Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TEFAF + Nouveau Amsterdam + Rotterdam Modern

Rotterdam's skyline — devastated after the German bombing blitz in 1940 when more than a square mile of the city was leveled — now features a formidable collection of high-rise buildings, including the works of two of the world's most renowned architects, pictured left, Renzo Piano's KPN Tower; right. Rem Koolhaas/OMA's 44-story mixed-use De Rotterdam.
TEFAF + Nouveau Amsterdam + Rotterdam Modern
By Augustus Mayhew

Today's Amsterdam and Rotterdam present two diverse urban approaches, however much the fate of both cities has been the upshot of World War II. Amsterdam was spared the concentrated bombing that destroyed much of Rotterdam's traditional building heritage. Even so, less than monumental Art Nouveau-Art Deco style buildings have been too often disregarded in favor of the more Dutch traditions. While in Rotterdam, the high-rise capital of The Netherlands, where nearly half the population is non-Dutch and more than 150 languages are spoken, glass-and-steel canyons make for Blade Runner-like street scenes. But before a look at Nouveau Amsterdam and Modern Rotterdam, and as the sound of the most often heard Dutch cant "Yeah-Yeah-Yeah" echoes in my mind, here is the most recent tally from TEFAF at Maastricht and my jaunt to the renovated Rijksmuseum.

TEFAF @ Maastricht
14 March-23 March 2014

As we drove by the Maastricht airport, I noticed a dozen or more private jets on the runway, waiting perhaps for the €1.4 million Buddha statue to be crated or the Breughel the Elder painting to be wrapped. None of the jets appeared large enough to accommodate the de Gaulle desk from Galerie Downtown, Paris, that unconfirmed reports have placed with a prominent buyer from Greenwich-Palm Beach. I found a reluctance for some of TEFAF's dealers to utter a syllable about the details of a transaction. When I returned to the Laue-Mehringer Benapi stand to gather details on the spiral-designed Venetian glass plate, the sales clerk informed me it had sold and she could no longer share the price, the terms, or the identity of the buyer.

The mystery of just how many masterpieces sold for how much remains unknown. That is, until next year, when TEFAF's more than 275 exhibitors converge in Maastricht and display their wares for what will undoubtedly again be heralded as the world's most beautiful and momentous art fair.
Yufuku Gallery, Tokyo.
Here are a few of the official reported sales:

During the past several days, sales in the antiques section, the largest and most eclectic division at TEFAF, were described as "plentiful." The Met secured a c. 1690 parcel-gilt ostrich ewer with its basin from J. Kugel Antiquaires, Paris. A private collector bought a pair of 17th-century globes by Willem Blaue from Daniel Crouch Rare Books, London, that will be exhibited at the Rijksmuseum. Galerie Kevorkian, Paris, reported the sale of a portrait of a Safavid Nobleman, by Shaykh 'Abbas, which was the subject of bidding by two museums. Aronson Antiquairs, Amsterdam, reported the sale of a pyramidal flower Delft flower vase, c. 1690, for a high five-figure sum to the National Gallery of Victoria, the oldest public museum in Australia.

In the paintings section, The Weiss Gallery, London, reported a number of deals including one if its highlights, a signed oil-on-panel painting by Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515-1586) titled Lucretia, c. 1537-1540, asking price of €2 million euros. A small canvas by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875), painted c. 1826-1827, titled Ruins of the Claudian Aqueduct, Rome was sold by Daxer & Marschall, Munich. Douwes Fine Art, Amsterdam, sold View of Lausanne, c.1870, by Matthijs Maris (1839-1917) to The Gemeentemuseum, The Hague. The director of the museum, Benno Tempel, declined to give the price but commented, "Nobody knew where this picture was, and I found it here, at TEFAF." A life-time bronze cast, 1950, titled Piccolo Cavallo by the Italian sculptor Mario Marini (1901-1980) was sold by Landau Fine Art.
Contemporary photography specialist, Galleri K, Oslo, sold a large frieze (pictured above) of the Museo del Prado, Madrid, created by Thomas Struth in 2005, consisting of five separate photographs.
Singel 423. Amsterdam is best known for its concentric canal rings lined with endless variations of traditional 16th-17th-century Dutch gabled facades.
And yet, whether by foot or on board a canal boat, Modernist buildings, though not as numerous or sizable as Rotterdam, can be found in between the time-honored wooden shoe-and-windmill houses.
Tesla showroom. Opened on Amsterdam's fashionable P.C. Hooftstraat in December 2013, Tesla plans to open other outlets for Arnhem, The Hague, and Utrecht in 2014.
Rijksmuseum, 3:00 p.m.
Several weeks ago, I had arranged a confirmed 3 p.m. photo/press appointment at the Rijksmuseum. When I arrived, the reception desk was unaware of the appointment, although I showed them my confirmation and identification. They would not call or e-mail or text the person who had arranged the appointment. They would not allow me to speak with the museum's press/marketing/media staff. After more than 15 minutes, I felt as if they were going to have security guards usher me out of the building for being an imposter. The next day, when I was already in Maastricht, I received an apology from the museum's public relations/marketing department, inviting me to drop by the next time I was in Amsterdam. In Maastricht, I spoke with two other press who also had similar tales from the Rijksmuseum. The "reception" staff's harsh unyielding tone gave way to a quaint sense that I had arrived at Fawlty Towers.
Rijksmuseum. Side elevation, processional tile mural.
Rijksmuseum. Café and Gift Shop.
Rijksmuseum. The circular reception/information desk is in the lower right of the photograph.
Rijksmuseum. This was as far as I was allowed at the Rijksmuseum.
Rijksmuseum. On my way to the exit door before security guards are called and after yet another bureaucratic bungle.
Nouveau Amsterdam

