artmonte-carlo: Art Fair Highlights
Advisory Perspective

artmonte-carlo: Art Fair Highlights

By Rory Mitchell| Monte Carlo, 14 July 2021

The sister fair of artgenève, founded in 2012 by Thomas Hug as a means of complementing Switzerland's art fair calendar alongside Art Basel, artmonte-carlo brings offerings of modern and contemporary art to the French Riviera.

Running between 15 and 18 July 2021, the fair's fifth edition includes a tightly curated presentation of 26 leading galleries, including White Cube, Esther Schipper, Waddington Custot, Perrotin, and Almine Rech. Ocula's Advisory select highlights from the presentation, with an emphasis on modern masters.


Hans Hartung, T1958-7 (1958). Courtesy Mazzoleni.

Hans Hartung at Mazzoleni

Broad swathes of paint applied in deep swirls and scratch-like strokes became emblematic of German-French painter Hans Hartung's oeuvre.

A trip to the Internationale Kunstausstellung in Dresden in 1926, where he encountered works by Kandinsky and Miró, among other modern masters, prompted Hartung's move to Paris, where he studied the works of Cézanne and involved himself in the Art Informel movement, shaping his gestural abstract style.

In a video walkthrough of a 2019 exhibition of the artist's work on view at Mazzoleni, writer and historian Alan Montgomery describes the artist's approach to art-making as 'expressive and lyrical'—qualities that are present in this painting from 1958 showing at artmonte-carlo.


Pablo Picasso, Femme au tablier (1949). Oil over lithograph on paper. 65.5 x 50 cm. Courtesy Thomas Gibson Fine Art.

Picasso at Thomas Gibson Fine Art

Thomas Gibson Fine Art are showing this exquisite Picasso oil painting in their artmonte-carlo presentation, set within a beautiful embellished frame.

Picasso fever shows no signs of slowing, with nine lots up for auction across Sotheby's and Christie's respective Modern and Contemporary Art and 20th/21st Century London to Paris sales last month, with the top lot, L'Étreinte (1969), achieving a remarkable £14,697,000 at Christie's London Evening Sale.

As reported by ARTnews, Picasso remains the top-grossing artist at auction worldwide, with a staggering $245 million made across 3,400 lots last year.


Marina Perez Simão and Sonia Gomes, Untitled (2020). Oil and embroidery on canvas. 80 cm × 100 cm. © Sonia Gomes and Marina Perez Simão. Courtesy Pace Gallery and Mendes Wood DM.

Marina Perez Simão and Sonia Gomes at Pace Gallery

Marina Perez Simão has experienced a meteoric rise in the past 18 months. A joint show with fellow Brazilian artist Sonia Gomes at Pace Gallery's newly opened Hampton space in September 2020—which included collaborative works such as this dreamlike landscape—and a sell-out New York debut show last April have ensured an exciting next few years for the Brazilian-born artist.

Paintings and watercolours by Simão will be included in Days of Inertia, a group show with Mendes Wood DM at d'Ouwe Kerke in the Netherlands opening on 24 July.


Bertrand Lavier, Walt Disney Productions 1947–2019 n°1 (2019). Cellulosic painting on polyester resin. 180 x 150 x 60 cm. Edition 1 of 3, with 1AP. Courtesy Kamel Mennour.

Bertrand Lavier at kammel mennour

Paris-based gallery kamel mennour is showing this brilliant sculpture by French contemporary artist Bertrand Lavier.

Attracting international attention at the 1976 Venice Biennale, Lavier's paintings and sculptures foreground the tension between reality and simulation.

French collector François Pinault's newly opened Bourse de Commerce — Pinault Collection in Paris is host to an array of sculptural objects presented by Lavier, which occupy 24 display placed against the building's 19th- and 20th-century interior façades, showing until 31 December 2021.


Paul Klee, Ohne Titel (Mann mit Fisch) (1940). Tempera on paper laid down on card. 44.5 x 58.5 cm. Courtesy Dickinson.

Paul Klee at Dickinson

Mayfair-based gallery Dickinson presents Ohne Titel (Mann mit Fisch), a small-scale tempera on paper work by 20th-century modernist Paul Klee that was produced in 1940, the final year of his life.

Cosmic symbols played an integral role in Klee's practice, and this influence intensified in his paintings towards the end of his life.

