Art Basel at 50 - the 1970s by undefined

Art Basel at 50 - the 1970s

Discover the fair's history, decade by decade

2020 marks Art Basel's 50th anniversary. Conceived as a fair by gallerists for gallerists, it has brought together thousands of exhibitors, artists, and visitors since its inception. Through archive images, quotes from early participants, and key facts and figures, we invite you to discover Art Basel's founding years.

The Genesis: 1970

Art Basel, founded by the Basel gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudl Bruckner, and Balz Hilt, launches with 90 galleries and 20 publishers from 10 countries.

First edition: Facts and Figures

  • 16,300 visitors
  • 110 exhibitors
  • 10 countries: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA
  • Day Ticket: CHF 5

The Early Years

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I first participated in Art Basel in 1972. It was an incredible, pioneering and very exciting time when most of the gallerists, out of passion, transported the works of the artists themselves. In addition, the artists also helped to build the booths with great excitement. It was a time when nobody could imagine—we were working from a very idealistic background— that the art market (especially because of the fairs) would develop as far and as professionally as it has today.

Ursula Krinzinger, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna
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Our first participation was in 1975. It was relatively inexpensive and we covered our costs with sales of about £3,000. Ironically, we now find ourselves downstairs to almost the same spot we were in 1975.

Nicholas Logsdail, Lisson Gallery, London, New York City, and Shanghai
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Next up: Art Basel at 50 - the 1980s