Is everything bigger in Texas?
With 92 exhibitors per year and only a decade-long history, the Dallas Art Fair
isn’t the grandest stop on the international art market circuit. But its 10th annual edition, which ends Sunday, showed how an increasingly prominent network of public institutions and private collections have turned the fair into a Texas institution, and an important fair for the country.
The fair has been able to capitalize on the historic synergy between the city’s museums and their board members, which gives Dallas its art market firepower. Last year, it attracted nearly 15,000 attendees, putting it within spitting distance of much older fairs such as Art Brussels—and can see its exhibitors sell works within the mid-six-figure range.
“It’s a very cohesive arts community,” said John Sughrue, a real estate developer who co-founded the fair in 2009 with Chris Byrne, a local curator, and located it in the Fashion Institute Gallery, a building Sughrue owns in the arts district. “The institutions, the collectors, we’re all in this together.”
The collectors are also of a caliber that galleries feel comfortable bringing work for up to seven figures. Tim Van Laere Gallery
from Antwerp shipped over
’s gigantic sculpture Lemur
(2009), for sale for €935,000 ($1.15 million), and Madrid’s Galeria Javier Lopez & Fer Frances
’s gigantic Vivien,
priced at $1 million.
Additional works sold for prices in the mid-six-figure range—respectable for any fair in the country, not just Dallas. At Paul Kasmin Gallery
, from New York,
’s Adolescents by the Sea
(1947) sold for $375,000, and
’s Water No. 18
, a gouache on paper work from 1969, sold for $225,000.
Representatives from the gallery, which participated the fair for the first time, said they weren’t expecting to sell work at that price point, and from that time period, so early in the week.
“We were advised to bring works more geared toward our 21st century contemporary program, and lo and behold, yesterday we sold a Milton Avery and a Lee Krasner,” said Eric Gleason, a director at Paul Kasmin. “It’s indicative of more substantive art historical knowledge—maybe more than people give [the collectors] credit for.”