Brussels gallerist Rodolphe Janssen
also commented on the significant uptick in the mood at Art Brussels this year. “Everybody can feel it,” he said. Among other works, Janssen sold a large oil on linen painting by
for $95,000, five bronze and marble works by
for $9,000 apiece, a large painting by
for €20,000, a sculpture by
for €28,000, five woodcuts by
for between €20,000–€43,000, and seven works by
from the fair’s Rediscovery sector for €4,000–€12,000 apiece. Janssen commented that Belgium’s art market has certain advantages that allow it to be steadier than the market of other countries.
“The market in Belgium is always okay,” he said. “There are people of all levels of money who are buying.” The art market at large has cooled over the past two years, and become more top-heavy
, but he said Art Brussels finds its strength by catering to the kind of art market experienced in the ’90s.
“It’s not a market for Russian billionaires like in Frieze; it’s not a big fashion or social thing like [at FIAC]; it’s not a fancy American fair like in Miami; it’s a fair for European collectors who buy art to put in their house to live with. It can be $10,000, $100,000, or $1 million,” he said, but “it’s not for storage.”
Brussels collector Alain Servais, whose expansive private collection doubles as an artist residency, said “the frost is less present” in the current market. Sales had been fine, but not “ecstatic,” he said, pointing to collectors taking more time to complete their purchases and making fewer buys overall. “Fifteen years ago there were 20 percent of the current amount of fairs and 50 percent of the current amount of galleries,” he said. The market’s infrastructure grew up for the wave of new buyers that flooded it in the mid-2010s, he said. Now, that infrastructure is still there but there’s less business. He said galleries need to tighten their belts and adapt their strategies to this new reality, taking a more personal approach to dealing art once again.
Meessen de Clercq
took this advice to heart. “We prepared quite thoroughly in terms of visiting the right people and preparing new works so people could actually discover things even if they know the gallery program,” said gallery co-director Jan De Clercq. The gallery sold a work by
for around €24,000, ahead of the artist’s upcoming participation in the Venice Biennale; multiple works by
for between €50,000 and €100,000; several pieces by
for €10,000–€35,000; and several works for €4,000–€15,000 by
, who won Art Brussels’s Solo booth prize.