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Flash News: Hergé – Grand Palais – Positions Berlin – Marc Riboud

[09 Sep 2016]

Every fortnight, Artprice provides a short round up of art market news: Hergé at the Grand Palais. Positions Berlin. Marc Riboud… a humanist photojournalist.

Hergé at the Grand Palais

Tintin fans will be delighted! Ten years after an exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of Hergé’s birth at the Centre Pompidou, the Belgian creator is returning to the forefront of France’s museum scene with a show at the Grand Palais (28 September 2016 to 15 January 2017). Organised by Moulinsart and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux in close collaboration with the Hergé Museum in Louvain-la-Neuve and its curator, Sophie Chang, the retrospective promises to be one of the major cultural events of the autumn period. The exhibition’s focus will be on the personality and imagination of HERGÉ (aka Georges Remi, 1907-1983). His life and artistic evolution will be explained in a theme-based circuit that will emphasise the polymorphic nature of his work and his eclecticism. Tintin’s creator (Tintin first appeared in January 1929) was a central figure of the Franco-Belgian comic scene. He was a multi-talented artist, even trying his hand at abstract painting in the 60s, and was also an art collector (Miró, Lucio Fontana etc.).
While collectors are not particularly interested in his paintings, they readily compete to acquire his best comic plates. Prices have risen sharply in recent years (his auction turnover tripled between 2013 and 2015) raising Hergé to 68th place in the drawing-watercolor category (artists’ ranking based on annual auction turnovers). Indeed the level of demand in this segment is bringing the ninth art de facto into the Fine Art hierarchy.
The figures speak for themselves with Sotheby’s Paris generating a record €1.5 million ($1.7 million, double its estimate) in October 2015 for Tintin, King Ottokar’s Sceptre (pl. 95 & 96) and Artcurial (European specialist in comic strips since 2005) fetching more than €1 million (c. $1.2 million) for a double plate entitled King Ottokar’s Sceptre (1939) on 30 April 2016. Although specialized comic strip sales are mainly held in France, there is also an Asian market for this type of work as Artcurial’s successful test sale in Hong Kong proved last October (The Blue Lotusfetched over a million dollars). This year, Artcurial will be holding a similar Hong Kong sale in October with a similar emphasis on comic strips including a preparatory drawing by Hergé dated 1979 that is expected to generate around a million dollars. It will be interesting to see the reaction that this work elicits…

Positions Berlin

The art fair Positions Berlin will run from 15 to 18 September 2016 with selected works presented by 74 galleries. This third edition has a large majority of Berlin-based galleries (including White Concepts, We Gallery, Subject Object, Martin Mertens Gallery and Jarmuschek+Partner) with others from Cologne, Dusseldorf and Bonn. There will also be galleries from 13 countries including Spain, the Netherlands and Austria versus 16 last year. Positions Berlin focuses on recent creations.At a time when many fairs have been postponed or cancelled around the world, Positions Berlin is remaining on course and hopes to revitalize the German market. Recall that Germany is the fifth global marketplace for auction sales of Fine Art, a relatively high ranking considering that it represents only 2% of global Fine Art auction turnover. Although Berlin is rich in terms of its cultural offer, it is constantly seeking ways to generate momentum… and Positions Berlin is one of these inititaives.

Marc Riboud… a humanist photojournalist

Marc RIBOUD, a major figure in the world of photography, passed away on 30 August 2016 aged 93, leaving us with no less than 400,000 photographs. Riboud was part of that generation of photographers who focused their experienced and sensitive eyes on the small and marginal things in life. With curiosity as his primary motivation, he believed in the instinct of the moment and visual pleasure above all.
An engineer by training, he turned his teenage pastime into his profession, perhaps motivated by the Vest Pocket Kodak that his father gave him when he was 14 and with which he took his first pictures.
His famous 1953 photograph, Painter of the Eiffel Tower, showing Zazou poised above the void, brush in hand, was used on the cover of the prestigious American Life Magazine and got him admitted to Magnum under the leadership of Henri CARTIER-BRESSON and Robert CAPA who became his mentors. Indeed it is no coincidence that the picture which started his career is today his most expensive work on the secondary market (nearly $16,000, Sotheby’s Paris in 2012). After travelling all over France, his photojournalism work took him to a large number of international destinations: he was one of the first photographers to travel to communist China in 1957 before ending his trip in Japan in 1958. Thereafter, Riboud took his lenses to nearly all of the world’s major hotspots: Algeria’s independence in 1962, China’s cultural revolution in 1966, opposition to the Vietnam war in Washington in 1967 which produced the legendary photograph Girl with a flower showing the protester Jan Rose Kasmir in front of national guard soldiers with their bayonet rifles (nowadays an icon of anti-war sentiment). He also covered May 1968 in Paris, Prague in 1977, the hostage-siege at the US Embassy in Teheran in 1979, Solidarnosc in 1980, the Klaus Barbie trial in Lyon in 1987, Barack Obama’s victory in 2008… Marc Riboud won numerous prizes including the Prix Nadar in 2012 for his book Vers l’Orient and his photographs were published in numerous magazines during his lifetime. Today he ranks among the top 200 best-selling and most-collected photographers, mainly in France and the United States.
Both a humanist photographer and a photojournalist, Marc Riboud portrayed the world with a singular and characteristic style of its own reflecting his love of life and mankind, but also his sensitivity to daily suffering that he managed to illustrate in his own poetic way. In order to ensure his work continues to live and be viewed by new eyes, he donated all of his archives to the Guimet Museum, which will soon be organising a major exhibition dedicated to his work.

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