This lecture analyzes the São Paulo Art Fair as a historical document. It begins with the first shop to sell paintings in town, and a number of rich families’ commitment to modern art in the 1920s. After World War II, the expanding middle class constituted a new public for auctions, sustaining the primary prices of a growing number of art galleries. With globalization, the city galleries started to take part in international art fairs abroad. This led to the foundation of the SP Art Fair in 2005, which has focused on contemporary art, while keeping sections devoted to the different stages of the historical formation of the taste of local clients.
Antônio Parreiras, Consolação Grange, 1893. Oil on canvas, 80 x 153 cm. Balcão collection, Bolsa, Brazil
Annita Malfatti, The Wave, 1915–17. Oil on canvas, 26.5 x 36 cm. Fadel Collection
Raquel Arnaud Gallery, 1980. Sculpture by Iole de Freitas
Antônio Maluf, Poster for the 1st São Paulo Biennial, 1951.
Galeria Vermelho, 2002. Façade by Iván Argote
Felipe Chaimovich, PhD, is a professor at the Armando Alvares Penteado Foundation, in São Paulo. He was the chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo between 2007 and 2019, and the art critic of the Folha de São Paulo newspaper between 2000 and 2006. He investigates the origins of contemporary art; he is the author of “Mirrors of Society: Versailles and the Use of the Flat Reflected Image” (Visual Resources, 2008), and “Mirrors as the Origin of Contemporary Art” (Proceedings of the 34th World Congress of Art History, 2019).