There is very little that can compare to the elegance and splendor of TEFAF, the showcase of art and antiques that just wrapped up in Maastricht, Holland. But for devotees of drawings, be they pencil, watercolor, pastel or ink, it is hard to beat the annual Salon du Dessin going on right now in Paris.
Held in the suitably swanky Palais de la Bourse, the former Stock Exchange now converted to an upscale event space, the Salon du Dessin is a drawing lover's dream. Thirty-nine carefully selected exhibitors from Europe and the United States bring their very best offerings in old master, modern and contemporary drawing.
Believe it or not, there is actually a crush to get in to the opening party as collectors, dealers and museum curators jostle to be the first to discover - and acquire - a treasure. The champagne flowed, and judging from the number of red dots on the stands, a lot of business was being done as well.
Visitors will find a lot of beautiful examples to chose from no matter what period they prefer. Here you can admire a large format pen and ink drawing of the Gardens in the Villa d'Este by Fragonard (1732-1806) or a modernist pencil sketch of Williams Street, New York by Boutet de Monvel (1881-1949); a charming pastel portrait of a lovely young girl by Luti (1666-1724) or a Symbolist pencil profile of a woman by Knopff (1858-1921); an amusing pen and ink caricature of the composer Joseph Hayden dreaming of music by Hampel (1868-1949) or an almost photographically real pencil drawing of a skull, or Vanitas, by Santilari (B. 1959). The variety is amazing.
Before I sign off, I'd like to share with you a photograph I took while walking through the Passage Richelieu, just off the rue de Rivoli, en route to the Left Bank. Just like the Salon du Dessin, it is a blend of old and new, distinct but complementary, a little like the City of Paris itself!