Art en Vieille-Ville (AVV), the biannual event that takes place in May and November, returns to Geneva’s Old Town for its spring edition (opens 11 May). Fifteen galleries (including two new exhibitors) and three museums present a range of special displays.
Newcomer Galerie Schifferli, a specialist in 20th-century paintings and works on paper (in particular Surrealism and works from the 1950s and 1960s) stages the exhibition ‘Black is a Colour’ (11 May–30 June). The theme is examined in works by Spanish painter Antonio Saura, such as a gestural 1962 ink and oil on paper, alongside pieces by Maria Helena Vieira da Silva and Zoran Mušič. Also joining the AVV roster is Grob Gallery, which offers a selection of work from its collection of 20th-century photography, painting and sculpture (11 May–21 July). Among the highlights is a loose, flat oil from 1930, Nu sur fond jaune, by Raoul Dufy.
Sticking with modern art, Bailly Gallery’s exhibition ‘Post War’ (11 May–11 June) looks at the disparate forms of art that emerged in the wake of the Second World War – from abstraction to kinetic and concrete art. Among the artists on display are Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, and Le Corbusier – don’t miss the chance to see the latter’s enamel on metal Personnage à la guitare (1960). Gagosian, meanwhile, presents an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and photographs by Balthus, a modern maverick who continued to produce figurative works in a period dominated by abstraction (26 April–29 July). This is the first exhibition of the Polish-French artist held in Switzerland since 2008.
Jacques Villeglé is the focus at Galerie Sonia Zannettacci (11 May–31 July). A member of the Nouveau Réalisme group, Villeglé was an affichiste known for his collaged works – such as the Rue des Vertus (1978), on show here – made from torn-up posters and advertisements. Elsewhere Galerie Rosa Turetsky presents 10 sculptures by contemporary Swiss artist Yves Dana (11 May–10 June). The sculptures, which are made from bronze and stone such as basalt, were inspired by a recent trip the artist made to Japan.
Galerie Grand-Rue’s exhibition takes us to warmer climes with its exhibition of Grand Tour painters, including Salomon Corrodi, Carlo Bossoli and Edward Lear (11 May–30 June). Alongside an additional selection of Neapolitan gouaches is a series of lithographs by David Roberts, a Scottish painter known in particular for his detailed prints of Egypt and Nubia – themselves based on a set of drawings the artist produced during his travels along the Nile in 1838–39.
Among the museum shows, don’t miss ‘A Chinese Adventure’ at Fondation Baur (6 April–2 July), which looks at the story of the Loups, an adventurous Swiss family that travelled to China in the 19th century to sell watches. Their biography – uncovered in a bundle of letters in an old trunk – also chronicles the history and provenance of some of the Chinese objects in the museum’s collection. There’s also still time to catch Fondation Martin Bodmer’s examination of the German writer Goethe, and the impact France had on his thinking (until 23 April). Coinciding with AVV is a group show entitled ‘Avant-Garde Masters’ at celebrated Swiss gallery Artvera’s (28 April–29 July) and, also worth visiting, is the upcoming show of Australian aboriginal art at the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève (MEG), opening on 19 May.
In Belgium, the 35th edition of Art Brussels welcomes 145 galleries from 28 countries – including 33 newcomers (21–23 April). The fair’s main section, PRIME, features 109 established international galleries – among them David Kordansky (Los Angeles), Pearl Lam (Singapore and Hong Kong), and Xavier Hufkens (Brussels) – and DISCOVERY focuses on 30 galleries showing recent work by lesser known artists. Look out for Babak Golkar at Edel Assanti, and Masimba Hwati at SMAC Gallery, a Zimbabwean artist who will feature in the country’s pavilion at Venice later this year. Alongside nine galleries dedicated to art made between 1917 and 1987, often by overlooked artists such as Alfred Basbous (Sophia Contemporary, London) and Ryuji Tanaka (Axel Vervoordt, Antwerp and Hong Kong), the fair’s SOLO section supports single-artist presentations across 15 galleries. Marking its 35th edition, this year also features a collaborative artistic project with Jens Hoffmann and Piper Marshall. ‘Mementos: Artists’ Souvenirs, Artefacts, and other Curiosities’ unites personal objects from the private collections of artists participating in the fair.
The other major fair opening this month is Art Cologne, now in its 51st year and offering works from 200 galleries, among which 30 make their debut at the fair (26–29 April). The contemporary section, which includes leading blue-chip galleries Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner and Sprüth Magers, has added Gagosian and White Cube to its exhibitors, while the modern and post-war section now boasts Ben Brown Fine Arts and Derda Berlin. This year the event places particular emphasis on young galleries and on selected curated projects; it also features a site-specific artist commission for the first time, by German artist Michael Riedel.
The London Original Print Fair returns to the Royal Academy of Arts from 4–7 May, and sees 50 exhibitors presenting a fine and varied selection of prints and works on paper from the Renaissance to the present day. The roster includes a number of leading print publishers, such as Paragon Press, and the fair has emerged as a platform for print publishers to launch new works: this year, Paupers Press reveals new works by Stephen Chambers and Advanced Graphics London showcases new woodblock screenprints by Anthony Frost – Blue Crayola (2016) continues the artist’s vibrant, abstract experiments. Other highlights include Etel Adnan at Galerie Lelong, Karl Bohrmann at Aspinwall Editions, Eric Ravilious at the Fine Art Society, and Claude at Christopher Mendez. The fair includes a lively series of talks and events; at the annual Friday evening talk on 6 May Michael Craig-Martin discusses printmaking in the context of his wider work.
From the April issue of Apollo: preview and subscribe here
‘She changed how we encounter sculpture’ – remembering Phyllida Barlow (1944–2023)