Francis Boeske, co-founder of Amsterdam Art Fair

{At the end of May, the first edition of Amsterdam Art Fair was a huge success for contemporary art in the Netherlands! We asked a few questions to Francis Boeske, the co-founder of the art fair, to learn more about this first edition and how it went.}

{Artsper} : Last weekend was the first edition of Amsterdam Art Fair, why did you think it was a good time and place to start a new contemporary art fair ?

{Francis}: Sunday May 31 was the last day of Amsterdam Art Fair and it has been a huge success. Its first edition had already received 11.600 visitors. We think there were three main raisons for this success:

  1. For many years Amsterdam didn’t have a platform for the leading Dutch galleries.All 41 galeries that we invited were delighted to participate, which proves that there is a need for a new art fair in Amsterdam. The booths were spacious (about 36 m2) and each exhibition was worth a visit. The public was a mix of people of all ages, art lovers and collectors. Sales were higher than we could have ever dreamt of.
  2. The Citroën garage, where the art fair took place, is an intriguing building designed in 1930/31 by Dutch architect Jan Wils and was kept in a very raw and industrial state which created the right atmosphere.
  3. Now that the Stedelijk Museum and the Rijksmuseum are open again (after many years of reconstruction), Amsterdam attracts a lot of culture-minded people. There were other interesting art events that took place at the same time with Amsterdam Art Fair, and this created a lot of excitement.

{Artsper} : What makes it different from the other art fairs happening in Amsterdam ?

{Francis}First of all, the focus on high quality for the invited galeries and the international aspect of their artists. Secondly, the small scale of the art fair : our visitors could easily find their way and had enough time to visit many booths, take a rest, ask for information, enjoy the exhibition BEELD dedicated to sculpture on the ground floor etc… We have tried to bring together a more qualified and wider audience, by displaying high quality art in a small art fair and by attracting people through an intense digital marketing campaign.

{Artsper} : Around 40 galeries have exhibited during this first edition, how did you select them ?

{Francis}Wim van Krimpen, founder and co-organiser (together with me) of the Amsterdam Art Fair, invited 41 galeries based on the quality and the international aspect of their program as I mentioned before.

{Artsper} : What was the highlight of the artfair ?

{Francis}The exhibition BEELD on the groundfloor featuring a wide range of sculptures made by older and younger artists of our time such as David Bade, Stephen Wilks, David Mljkovic, Johan Tahon, Jake&Dinos Chapman, Itamar Gilboa, Michelle Grabner, Koen Taselaar.

{Artsper} : Did you pay any special attention to young collectors ?
Definitely ! They are the future and we need to show them that buying art is not necessarily a matter of money and experience. We organized tours for young collectors introducing them to the gallerists, and giving them all information they wanted regarding the price and the quality of the artworks. Our digital campaign was meant to reach young people who get their information mostly online.

{Artsper} : What was your main accomplishment for this first edition ?

{Francis}Now that the first edition of Amsterdam Art Fair closed and after welcoming more than 11.500 enthusiastic visitors, we have proved that Amsterdam is ready for a new art fair and that – next to Art Rotterdam – it makes sense to have another high quality art fair in the cultural heart of the Netherlands, which is Amsterdam.
{Artsper} : What do you think about the growing relationship between contemporary art and the internet ? And about the idea of a website like Artsper ?

{Francis}More and more people are involved with and buy art online. It offers them the possibility to get precise and objective information about prices, provenance, education, sales records, etc. This will make the art market even more transparent and we definitely support that. Artsper is a great platform offering galleries the opportunity to sell art online.