Mann mit Fisch, which translates to 'man with fish', reflects the dynamism and movement that Klee associated with the fish, its juxtaposition with the human figure serving to emphasise the interconnection between humanity and nature.


Kevin Francis Gray, Breakdown Work #3 (2020). Issorie emerald marble and bronze on yew base. 210 x 28.5 x 31 cm. © Kevin Francis Gray. Courtesy Pace Gallery. Ptoto: Robert Glowacki.

Kevin Francis Gray at Pace Gallery

As part of their presentation examining the relationship between humanity, nature, and temporality through a selection of abstract works, Pace Gallery presents this fabulous emerald marble and bronze sculpture by Northern Irish sculptor Kevin Francis Gray.

Using the techniques of classical sculptors and working with marble located from Carrara and Marquina to Kilkenny and Issorie, Gray eloquently expresses the intersection between abstraction and figuration.

Inaugurating the opening of their new Milan location, Eduardo Secci Contemporary is currently host to a solo exhibition of sculptures from Kevin Francis Gray's recent 'Breakdown Works' (2020).


Antoni Tàpies, Boca sobre fons de vernis (1997). Paint and varnish on paper. 56 x 76.5 cm. © 2021 Fundació Antoni Tàpies / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, VEGAP, Madrid. Photo: by Kerry Ryan McFate and Tom Barratt. Courtesy Pace Gallery.

Antoni Tàpies at Pace Gallery

Born in Barcelona in 1923, Spanish politics and the state of the country's wartime and post-war government played a lasting influence on Antoni Tàpies's mixed-media works.

Enjoying fellow Catalan Joan Miró as a friend and mentor, Tàpies's fascination with the nature of materiality—inspired by the scrawlings of Paul Klee—became integral to the Surrealist works he produced over his decades-long career.

Boca sobre fons de vernis is a brilliant later work showing with Pace Gallery for their artmonte-carlo presentation, produced a couple of years after his success at the 1993 Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Biennale's Award for Painting.


Fausto Melotti, La vacca lunatica (1961). Brass. 41.3 x 22 x 72 cm. Courtesy Waddington Custot.

Fausto Melotti at Waddington Custot

Applying his mathematical background to his training as a figurative artist at the Accademia di Brera in Milan, Italian sculptor Fausto Melotti went on to become a pioneer in the development of mid-century European Modernism.

Delicate, whimsical yet curious constructions such as La vacca lunatica became emblematic of his work on his return to sculpture in the 1960s.

Melotti's legacy was still firmly felt after his death, having been posthumously awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1986 and Christie's reporting that his market has continued to rise since. In 2015, his large-scale gold and silver sculpture Il viaggo della luna sold for a record price of €606,000.


Andreas Gursky, Bahrain l (2005). C-print, 302.2 x 219.6 cm. © Andreas Gursky. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Courtesy White Cube.

Andreas Gursky at White Cube

Bahrain I is a resplendent large-scale photograph by German photographer Andrea Gursky from 2005.

Taken from a helicopter, the photograph captures the Bahrain International Circuit, which stages the country's Formula One Grand Prix. The looping, snake-like track is in stark tonal contrast to the surrounding desert landscape.

Speaking on Bahrain II, a similar work depicting the same race track produced two years later, Gursky explained, 'in terms of composition it comes from the influence of Hilla and Bernd Becher: it has a central perspective and it is photographed from an elevated position—and this is the way that I often approach subjects'.


Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Exotourisme (2002). Neon, paint on wall (purple). 300 x 200 cm. Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2021. Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster at Esther Schipper

Living and working in Paris, multi-award-winning French artist Dominque Gonzalez-Foerster's experimental works explore the sensory and cognitive relationships between the body and surrounding spaces.

Since the 1990s, Gonzalez-Foerster has worked across media including video projection, photography, and spatial installations.

While her first virtual reality artwork, Endodrome, is currently showing in the tower of the much-anticipated LUMA Arles, Serpentine Galleries have announced that an immersive sensory environment created by Gonzalez-Foerster will be coming to their Hyde Park gallery in spring 2022.

Main image: Pablo Picasso, Femme au tablier (1949). Oil over lithograph on paper. 65.5 x 50 cm. Courtesy Thomas Gibson Fine Art.