brussels), Lelong & Co (Paris, New York) reported great success.

Art Brussels’s dynamic new Invited section, that included nomadic, collaborative and pop-up models, was a subject for much discussion and excitement, giving the opportunity to younger emerging galleries to participate at a considerably reduced rate. Alice Black Gallery (London) reported numerous sales and co-founder Alice Black said, “our participation payed off, the traffic in the fair was phenomenal … the collectors at Art Brussels are decisive, knowledgeable and their approach is well thought through, the work is really appreciated.” Zurich-based Counter Space, who have no fixed address, sold several works and stunned visitors with Anne Rochat’s performance in which she wrapped her naked body around a block of melting ice over the course of an hour.

The Solo Prize jury this year included Iwona Blazwick (Director, Whitechapel Gallery), Chris Dercon (CEO, Rmn-GP, Paris), Vanessa Joan Müller (Head of Dramaturgy, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna), Raf Simons (Collector) and Monika Szewczyk (Director, De Appel, Amsterdam) who awarded the prize to Lesley Vance with Xavier Hufkens (Brussels). The SOLO prize is supported by Van Den Weghe.

The Discovery Prize jury this year included Tessa Giblin (Director, Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London/Senior Artistic Advisor, The Shed, New York), Hélène Vandenberghe (Director, Philippe Vandenberg Foundation, Brussels & Advisor, The Institute for Artists’ Estates, Berlin) who awarded the prize to both tegenboschvanvreden (Amsterdam) and NOME (Berlin). The Discovery prize is supported by Moleskine.

The fair was once again enchanted to benefit of the support of Belfius Wealth Management as main partner.

Read the full fair and sales report here.