|Parcours des mondes - 2006 - Paris
Catalog cover (directly above) along with some photos of my favorite objects from various galleries.
My recap of the show is broken into a few different pages. On this page I attempt to talk about the show and my
experience at the show. The pages that follow it mainly consist of photographs (lots of them!) I took at the show with a little
bit of commentary and also a few photos I took at the Musée du quai Branly.
This page talks about the show from my personal perspective and I also include a little bit about the rest of my experience
in Paris and the people we were traveling with. It is intended to share my personal experience with others and share things
as I saw them as I experienced them, from my personal perspective.
The pages that follow this page contain photos of some of my favorite objects in each of the galleries that I went to in the
show. Unfortunately I didn't take photos in every gallery but I think the photos I took will give you a good virtual tour of
Parcours des mondes and hopefully this recap will be the next best thing to being there if you didn't get to go, or a nice
place to reflect back on some things you saw if you did go. Either way, it will hopefully be a nice window to escape into
from your office or home to transport you to a wonderful world full of nice objects to look at.
|Parcours des mondes - 2006 - Paris
"Parcours des mondes" is hailed as the best "Tribal Arts" show in the world. Started in 2001, it is the relatively 'new kid on
the block' compared to some of the other older and established shows that take place around the world that have been
taking place for many years. Despite it's young age, this show packs a lot of energy and has gathered a lot of respect in
the worldwide collecting public because it has consistently proven to be a place to see, and purchase if you are so inclined
and capable, objects of very high quality.
This year was the first time that I had the wonderful opportunity to attend this show, so I don't have a lot of personal
experiences to draw upon for this review, but I'll do my best. According to the numbers, there were around 53 participating
dealers in the 2006 event compared to around 56 in 2005, around 52 in 2004 and around 30 in 2003. (I don't have numbers
for 2001 and 2002).
It was unclear, at least to me, how the negative press that happened during the show last year effected the show this year.
The energy to me seemed good and there was a constant stream of people going in and out of the galleries throughout the
show and things were being sold because there were a lot of red dots. The 'negative press' was when "LeFigaro"
Newspaper ran an article during Parcours des mondes 2005 about an event that happened more than 10 years ago
involving a major American African Art dealer. The article accused the American dealer of selling a fake Congo fetish in
1995 to a collector in Belgium for $440,000. The article supposedly put a lot of tension in the air between dealers and a lot
were reportedly not going to participate in the show this year. The participating dealer attendance was just slightly lower
this year than last but I'm not sure how many of the participating dealers from last year didn't return and how many new
dealers took their place. (I couldn't find my catalog from last year to do the comparison).
By the numbers this year there were 27 out of a total of 53 dealers that came from outside France to participate in the show.
It's a huge undertaking to participate in this show from my understanding by talking to several dealers from the United
States that I know. Unlike the New York and San Francisco shows, which take place under one roof, dealers that
participate in Parcours des mondes have quite a bit more to deal with logistically. In the Saint Germain des Prés area of
Paris where the show is held, some of the existing contemporary art galleries with permanent spaces will vacate their
spaces for a week and rent them to dealers coming to Paris to participate in the show.
From what I gathered talking to some people, for the average dealer coming to Paris from the USA to participate in this
show they will on average lay out $18,000 - $25,000 just to participate in the show. Between the cost to rent the gallery for
a week, pack and ship their items to Paris, pay the 'membership' fee to be included in the show (which in itself is
somewhere around $4500), airfare, hotels and meals...it all adds up. I was told that the upfront expense will pay off if sales
during the show are good, but several dealers I talked to said that they were most likely not coming back next year and
were going to stick to the NY, LA, Santa Fe and San Francisco shows.
OK, enough about the numbers...
(Below goes into the time from when we left Denver to when the show started, the photos start after this section)
We left Denver on the morning of the 11th and arrived in Paris on the morning of Tuesday the 12th, the day before the
show opened. I managed to make it to the airport in Denver WITHOUT my passport, even after I was asked 2 times that
morning before we left the house if I had it on me. I didn't realize this fact until we got up to the counter to check in for our
flight. Luckily we allowed ourselves 3 hours before the flight and I got a taxi to drive me home and back to the airport in
under an hour. For those of you who know, the Denver airport is out in the middle of nowhere, so it was an incredible feat
and not the way I wanted to start off this trip.
