Ladies and gentlemen,Dear friends,

The International Fair of Contemporary Art and the
many events, both private and public, that are associated with them. I am very
pleased to welcome you back to these salons on this occasion.

Thanks to the energy and talent of all, thanks to artists, gallery owners,
to collectors, foundations, museums and all
public institutions that accompany this initiative, Paris is the
capital of the world of contemporary art for a week.

But it is all year that contemporary art is at the heart of this

Less than a week ago, I was in Chaumont, for the successful launch
Centre Pompidou Mobile, alongside the President of the Republic and
by Luc Chatel, and with Bertrand Lavier - an initiative of Alain Seban that
my department supports with the help of committed private partners and
citizens. The week before, I inaugurated in Bordeaux
the Evento by Michelangelo Pistoletto with Alain Juppé. I also held
to inaugurate the new wing of the Consortium, in Dijon; the Lyon Biennale in
September, as well as its contemporary art fair off, where were gathered at
my initiative several Tunisian galleries; and the exhibition of the prize
Duchamp, awarded to Cyprien Gaillard by the Association pour la diffusion
International French Art (ADIAF), at the Centre Pompidou.

This summer I had a long and enjoyable time, with many of
you, at the Venice Biennale, where Christian Boltanski made another
major work; where one could also see a very beautiful installation
Found at the Pointe de la Douane, or an exhibition of the
CNAP in a Venetian palace, among other things.

I visited part of the amazing exhibition on art and the French Riviera at
Villeneuve Castle with Philippe Ramette and Natacha
Lesueur. I presented the first prize to the winner of the Salon de Montrouge,
Clément Cogitore. I decorated Anish Kapoor, whose
Leviathan at the Grand Palace. I also had the pleasure of being guided by
Jean-Michel Othoniel in the visit of his exhibition at the Centre Pompidou,
that adjoined that of François Morellet; that of also seeing Pierre’s film
Huygue, The Host and the Cloud, shot in this wonderfully
poetics of the Museum of Folk Arts and Traditions; the honor, finally,
welcome Takis in the gardens of the Royal Palace. I wished that the
launch of the public commission of Jean-Luc Moulène, Fénautrigues,
held in these salons. I finally had the pleasure of exchanging at length on
with many artists, I think of Philippe Parreno,
Didier Marcel, Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, Isabelle Cornaro, Bruno
Peinado, Daniel Firman, Gilles Barbier, Loris Gréaud…

I forget and stop there. But I don’t forget what all these
meetings and all these trips taught me about contemporary art,
on artists, on professionals in this vital sector, on you.

I announced, exactly a week ago, within these very walls,
15 measures for the plastic arts resulting from work begun in
January, which brought together nearly 450 participants over several months to
initiative of the Creative Arts Branch. I believe that these
measures, which range from the professionalization of the plastic arts sector
the dissemination of art criticism in English, through the
support for galleries and strengthening the network in the regions,
to give a new impetus to the world of art. I believe that
it’s a strong and structured response to what I’ve seen and heard all about
throughout the year, to your contact.

I said this last week when these fifteen
measures: plastic arts, visual culture in general as we say
in the English-speaking world, that is, the visual arts in the broad sense,
with design, graphic design, photography, with crafts in the spotlight at
the manufacture of Gobelins right now, it’s an issue
tremendously important in the age of screen culture, digital
and globalization. An artistic issue that is also political,
strategic, economic. That is why I welcome the fact that the
President of the Republic launched a few days ago the
Grand Paris of art and culture. The «1% Grand Paris» is
the opportunity to project us together in a new dynamic of
very large scale for the plastic arts, which will be a laboratory for
all other French metropolises, at a time when the 1% party
precisely its sixty years.

Tomorrow, I will visit FIAC again with its director,
Jennifer Flay, and in the evening we will celebrate contemporary Tunisian artists
gathered at the Montparnasse Museum by Jean Digne. I will visit Georges
Mathieu in his workshop a few days later. I will go to
ITEM, where beautiful lithographs are still being made.

