Philadelphia Fine Art Fair (PFAF) closed its first edition on Sunday, April 7, 2019, bringing established, local collectors resulting in strong sales for the fair’s 34 exhibitors who presented established contemporary work. Thousands were in attendance over the course of the 4-day event, including representatives from major local publications, like John M. Colabelli, Publisher of Philadelphia Style Magazine and well-known collectors like Cecily Sherman, Babette Snyder and Jerry Wind, among others.
The inaugural fair presented 34 international exhibitors hailing from 19 cities, featuring 300 renowned artists from around the world, including Cuba, Latin America, and Europe. Held in the historic 23rd Street City Troop Armory, PFAF outfitted the space with the high-level production typical of an international art fair.
Rick Friedman, Philadelphia Fine Art Fair’s Director, commented: “There is a vibrant arts community here in Philadelphia, with world class museums, art schools, and an avid collector base but the region was lacking a contemporary art fair to call its own. This show connected our fantastic line up of exhibitors to the contemporary arts community of Philadelphia, bringing a unique opportunity to local collectors to discover exciting work by emerging and established artists from around the world. I’m grateful we were able to offer this experience to the community and bring Philadelphia its own contemporary art fair.”
Sales throughout the weekend were active, with gallerists reporting artworks ranging between $3,000 - $30,000 selling particularly well. Booths that showcased special exhibitions, like Rojas Ford Fine Art’s Latin American Masters Pavillion or Walker Fine Art’s “Magical World of MC Escher” display brought in immense interest and sold well.
PFAF closed after a weekend of special programming including panel discussions, book signings, artist Q&As with David Datuna, Chad Fisher, and Hunt Slonem and a film screening. VIP tickets were quickly sold out ahead of the fair and on Thursday night VIP guests were treated to a top-tier party co-hosted by artnet and Philadelphia Style Magazine.
The weekend not only brought in many art patrons and established collectors from the Main Line and Philadelphia, but emerging collectors who have taken an interest in contemporary art. Exhibitors were particularly impressed by how knowledgeable the fairgoers were and local gallerists were thrilled to be introduced to an entirely new and passionate collector base.
Quotes from Galleries:
Janet Lehr Gallery presented works by a number of established Modern artists including Thomas Eakins, Perle Fine Man Ray, and Louise Deshong Woodbridge. Lehr said, “We have been delighted to have been at this fair. The level of interest, knowledge and enthusiasm for art is amazing. There are serious collectors here.”
Local Bluestone Gallery owner Pam Regan said, “I was pleased with my decision to take a chance to even apply to be selected. I am thrilled, not only to be here, but for the city of Philadelphia to have this fair. There’s such an amazing artist community here. I love the fair’s intimacy and freedom to curate my own booth. Rick did an amazing job organizing who is here and what they brought.”
Suzanne Brooks Snider of Rojas Ford Fine Art presented the Latin American Masters Pavillion with works including Diego Rivera, Francisco Zuniga, Elma Rojas, among others. Snider said, “This was our best fair ever. There was tremendous interest in our Latin American masters. What an elegant and sophisticated audience who were eager to discover theses Central, South American and Mexican artists. It was a great success for us."
Deb Morton of Philly's Carre d' artistes said, "We sold six pieces and engaged a commission, but more importantly, we met so many new collectors and interior designers who we will be inviting to the gallery. We expect a lot of future sales to come from this show."
2019 Exhibitors: Anna Zorina Gallery (New York), Arcadia Contemporary (Pasadena), Birch Contemporary (Toronto), Bluestone Fine Art Gallery (Philadelphia), Bowersock Gallery (Provincetown), Bridgette Mayer Gallery (Philadelphia), Carre d'artistes (Philadelphia), Cernuda Arte (Coral Gables), Corridor Contemporary (Philadelphia), David Rothermel Contemporary (Sante Fe),Dean Borghi Fine Art (New York), Fremin Gallery (New York), Galerie Fledermaus (Chicago), Galerie Isabelle Lesmeister (Regensburg), Gilles Clement Gallery (Greenwich), Grenning Gallery (Sag Harbor), Haviland Reed (Southampton), Janet Lehr Fine Arts (East Hampton), JSF Contemporary (Philadelphia), Louis K Meisel Gallery (New York), LGTripp Gallery (Philadelphia), Merritt Gallery (Haverford), MM Fine Art (Southampton), Neumann Wolfson Art (New York), Rockelmann & Partner (Berlin), Rojas Ford Fine Art Gallery (Coral Gables), Roman Fine Art (East Hampton), Seraphin Gallery (Philadelphia), Stanek Gallery (Philadelphia), Steidel Contemporary (Lake Worth), Sudden Contemporary (Aureus Fort Collins), The Hunt Gallery (Sandwich), Twelve Gates Arts (Philadelphia), Trident Gallery (Gloucester) and Walker Fine Art, LTD (New York).
Sponsors: The Gallerist Loan, Freeman’s, Art Collector’s Athenaeum, artnet, and City of Philadelphia Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, Philadelphia Style and Kettle One.
Venue: The 23rd Street City Troop Armory (22 S 23rd St, Philadelphia)