World’s ‘Most Expensive’ Art Fair Heads to Hong Kong From Paris

Karl Lagerfeld
German fahion designer Karl Lagerfeld is assisting the Biennale des Antiquaires, France's oldest art fair. The event is looking to profit from the growth of Asian wealth by launching a mini biennale in Hong Kong. Photographer: Judith White/Bloomberg

The Biennale des Antiquaires, France’s oldest art fair, is looking to profit from the growth of Asian wealth by starting a mini-biennale in Hong Kong.

The fair, which hired Karl Lagerfeld to stage, decorate and design its Paris Biennale this September, has now chosen Hong Kong along with Istanbul, Moscow and New York for mini-fairs in alternating years when the French show doesn’t take place.

“We need to go in front of people instead of them just coming to us,” said Christian Deydier, president of the Syndicat des Antiquaires, an organization of French dealers that runs the fair.

The decision to bring to Hong Kong next year a scaled-down version of the Biennale, which Deydier describes as the “world’s most expensive art fair,” demonstrates the city’s growing importance on the international art market.

Last year, China overtook the U.S. to become the world’s largest art and antiques market, a report by the Netherlands-based European Fine Art Foundation said last month. The annual Hong Kong International Art Fair is a stop on the global circuit, dealers said.

Deydier said in an interview that he was still looking at several possible venues, including the former Legislative Council Building, for the Hong Kong fair in October 2013.

(Frederik Balfour is a reporter at large for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)