It was my first trip to Europe and we spent the first day site seeing around Paris with our friend Vero. That first day we were
up for about 36 hours since we didn't get much sleep on the flights over. We met Vero right after we got to our hotel and we
started off right away and spent the whole day walking from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe then to the Eiffel Tower and
by the Musée du quai Branly and then back to the hotel in Saint Germain des Prés. It was great to have someone so
familiar with everything to take us around, and it was great to finally meet Vero in person since I had only talked to her via
email previously. She and her husband are also Tribal art collectors who live in Lagos Nigeria for about 10 months out of
the year and then Paris for the other 2.
When we got back to the hotel I was excited (jonesing is a better word for it) to go and walk around the galleries for the
Parcours des mondes just to see where they were and see if I could get a glimpse of what was going to be on display. I
think that first night I walked by every gallery and most of them had their windows blacked out or covered with paper or
bubble wrap so you could only see the outlines of the things in the gallery and see the people who were busy doing the
last minute set-ups of the displays. A few of the galleries where I knew people had their doors cracked and I went in to say
hi and got to see a little advanced preview of the objects. That night I also stopped by Galerie Flak on rue des Beaux-Arts
to say hi to Edith, Roland and Julien Flak and take a look at the Mumuye statues they had as well as the other things in
their gallery. I was excited to see their collection of Kachinas. They are some of THE nicest people in the Tribal art world
and it was a great pleasure to walk around their gallery with them. I also picked up a copy of their publication "Mumuye"
that accompanied their Mumuye exhibition. I love Mumuye sculpture and was excited to get the book and see some of the
Mumuye statues that were in it, the book is great!
Several people I talked to agreed that this year at Parcours des mondes was 'the year of the Mumuye' because of the
abundance of Mumuye masks and statues in the galleries around the show. The masks were incredible because you don't
often see that many Mumuye masks, especially all in the same place like this. There were many nice Mumuye statues
presented in the show, some were amazing but most of them made me really appreciate my 2 Mumuye statues in my
collection even more than I had before.
Many galleries had thematic exhibitions around the arts of Nigeria this year:
Galerie Ratton-Hourde had a Yoruba exhibition of 100 objects they purchased from a private French collection
Galerie Alain Bovis in association with Arty y Ritual Gallery had an exhibition "Nigeria - Collection Jacques Kerchache
Galerie Dandrieu Giovagnoni - "Nigeria" - the arts of the cultures of Nigeria
And of course the Mumuye exhibition that was at Galerie Flak that started in June of this year
Other thematic exhibitions that I enjoyed:
Galerie Afrique - "Eros Noir" - masks and sculpture that focused on fertility
Galerie Afrique Noire was not part of Parcours des mondes but has a permanent gallery space at 54 rue Mazarine and
had a wonderful exhibition of African maternity figures from all over Africa, many cultures that I haven't seen maternity
figures from. I think this was probably my favorite thematic exhibition and they had some really wonderful pieces.
L'Accrosonge had a great display of Bete masks from a private collection
Galerie Bernard Dulon had a nice exhibition of the arts of Cameroon
Galerie Maine Durieu had an exhibition of figures from the Ivory Coast with a focus on Baule (didn't make it to this one)
Galerie Albert Loeb had an exhibition of Bamana puppets which I loved but wish it could have included more types
Noir d'Ivorie had 2 gallery spaces in the show, one with an exhibition of terracotta figures and one with these wonderful
logs that were used in wells that the ropes carved out slits in the logs. They had the gallery set up like a forest with these
logs and it was visually very interesting. Photos are in this review.
Jean-Babtiste Bacquart had a nice exhibition of Baule objects set up in his gallery space.
On the opening day of the show (Wednesday the 13th) we spent some more time doing some site-seeing around Paris,
specifically the area around Notre Dame before I went and walked around all of the galleries on my own since the official
opening wasn't until 2pm that day. I did a really quick tour of all of the galleries and talked with several of the gallery
owners I knew and asked them how the opening day went. One gallery owner said that his gallery was full with people right
after the opening and people were standing by objects with their hands on the bases of the objects they wished to
purchase until he or his associate could make it over to them. In one instance he said one man had his son go over and
stand by another object he wished to buy, just so it wouldn't get away. I guess that type of situation is a gallery owner's
dream situation, and dreams come true I guess. It wasn't only private collectors attending and buying at the show, I was
told that several people from museums from around the world were also in attendence...and buying. One gallery owner
identified 2 pieces in the gallery that had sold on opening day that were going to museums, but I couldn't get confirmed
reports from any other galleries about sales to museums even though there was talk of it going around. There were also
quite a few dealers from the US and Europe walking around and there was a little bit of buying going on between dealers
After my brief visit of the galleries on opening day (13th) I went back to the hotel because I knew that the entire next day
was going to be devoted to walking around to all of the galleries and really spending some time in each one. We were also
meeting up with Bobbi and Tim Hamill of the Hamill Gallery in Boston whom we were traveling with because they were
arriving in Paris that afternoon along with Paul from Canada, John from N. Carolina and Herbert from Austria and later
Tatjana and Jochen from Denmark. The group that Bobbi put together consisted of a diverse group of people that had
varied levels of exposure to and knowledge about Tribal art.
