Cologne 07.–10.11.2024 #artcologne2024

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Four Days of Art in Cologne

It was about looking – and acquiring: ART COLOGNE attracted 45.000 visitors

Isa Genzkens interpretation of the bust of Nefertiti at the booth of Buchholz gallery. Photo: Koelnmesse /ART COLOGNE © Koelnmesse

Have you heard of the Stendhal Syndrome?

It is named after the writer who, in the early 19th century, felt dizzy from all the art he saw during a visit to Florence. Stendhal noted in his diary that he was 'in a kind of ecstasy,' had 'strong palpitations,' and felt overwhelmed by pleasant sensory impressions, like being in love and 'on the verge of fainting.'

At the end of this year’s ART COLOGNE, some of the 45,000 visitors from 68 countries might have felt similarly. After all, thousands of works by hundreds of artists competed for our attention, ranging from Impressionism to the present, from African masks to AI. Despite its concentration on 170 galleries from Germany and abroad and two visitor-friendly, airy, and elegantly designed halls — 11.1 mainly featuring classics of modern art and design, and 11.2 focusing on contemporary art — the art intoxication might have left some visitors in a daze.

With 1.2 million euros, a work by Anselm Kiefer sold by Thaddaeus Ropac topped the list of sales. It didn't hurt that Wim Wenders' new 3D film about the artist is currently showing in movie theaters. Kiefer's work was not publicly shown. Instead, the gallery, operating from Salzburg and Paris and celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, presented a monumental painting by the outstanding artist Martha Jungwirth; a sculpture by Tony Cragg changed hands for 325,000 euros, and a work in acrylic on aluminum by Imi Knoebl for 220,000 euros.

The full spectrum of ART COLOGNE was showcased by the Berlin gallery Bastian: they brokered Renoir's impressionist 'Landscape with Two Figures' for 340,000 euros, while editions of the British contemporary artist Emma Stibbon were available starting from 1,500 euros. The Buchholz gallery parted with a magnificent Nefertiti sculpture by Isa Genzken, whose exhibition at the Neue Nationalgalerie just ended on November 27, marking the 75th birthday of this great artist.

A successful mix of international heavyweights and younger galleries provided variety.

Great interest in contemporary art in hall 11.2. Photo: Koelnmesse /ART COLOGNE © Koelnmesse

Great interest in contemporary art in hall 11.2. Photo: Koelnmesse /ART COLOGNE © Koelnmesse

At ART COLOGNE, the successful mix of international heavyweights like Hetzler or Sprüth Magers and younger galleries like the Alice Folker Gallery from Copenhagen provided variety. The latter focused its stand on the Danish artist Frederik Næblerød: his bizarre grimaces, applied to Rococo mirrors in pasty material, were available for four-digit amounts.

Galleries Roslyn Oxley9 from Australia, Pearl Lam from Hong Kong, and Choi&Choi from Seoul had travelled the farthest, while others came from New York, South Africa, Estonia, Greece, or Portugal. After a long absence, the Peter Kilchmann, operating in Zurich and Paris, was back. Their program includes the Mexican-based Belgian artist Francis Alÿs, who was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize for Modern Art at the Museum Ludwig during the fair week. The ART COLOGNE Prize went to Walther König this year – the first time it went to a bookseller and publisher.

Galleries sell across epochs and media - including to museums.

The Düsseldorf based gallery Ludorff sold paintings by Karin Kneffel and reserved a bronze Pietà by Käthe Kollwitz – with a price tag of 150,000 euros – for a museum. Works by Marc Chagall and Horst Antes found buyers at Utermann gallery from Dortmund on the opening day, while Thole Rotermund from Hamburg sold a Nolde watercolor for a six-figure amount.

DIE GALERIE from Frankfurt presented a stunning solo show of Marino Marini. Photo: Koelnmesse /ART COLOGNE © Koelnmesse

DIE GALERIE from Frankfurt presented a stunning solo show of Marino Marini. Photo: Koelnmesse /ART COLOGNE © Koelnmesse

In the field of modern art, DIE GALERIE from Frankfurt presented a museum-worthy solo exhibition with drawings, prints and large sculptures by Marino Marini (priced up to nearly two million euros). In the thirties, the Italian sculptor had seen the famous medieval statue of the “Bamberger Rider” – a lifelong inspiration. Following his motif of the rider on horseback over the decades, you can see how the artist interprets it increasingly free and expressive. Marino Marini's rider looks at the heavens and marvels, bending his back more and more, as if he were about to faint in amazement. One could surmise the Stendhal Syndrome has seized him.