In the following weeks I will ensure that the 15 measures
be quickly implemented. I will also continue the
dialogue with the Art Colleges. In this regard, I will
soon the proposal of a name to succeed Henry-Claude Cousseau to
the management of the Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux arts de Paris at
President of the Republic. Dear Henry-Claude, I welcome your record
remarkable at the head of this great establishment and I look forward to discovering
the day after tomorrow your exhibition.

So I want to ensure that the visual arts remain a
ongoing concern of my department. Major appointments, in
With the opening of the enlarged Palais de Tokyo in April,
with the Triennale, with the next Monumenta entrusted to Daniel Buren in
may. And then, the following year again, a FIAC that will recover 1000 meters
additional squares, to accommodate more galleries, including,
I wish it, from French galleries, thanks to the expansion works
led by Jean-Paul Cluzel at the Grand Palais, and finally the
Monumenta of Kabakov, and the new French pavilion of Venice. And I
don’t forget all the foundations that come out of the ground, projects
tremendously generous, which contribute to making Paris a city
essential of contemporary art, and of France a country of art living in
the world. The consolidation of the Lambert Foundation in Avignon or the
Vasarely foundation are very close to my heart, as are the new
FRAC, that of Brittany, for example, which will open its doors in
a few months. And I do not forget the fantastic site of Barjac where lived

It is also important to me that artists and professionals
foreigners feel at home here. It is the noblest of traditions, that
hospitality, to use a word that brings together many centres
As such, I have asked my chief of staff to
cabinet to intervene to unblock the situation of one of the largest
artists in the world, Chéri Samba, whose difficulty to enter our
was unacceptable. I am pleased to announce that this
The case is being solved.

My particular interest and that of my ministry in the plastic arts is
today, in this very place, in the presence of
through the order made to Felice Varini that you could discover in
There were no longer any public orders placed to foreign
artists, within the ministry itself, for almost 30 years -
from that, magnificent, entitled Overseas, made to Pierre Alechinsky in
1985, which does us the honour of being with us this evening. It is done and
beautifully made with the «sixteen records square». Felice Varini joins
Jean-Michel Alberola, Pol Bury, whose wife, Wilma, among whom I greet
Daniel Buren, Henri Cueco and Jan Dibbets. I want to thank
Felice Varini for giving us this gift I’m going through with
Wonder every day by walking down that hallway.

Finally, I would like to take advantage of this special moment of conviviality so that
we paid tribute to artists and actors from the world of art
which honour France by the quality and constancy of their
commitment. As every year now, a promotion
distinguished them. I want to quote Gérard Titus Carmel and François
Trier, promoted Commanders in the Order of Arts and Letters; Felice
Varini and Alexia Fabre, promoted officers in the Order of Arts and
Letters; Renaud Auguste-Dormeuil, Jacqueline Blanc, Martin Guesnet,
Subodh Gupta, Patrice Joly, Charlotte Laubard, Chiara Parisi, Suzanne
Tarasieve, Dayanita Singh, Nathalie and Georges-Philippe Vallois, as well as
Nathalie Viot, appointed knights in the order of Arts and Letters.

Finally, I want to pay special tribute to a very great lady
contemporary art, in France and around the world: Denise René, who
I now call to join me.

Dear Denise René,
Fluorescent tubes, weather vane discs, vibrating cubes, optical codes
hallucinatory, impeccable and rigorous aplats of abstraction,
movements, tensions and resolutions of lines and colors; shapes
art that you promote, dear Denise René, take for
object the changing and the random, by non-figurative combinations that
open the contingencies of the real to new horizons. If there is a
revolution of abstraction, it is this vision of a multiple and
elusive, in perpetual motion, made possible by exploration
visual and auditory sensations, at the intersection of art and
science, against the impulses of the immutable and the definitive.

By defending geometric abstraction, kineticism and optical art, your
approach, as experimental as that of the artists you
have made known, is part of a reflection on the living art that you
have started for more than sixty years. Because to become the very great
that you are a gallery owner, you had to first take the train of
artistic experiments born in the effervescence of the post-war period,
and propose an alternative to the dominant currents. These are your
anticipations that have enabled these avant-garde and aesthetic
The European Union has a very important role to play.

