A fair affair

By Bose Krishnamachari

An art fair is usually a commercial exhibition of works of art and has been a crucial part of the art market in Europe since the eighteenth century. Famously, the Paris Salon, which opened to the public in 1737, and the Royal Academy in London, which opened in 1769, both became the barometer to the success of an artist.

As art historians have suggested, these exhibitions assisted in establishing the artist’s reputation and helped to quickly determine the value, or selling price, of his or her art. Other institutions developed their own prestigious venues to promote artists, including the creation of the world’s first biennale, the Venice Biennale in 1895, which was initially conceived as a commercial art fair.

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