With the 30th Bienal de São Paulo getting close – it begins on 7 September – you might think that was the next month all sewn up as far as major art events were concerned. Wrong. A fortnight before the Bienal takes over the city and the airwaves, August’s Salão de Arte provides a much smaller, more modest excuse to immerse yourself in art. And though the upscale buyer’s art fair might not be on the same level as the mighty Art Bienal, it has a charm all of its own, as well as a good range of fine art and an eclectic set of antiques and other interesting objects.
This, the Salão de Arte’s 19th edition, features 30 galleries showing 60 artists, almost all of whom are Brazilian. Expect to see works by big hitters like the modernists Di Cavalcanti and Tarsila do Amaral, amongst many others. The wild card? Take a look at the work of Russian surrealist artist, Paulo Kuczynski, who will be there representing himself, without a gallery.
The Salão de Arte crowd, which features more than a few art collectors, can be a little daunting, but Vera Lucia Chaccur Chadad, the curator of the Salão since 2002, is careful to avoid creating a hoity-toity gallery atmosphere, opting to decorate the space with warm woods and down-to-earth textiles.
Art, jewellery and antiques are the matter at hand here – look out for Brazilian furniture dating back to the days of Dom Pedro I at stand 26; Onze Dinheiros, an interesting antiques shop from Rio de Janeiro; and Ruth Grieco’s jewellery, in gems and precious metals.
And a surprise: the much admired Thomas Cohn, owner of the eponymous gallery, which closed this March after almost 30 years in the business, is back on the scene. When Cohn spoke to Time Out in the run-up to the gallery’s closure, he mentioned his next venture: watches. Or as he put it then, ‘art in 40 millimetres – watches designed by architects, artists and designers in Scandinavia, Norway and the USA’. The Salão de Arte marks the beginning of that timely new direction.