Germany's largest art fair opens in Cologne

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A visitor takes photos of an installation by artist Ivan Navarro at the Art Cologne 2019 in Cologne, Germany, on April 11, 2019. (Xinhua/Lu Yang)

The 53rd Art Cologne exhibition, Germany's largest art fair, opened on Thursday in Cologne, western Germany, drawing 176 German and international exhibitors.

More than half of the exhibitors at the art fair came from outside Germany, many from neighboring countries like Belgium and the Netherlands.

Over 2,000 works of contemporary art and classical modernism by artists including Otto Mueller, August Macke and Damien Hirst will be on display at the art fair.

One of the most expensive works at Art Cologne will be "singer at the piano" by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, which is selling for 3.9 million euros (4.4 million U.S. dollars).

"You can imagine an art fair like a big ship that is floated all year round for just a few days," said Karin Schulze-Frieling of the Federal Association of German Galleries and Art Dealers (BVDG).

This year's Art Cologne fair will be smaller than previous years, with 34 less exhibitors attending than in 2018, when 210 exhibitors came.

The reason for this, however, was "not less interest on the part of gallery owners," said the director of Art Cologne, Daniel Hug, on Wednesday.

Instead, the aim was to concentrate the fair and ensure that every visitor could really see every stand. "It is worth taking your time," said Hug.

Art Cologne was founded in 1967 as the "Kunstmarkt Koeln" and is recognized as the world's oldest art fair. It is an art fair for international art galleries presenting art of the 20th and 21st centuries in Cologne, Germany. 

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