A Colorful Beginning

VIPs beat the rush on opening night of Houston Fine Art Fair with international flair

VIPs beat the rush on Houston Fine Art Fair opening night with flair

21 Nacho Rodriguez-Bach, from left, Mariana Valdes Debes and Rick Friedman at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Nacho Rodriguez-Bach, left, Mariana Valdes Debes and Houston Fine Art Fair founder Rick Friedman. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
25 Viki and Gary Anderson, from left, with Laura Rathe at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Viki and Gary Anderson, from left, with Laura Rathe. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
17 Khaled Hafez, from left, Deborah Colton and Omar Donia at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Khaled Hafez, from left, HFAF  chair Deborah Colton and Omar Donia. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
15 Julie and Blake Pratz at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Julie and Blake Pratz. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
7 Guus Kemp and Zoya Tommy at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Guus Kemp and Zoya Tommy. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
8 Hannah Wilson, from left, Jordan Talhelm and Vy Pham at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Hannah Wilson, from left, Jordan Talhelm and Vy Pham. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
24 Troy Porter and Joi Maria Probus at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Troy Porter and Joi Maria Probus. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
11 The venue at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
NRG Center is transformed in an art lovers dream with 50 galleries showing their wares. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
6 Gaston Ugalde, left, and Christopher Paschall at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Gaston Ugalde, left, and Christopher Paschall. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
5 Eric Dorton, from left, Alton LaDay and Jonathon Glus at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Eric Dorton, from left, Alton LaDay and Jonathon Glus. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
4 Dean Giuffer, from left, Ceron and Tarek El-Bjeirmi at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Dean Giuffer, from left, Cerón and Tarek El-Bjeirmi. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
3 Christopher Martin, from left, Debra McShane, Scot and Sannam Warrender and Mike McShane at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Christopher Martin, from left, Debra McShane, Scot and Sannam Warrender and Mike McShane. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
2 Brian Mcculloch, from left, Talal Elkhayat, and Valerie and Tracey Dieterich at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Brian McCulloch, from left, Talal Elkhayat and Valerie and Tracy Dieterich. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
1 Adam Erdesz, left, and Laszlo Erdesz at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
Adam Erdesz, left, and Laszlo Erdesz. Photo by Daniel Ortiz
21 Nacho Rodriguez-Bach, from left, Mariana Valdes Debes and Rick Friedman at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
25 Viki and Gary Anderson, from left, with Laura Rathe at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
17 Khaled Hafez, from left, Deborah Colton and Omar Donia at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
15 Julie and Blake Pratz at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
7 Guus Kemp and Zoya Tommy at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
8 Hannah Wilson, from left, Jordan Talhelm and Vy Pham at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
24 Troy Porter and Joi Maria Probus at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
11 The venue at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
6 Gaston Ugalde, left, and Christopher Paschall at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
5 Eric Dorton, from left, Alton LaDay and Jonathon Glus at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
4 Dean Giuffer, from left, Ceron and Tarek El-Bjeirmi at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
3 Christopher Martin, from left, Debra McShane, Scot and Sannam Warrender and Mike McShane at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
2 Brian Mcculloch, from left, Talal Elkhayat, and Valerie and Tracey Dieterich at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014
1 Adam Erdesz, left, and Laszlo Erdesz at the HFAF 2014 Opening Night September 2014

The Fourth Annual Houston Fine Art Fair's First Look on Thursday night was truly the place to see and be seen by the city's art-loving elite.

The private reception, which required a "Black Card" for access, took place just an hour and a half before the opening night crowds poured in and featured complimentary hors d'oeuvres and beverages from California winery Line 39. Proceeds from the exclusive sneak preview benefited the Asia Society Texas Center, represented by executive director Bonna Kol.

Of the 56 galleries featured, 18 are from outside the United States, which provided for an incredibly diverse array of global art. 

Welcoming the early VIP throng were HFAF founder Rick Friedman and fair chair Deborah Colton.

From serious collectors to young professionals, everyone was dressed to the nines as they mixed and mingled with local and international gallerists at the massive art fair. Of the 56 galleries featured, 18 are from outside the United States, which provided for an incredibly diverse array of global art.

From bold sculptural pieces and hyper-realistic paintings to interactive neon art and colorful abstract works, the 123,000-square-foot Hall C at NRG Center was laden with incredible pieces crafted by artists from around the world. A number of Andy Warhol lithographs from Adamar Fine Arts in Miami and Houston- and Santa Fe-based Wade Wilson Art's stunning spiraled sculpture by James Surls drew plenty of attention from preview attendees.

Local art was also on display with nearly a dozen area galleries present including Deborah Colton Gallery and Parkerson Gallery, as well as at the Houston Artists Hall Of Fame, which featured works by, among others, Mel Chin, Terrell James and The Art Guys' Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing. Patty Covo Johnson, former Houston Chronicle art critic and curator of the Hall of Fame, joined the party.

By night's end 3,600 art fans had entered the fair. The early arrivals included Nancy Allen, Judy Nyquist, Martha Finger, Jonathan Glus, Jereann Chaney, Bill Arning, Judith Oudt, Zoya Tommy, Guus Kemp, Don Mafrige Jr., Hannah Wilson, Julie Deal, Maryam Afshari, Julie and Blake Pratz, Adam Erdesz, Laszlo Erdesz and Gaston Ugalde.

The Houston Fine Art Fair continues through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, with a full schedule of programming including HFAF ArtSpeak discussions presented by CultureMap.

See some scenes from the Houston Fine Art Fair festivities:

HFAF 2014 Opening Night from HamptonsExpoGroup on Vimeo.