On the morning of Thursday the 14th we all set out to start the walking tour through all of the galleries. Just about
everyone in the group had a different background on and perspective of Tribal art so it was very interesting to see
everyone's reactions to the same objects. I really enjoyed talking to people about the different things that each one of us
found interesting that were familiar to us as well as discovering and learning about things we had never seen or been
exposed to. This was the 2nd day of the show and quite a few things had already been sold while we were walking through
the galleries. It was a fun day of walking around and there was a LOT to see, as well as a LOT to forget!
That is why I wanted to take photos of some of my favorite things in each gallery so I could remember them for myself and
also share them with others who visit my website. Between Jerome and I we took over 500 photos while we were in Paris,
most of them were from the galleries and can be seen in the 7 pages or 8 pages of photos that will follow this page, and the
remainder were from walking around Paris and seeing the sights and I am going to put those on my About Me - Photo
Version page soon.
On the evening of the 14th, Bobbi put together a really great diverse dinner group that consisted of people like: Christaud
(Chris) Geary who is the curator of African and Oceanic art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Christophe Rolly and his
wife (www.artheos.org), Wolf Schlink and his wife (www.tribalearthgallery.com), Marc Ghysels
(http://www.asianart.com/articles/ghysels/index.html) who uses CT Scanners for evaluating objects of art which is VERY
interesting, John Pavan who has an interest in but is not a collector of Tribal art, Peter Kryshtalovich who is a painter and
Dean of Students at a University in Canada who is a collector of African art, Herbert from Austria who is a doctor and a
collector of African art, Bobbi and Tim Hamill, Jerome and myself. So in the group there were different levels of academics,
collectors and dealers as well as people who have little bit of exposure and interest in Tribal art but aren't really collectors.
People moved around the dinner table switching places with people so just about everyone got to talk to everyone else, it
was a really great dinner!
The next morning, Friday the 15th, Bobbi & Tim and Jerome & I set out to go to the new Musee Quai Branly (the few
photos I took are on page 8 of this review). At dinner the previous night we heard some not so good reviews about the
museum. This had also been the case from talking to various people at the show and others through email. I will still
excited to see the new museum, even if it had it's problems. My comments about my experience at the new museum are on
the photo page which is linked at the end of the Parcours des mondes photo review.
On Saturday the 16th my friend Estelle was flying into Paris to meet up with us and my friend Vero was also coming to join
us again to go walking around the galleries. We also met up with Christian Silvian (http://africasiartribal.free.fr/html/galerie.html) ,
Luc Leferve (http://lulef.free.fr/) and Jean-Christophe Bonnefoy from France and spent a little bit of time with them. I also ran
into Leif Holmstedt who recognized me walking on the street, he wrote the book "Afrikanske Masker". It was really great
walking around the galleries with Jerome, Vero and Estelle on Saturday. There were a lot of things that I wanted to show
Vero and Estelle and I had fun playing gallery guide since I had been walking around the galleries every day since
Tuesday. By the end of the day on Saturday I had "art overload". I didn't think that could happen, but it did. I had walked
around the galleries for 5 days straight, looking at objects and talking to people and it was a terrific experience for me but
by the end of the day Saturday I had no desire to go back, I was ready to get home. I will savor the experience for a long
time to come, it was great to spend some good quality time with my friends Tim and Bobbi, and it was also great to meet a
lot of people from France and elsewhere that I had only previously talked with over email. It's always nice to put a face with
When attending these shows you often see really great objects that are financially unobtainable and things you've never
seen before, but often times you come home and appreciate the things you collect even more!
The pages that follow are photo pages and they are broken out into galleries by street, I figured that would be the easiest
way to do it. There are a total of 8 pages of photos if you include the Musée du quai Branly.
I hope you will enjoy the photo review of the show!
|CLICK HERE to go to page 1 of the virtual tour...
Go to Main page - page 1 - page 2 page 3 - page 4 - page 5 - page 6 - page 7
of the Parcour des mondes 2006 recap