Art Week in Monaco began with the main galleries showcasing new exhibitions featuring emerging and famous artists.

Kamil Art Gallery stole the spotlight with its vernissage, which extended beyond the official closing time. In collaboration with AMLA (Monaco Latin American Association), the Gallery presented renowned Panamanian artist Olga Sinclair.

Perhaps the most talked-about vernissage was the stunning Chagall exhibition at Sotheby’s Monaco. Chagall’s spectacular pieces are a definite highlight during this year’s Monaco Art Week. If your bank account allows it, you can even own some of these exquisite works.

Another must-visit gallery is G&M Design Gallery, next to Sass Cafe. This is currently showcasing a stunning photo exhibition by the legendary British photographer David Bailey. G&M Design Gallery is the exclusive representative of Bailey’s work on the French Riviera and maintains a direct relationship with the artist’s family. One of the pleasures of visiting this gallery is meeting the curator, Laila Ouahbi, who has stories to tell behind each photograph. If you’re interested in learning about European Art Photo and David Bailey’s work, including the techniques, history, and eras of his photos, G&M Design Gallery is a must-visit.

One exciting addition to Monaco’s art scene is the Lebreton Gallery, located a little outside of the main art district, just a few metres past the train station on the way to Jardin Exotique. Alain Lebreton and Karim Mehanna are bringing ceramic art to the Principality, and not just any ceramics, but historical Vallauris ceramics by artists such as Suzanne Ramie, Roger Capron, and Jean Derval, among others. Apparently, the dealers were always based in Monaco but also worked extensively in the San Francisco area until the pandemic forced them to move back to Europe and concentrate on the more challenging European art market. Monaco has a rich ceramic history to carry forward.

The Moretti Gallery offers a charming selection of works by the grand masters, including a few wonderful Renoirs, Le Sidanier, Maximilian Luce, and a stunning painted portrait by Toulouse-Lautrec that is a rarity in today’s art world, as most of his works are housed in museums.

The Opera Gallery was problematic on Tuesday evening as it was operating a strict guest and face list control and too many faces waiting for control. I was able to return the next day but the welcome wasn’t much warmer.

Palais de la Scala, where Opera Gallery is situated, has over the years become an unofficial art centre in Monaco. Around the corner, you’ll find one of the oldest galleries in Monaco, Adriano Ribolzi, which presented this week an exhibition featuring the works of Canadian artist Jane Gemayel. Inside Palais de la Scala, you’ll come across various art consulting firms and art windows, including the art corner La Vitrine Contemporaine de Monaco and the enigmatic M.F. Toninelli Art Modern Gallery. The latter seems to never be open, but as it was announced as a participant in Art Week Monaco, I summoned up the courage to knock on its door.

Behind it stood a pleasant gentleman, one of those rare gallerists who have experienced multiple art epochs, worked in different countries, and probably met half of the artists he represents. The gallery was small, filled with art, and exuded a special art spirit from the past. A glitzy champagne vernissage would not have suited this wonderful art time capsule housing works by Brancusi, Manzu, and other geniuses of the 20th century. It was the most unusual and pleasant vernissage experience during Monaco Art Week.

Hauser & Wirth, one of the world’s largest gallery chains, showcased an impressive collection in its unusually large Monaco space next to Casino Square. The gallery can accommodate not only a few elephants, giraffes, and tyrannosaurs on its two floors but also large sculptures and installations. For Art Week, they presented works by the late American artist John Chamberlain, curated by former Tate curator Tanya Barson.

The art week is not yet over, as we are heading into a busy art weekend with the artmonte-carlo Fair and several important art auctions. Stay tuned for more exciting art events.

PHOTO: The David Bailey exhibition