Thaddaeus Ropac's 20th Anniversary Bash

Veteran gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Paris space in style last Sunday, surrounded by a choice group of big-name artists and Paris glitterati. The dealer was all smiles for hours as he made the rounds, greeting the likes of Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz, Antony Gormley, and Erwin Wurm and sitting down with Robert Longo, whose new show was opening at the gallery to tie in with the celebrations.

"It's so great to see some 30 of the artists here," Thaddaeus Ropac told ARTINFO France. "That is the biggest compliment." Launched in 1990 with one exhibition room, Ropac's space went from "something quite small" to now stretch across three floors on Rue Debelleyme, the key artery for art galleries in Paris's Marais neighborhood. Since opening, the Paris gallery has hosted 87 artists in 199 solo and 24 group shows.

At 8 p.m., around 400 guests gathered at Théâtre Pierre Cardin, the fashion designer's red velvet concert space off the Champs Elysées, for a rare private concert by the all-artist band Barbara Sukowa & The X-Patsys. To describe the band's set as eclectic would be an understatement. Fronted by Barbara Sukowa, the celebrated German actress and orchestra singer, the group seamlessly welded smoky nouveau-existentialist rock set with traditional German poems and folk songs, Shakespeare monologues and sonnets, and covers of works by Tom Waits, Patsy Cline, and Willie Nelson.

Former Psychedelic Furs guitarist Knox Chandler sped through labyrinthine solos while Robert Longo energetically struck backing chords, gazing adoringly upon Sukowa, his wife of 16 years, who bathed her fine cabaret-style singing in the same expressive intensity that has won her best-actress awards at Cannes and Venice. Sukowa dedicated the last song to Thaddaeus Ropac, a cover of Gilbert Bécaud's "Le Jour Où la Pluie Viendra." with the poignant lyrics "The day the rain comes, you and I will be the richest in the world."

After the show, the line stretched a hundred yards down Rue Royale, as more patrons waited to mob the champagne bars under the gilt mirror ceilings of the famed restaurant Maxim's. A-listers got in first, with Bianca Jagger, Daniella Luxembourg, and Sir Norman Rosenthal snagging tables in the main room, where a DJ spun everything from Vivaldi's waltzes to David Bowie's "Life on Mars."


For photos from the party, click the slide show at left.