The fashion workshop on rue de la Boétie, which you transform into a gallery -
on the advice of a young Hungarian graphic designer working at Draeger
that you meet at the Café de Flore, Vasarely -, has become, from the
first exhibition of the latter’s graphic research, in 1944, the
crucible of the adventure of abstract art.

The abstract club was then being formed. Young people
painters like Marie Raymond, Hartung and Schneider;
exhibitions multiply - Max Ernst - a German artist exposed
in Paris immediately after the war, with the support of Breton and
d'Eluard: it looks like you, Jean Arp, Marcel Janco or Hans
Richter. Your gallery attracts, and quite quickly becomes a business
collective research and design of plastics, mixing
geometric and aesthetic abstractions. An avant-garde is created around
Vasarely, with Dewasne, Jacobsen, Mortensen, Herbin, Deyrolle and
Poliakoff. The cap is found with the exhibition Trends of art
abstract” in 1948.

In 1955, you mark a decisive stage in contemporary art with a
decisive exhibition: «The Movement», entrusted to the young critic
art Pontus Hulten - historical perspective of the different
generations of abstract art and articulations between the works of
Duchamp, Jacobsen, Tinguely, Soto, Agam and Pol Bury. Two years
after this exhibition which laid the foundations of kinetic art, you
orchestrate the first exhibition in France of Mondrian, then still badly
loved in France, with pieces entrusted by the Stedelijk Museum

With your gallery, you have drawn a line with coherence
powerful, in favor of an aesthetic design that acted as a kind
counterweight to American Pop Art, and breaking with the currents
French figures. By the force of conviction, you have succeeded in imposing
geometric abstraction and kineticism on the art market, being
Paris one of the first gallery owners to report on the creation
international. The Denise René Gallery has gradually
established a very dense network of international partners,
start with the large Danish galleries Birch or Tokanten.

The organization, in 1951, of the exhibition «Klarform» which turned into
Scandinavian and Belgian museums is the fruit of your European and
networks. In particular, it was necessary to
international visibility so that France is interested in kinetic art.
It is thanks to you that we also owe the discovery in France of
South American artists such as Julio Le Parc, admirably shown
today at the Centre Pompidou Metz, Tomasello, Cicero Dias or Cruz-
Diez, but also the historical figures of the avant-garde of Eastern Europe
with retrospectives of Hungarian Lajos Kassak, Polish Stazewski
or with the exhibition of the precursors of abstract art in Poland in 1957
with Malevich, Kobro or Berlewi.

In the late 1950s, you promoted the publishing of works
manufactured in series. Besides the accuracy of your intuitions, it is also a
accessibility dimension that you have been able to give to this business relay between
artists and museums.

In the 1960s, the Denise René Gallery occupies a central place
on the international art scene. You are exporting your
Germany and New York in 1971 with Agam. The first oil crisis
hitting your American, Swiss and Scandinavian customers, you will
focus then on the French and Parisian market, still very closed to
these artistic forms - which was not without displeasure to your
personality who likes to take on challenges.

There are many here tonight who have a vivid memory of
the exhibition that the Centre Pompidou dedicated to you in 2001, Denise
René, the intrepid. A gallery in the adventure of abstract art».

The exhibition on op art and kinetic art orchestrated by Fabrice Hergott in
Strasbourg, a decade ago, also marked the
renewed interest that continues to influence young people today

The pioneer of the abstract continues the adventure, with in March
last exhibition of Wolfram Ullrich’s work in your gallery of
boulevard Saint-Germain, or Mortensen in your
second Parisian gallery on rue Charlot. The presence of the gallery
Denise René at the FIAC confirms that your first place
look into the highest places of contemporary art.

Dear Denise René, you are the eye of abstract art in France and
world. The line you have been defending for so long, that of
the geometric abstraction, cinematic and optical art, makes pale,
by comparison, ephemeral modes. You have worked in a way that
to the public recognition of the greatest artists. I am
so particularly moved to be able to pay tribute to you today:
it is thanks to requirements like yours that the job of gallery owner
occupies an essential place in the history of living art. It is Bertrand
Lavier, who had this sentence while he was exposed to you in
1997: Are truly timeless only the things that are of their

Dear Denise René, on behalf of the President of the Republic, and
powers vested in us, we make you Officer of the
Legion of Honour.