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Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is guest of honor at Salon du dessin in Paris
The influence of the Salon du dessin exceeds the sole framework of the art market.

PARIS.- The Salon du dessin was founded in 1991 at the initiative of 9 art dealers. It was the first art fair exclusively devoted to drawing that fostered the appeal of the medium. It has evidenced unparalleled longevity in this speciality, to be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016! An ideal occasion to look back over all the years our spring rendezvous with fine draughtsmanship has set the pace of the agenda for collectors and curators of the major museums’ drawing departments… An anniversary book: “25 years Special” shall be published at the time of the Salon du dessin. The work comprises an anthology of the most striking drawings sold at the Salon, interspersed with accounts from the collectors and curators of the way the Salon du dessin enabled them to maintain their devouring passion for line or even, on occasion, sparked it off. Fulfilling with brio the role of driving force vested in it by virtue of its capacity as precursor, the Salon du dessin has afforded Paris the status of European capital of drawing. Over the years, other events and animations have opened their doors in the wake of what has become an unmissable rallying point.

The Salon du dessin enjoys an excellent reputation, in particular thanks to the prestige of the galleries selected to participate and the quality of the drawings they show, but eclecticism is also an important component. It sets itself apart from the other salons by also showcasing old drawings, whereas most of the other specialist events only show contemporary work. The modern and contemporary are not, however, neglected at the Salon du dessin, but have pride of place on the stands of the galleries and the Daniel & Florence Guerlain contemporary drawing foundation. A rigour that is perceptible in the very diversity of its offering confers on the Salon the highly prized position of exhaustive reference in its specialization.

The Daniel and Florence Guerlain Foundation contemporary drawing award
The Salon du dessin supports the famous couple of eminent collectors’ approach to encouraging contemporary creation. At the Salon on Thursday 31 March at 12:00, Daniel and Florence Guerlain will hand over the 9th contemporary drawing Prize awarded by their foundation.

The Salon du dessin, a link between the art market and the institutional sphere
The influence of the Salon du dessin exceeds the sole framework of the art market, since the event, whose original aim was commercial, has initiated the creation of Drawing Week, which brings together the major museums in the Greater Paris Area. The Salon du dessin thus invites interested museums to join in, with the possibility of organising first-time visits of their graphic arts departments. In parallel, every year the Salon du dessin organises two afternoon conferences, entitled “Rencontres internationales”, on a theme which presides for two years. In 2016 and 2017, an inventory of our knowledge of the period “from David to Delacroix” will be directed by Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat!

For all these reasons, the Salon du dessin plays a decisive role in the global outreach of drawing, each year offering collectors and curators from all over the world a wider vision of the speciality, through a meeting point that is both commercial and scientific.

The Salon du dessin, a meeting point that is both commercial and scientific, around a medium that fuels the imagination
The Salon du dessin is an event that was conceived by art dealers for art dealers. The organisers strive, with each new edition, to give precedence to conviviality and the quality of the services provided to the exhibitors, where other fairs have their eye primarily on their growth and economic interests. Beyond the commercial aim, the salon has also been designed as a space for art lovers to share and exchange, whether they be beginners, connoisseurs or professionals. They are all at home in a place where they can find answers to their questions and be questioned in their turn about what has retained their interest. The anonymous drawings stand kindles passionate debate: don’t we feel here the influence of Le Brun?! And that small landscape, there, is it not worthy of the best signatures?! Drawings, from the anonymous to the certified authentic, open up the field of possibles and fire the imagination. More accessible than painting or sculpture, this medium has been somewhat spared by the crisis and for the amateur or collector in search of emotional worth, also has the advantage of establishing a more intimate rapport with the artist.

The guest of honour – The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, the Salon du dessin has planned an exceptional programme, inviting The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts to exhibit part of its drawing archives. This will be the first time a set of drawings solely from The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts will be shown in France. Marina Lochak, who has been the head of the museum since July 2013, is delighted by the invitation, which will also support the initiative of the year of double France-Russia exchanges in tourism and heritage.

The commissioner of the exhibition, Vitaly Michine, curator of French drawings, has asked all the curators of two of the museum’s departments to select 26 drawings to be shown on the occasion of the exhibition: the department of private collections and the collection of the graphic arts department of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Among the 26 works are 17 Russian drawings, 3 of which are from the Zilberstein Private Collection, and 9 Western drawings.

This is the first time a foreign museum has been invited to the Salon du dessin. This cooperation therefore represents a step towards the Salon’s ever-increasing international reach, which until now had been oriented towards the West, in particular the United States. The Salon is in fact extremely popular with American curators: they attend in great numbers every year to add to the collections of their graphic arts departments. The Salon du dessin opening up towards the East marks a decisive new stage in its development.

Drawing Week 2016
Testimony to the beneficial influence of the Salon du dessin on the cultural life of Paris, every year, Drawing Week reveals collections never before seen, most often related to the theme defining the framework of the Rencontres internationales conference. In 2016, certain museums in the Greater Paris Area will invite us to contemplate their graphic arts departments through the lens of the period from David to Delacroix.

From the 17th century, the Prints department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France began to build an immense collection of portraits, enhanced over the years and as techniques evolved (engraving, lithography, photography, etc.). Many drawings are also kept there, from 16th century pencil drawings to the portraits of our contemporaries. The 2016 edition of the Salon du dessin is an occasion to present a set of drawings from the end of the 18th century up to the mid-19th century.

At the Centre Pompidou, the French national museum of modern art, the graphic arts department conserves more than 17,000 works on paper. While the “from David to Delacroix” theme is obviously outside of the time-frame of the Pompidou Centre’s collection, the fact remains that art prior to the 20th century still has a presence there. This takes the form of pictures treated in highly diverse manners: old images that are given a new lease of life as copies, in tributes, or pastiche… Two contemporary artists - Erró and Buraglio – have focused particularly on this idea of re-use. The exhibition of these two artists’ drawings shall illustrate the problems related to memory, commemoration and vanity.

Within the framework of Drawing Week, Sèvres – celebrated for its ceramics - presents a selection of a dozen works on paper by Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard (1780-1850). This exceptional collection comprises 374 drawings representing the production of porcelain items by the Manufacture de Sèvres, under the aegis of its director Alexandre Brongniart from 1800 to 1847 and the penchant of the period for neoclassicism and then the neogothic. Son of Jean-Honoré Fragonard, student of his father and of David, a contemporary of Delacroix, Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard was one of the most active collaborators of the Manufacture de Sèvres between 1806 and 1842.

In 2016, for the 25th consecutive year, the Salon du dessin shall signal the arrival of spring with its budding beautiful and new – if not necessarily young - drawings, inspiring museums and commercial events and quite simply surpassing the expectations of some 13,000 art lovers, amateurs and professionals alike, who flock to visit the Salon every year: happy anniversary and many happy returns to the Salon du dessin!

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March 31, 2016

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