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Patrick Perrin – PAD

The PAD, arts and design fair, boasts a uniquely French eclecticism. Founder, Patrick Perrin, lets us in on what motivated him to create this annual celebration of the decorative arts market 20 years ago.

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Text by Laurence Picot

The PAD, arts and design fair, boasts a uniquely French eclecticism. Founder, Patrick Perrin, lets us in on what motivated him to create this annual celebration of the decorative arts market 20 years ago. It only makes sens that PAD‘s office would be located on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The street is part of affluent Paris neighborhood where over three centuries ago, Colbert’s decree foresaw the establishment of luxury goods businesses.

The Wall of Fame
Patrick Perrin is seated in front of his wall of fame. The celebrity portraits of his celebrities are those of personalities who usually prefer the wings: “his” gallery owners, who exhibited at the PAD. Design fans would recognize Elisabeth Delacarte, Philippe Jousse, Laffanour – Galerie Downtown or the Carpenters Workshop Gallery duo. . . And discover the faces of experts in the early arts, 19th and 20th century paintings, decorative arts, photography, jewellery, glass or ceramics. Each as the piece of a puzzle that would draw the objects necessary to the office of an enlightened amateur. “And in good taste! “comments Patrick Perrin, who adds: “The French merchants are the best in the world”. Almost. . . But it is true that French works of art are today among the most prized on the market with 13% of world sales.

Outsider on the inside
Most  collections art still  99% comprised of the painting, sculpture or drawing. Design and decorative arts pieces have no yet outcompeted Warhol and Picasso. At the beginning of 1990, they appeared little or not at all in major international fairs such as Art Basel in Switzerland, Frieze in London or FIAC in Paris. Poor relative in the art market? It was precisely to compensate for the absence of major events dedicated to this sector that Patrick Perrin decided in 1996 to offer merchants an appointment where they could gather their finest selections and their respective collectors. It was also a response to the change in attitude of the decorative arts and design clientele, who, like the fine arts clientele, frequented galleries less often and sought to meet up again during large festive raouts.

Taste more than financial logic
Whereas Art Basel has 300 galleries in attendance, PAD caps the number at 70 . “I ‘ve always wanted an intimist side, a cosy affair, rather than a big event. To this day, as I prepare for the 21st edition, there will be no more. I know each of the exhibitors, and I don’t want that to change. The same is true in London, where we launched an English edition of the PAD 10 years ago. The outsider has become unavoidable. It accompanies the craze of collectors and decorators for rare pieces whose purchase is not linked to the established trend. A philosophy that Patrick Perrin calls “visionary curiosity”.

Ben Storm, Table InHal
Ben Storm, Table InHal
Gerard Kuijpers, Les Ailes Blanches, Galerie Gastou
Gerard Kuijpers, Les Ailes Blanches, Galerie Gastou
Mathias Bengtsson, Growth Table, Galerie Wettergren
Mathias Bengtsson, Growth Table, Galerie Wettergren
Galerie Kreo
Galerie Kreo
Laffanour Galerie Downtown
Laffanour Galerie Downtown
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