Amsterdam American Hotel, 1898-1900
Leidsekade 97, Leidseplein

W. Kromhout & W. G. Jansen, architects.
Amsterdam American Hotel. A view from across the Leidestraat, showing the 1929 and 1954 additions.
Amsterdam American Hotel. A bas-relief of the original hotel, more in the Viennese style, before it was transformed into the Nouveau style.
Amsterdam American Hotel, canal side entrance to the hotel.
Amsterdam American Hotel, canal side view.
Amsterdam American Hotel. The view from my room #116 included a perspective on the left canal bank of Tommy Hilfiger's European headquarters.
Amsterdam American Hotel. Tile and iron detail.
Amsterdam American Hotel. Café sign.
Amsterdam American Hotel. The fountain basin is in the shape of a pike. The sculpture, Fish (1962), is a work by Gerarda Rueter.
Amsterdam American Hotel. A view of the Café Americain.
Amsterdam American Hotel. Café windows overlooking the Leidsestraat.
Amsterdam American Hotel. Café chandelier, detail.
Amsterdam American Hotel. 8:10 pm. A view of the Café Americain looking towards the bar mural.
Amsterdam American Hotel. Café Americain.
Amsterdam American Hotel. Café Americain.
Pathé City, Kleine Gartmanplantsoen, 15-19. Located across the street from the American Hotel, the City Theater complex was next to a delicious Pancake Corner café.
Theater Tuschinski, 1918- 1921
Regulierbreestraat, Rembrandtsplein

H. L. deJong, architect
Theater Tuschinski, entrance.
Theater Tuschinski, facade. Sensational!
Theater Tuschinski, side lights.
Theater Tuschinski, film poster.
Theater Tuschinski, lobby. The ceilings lights kept changing.
Theater Tuschinski, film entrance doors.
Theater Tuschinski, light detail.
Theater Tuschinski, light detail.
Theater Tuschinski, lobby detail.
Theater Tuschinski, lobby.
Grand Hotel Amrath, 1913
Het Scheepvaarthuis - The Shipping House. Van der Meij, architect.
Shipping House offices to Amrath Hotel conversion, Ray Kentie, architect.
.Grand Hotel Amrath, canal view. The architect Van der Meij is considered one of the founders of the Amsterdam School architectural style.
Grand Hotel Amrath, corner view.
Grand Hotel Amrath, entrance detail. Grand Hotel Amrath, entrance detail.
Grand Hotel Amrath, canal side detail. Grand Hotel Amrath, entrance detail.
Grand Hotel Amrath, lobby window, detail.
Grand Hotel Amrath, lobby grand staircase.
Grand Hotel Amrath, view looking up the staircase. Grand Hotel Amrath, staircase view.
Grand Hotel Amrath, Seven Seas dining room.
Grand Hotel Amrath, looking down the staircase into the lobby.
Grand Hotel Amrath, canal side elevation, detail.
Hugo Boss store, Leidsestraat 1-3.
Hugo Boss store, Leidsestraat 1-3.
Hugo Boss store, Leidsestraat 1-3. 1904.
Hugo Boss store, Leidsestraat 1-3.
Rotterdam Modern

SS Rotterdam
SS Rotterdam. I was reluctant when I first heard we would be staying aboard the Hotel SS Rotterdam. Surprisingly, it was quiet and comfortable. The last night we took an exhilarating water taxi for dinner at the Hotel New York.
SS Rotterdam, ship model.
SS Rotterdam. My Lower Promenade cabin was compact and comfy with period décor and costumed staff.
The SS Rotterdam has maintained its Midcentury Modern ambiance.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 1935
Museumpark 18-20
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The interior courtyard. Andreas Van Der Steur, architect. Like a setting for "The Monuments Men," the museum survived the bombing in 1940 and the Nazi occupation.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Construction and additions timeline.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, entrance courtyard.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, café/pavilion addition. The museum hosted a refreshing luncheon for the international press at the café.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. My place at the table where tomato soup and cheese sandwiches were served.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Framing Sculpture: Brancusi, Rosso & Man Ray: 8 February 2014 – 11 May 2014. The exhibit's curators gave us a tour of the show.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Framing Sculpture: Brancusi, Rosso & Man Ray. Work by Man Ray, left; Brancusi, right.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Brancusi's work on display.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Salvador Dali.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Design exhibition.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. A camera shy security guard.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Design exhibition.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Expresso café, sign.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. In the garden.
Chabot Museum, 1938
Museumpark 11
G. W. Baas and L. Stokla, architects
Chabot Museum. The museum is dedicated to artist Hendrik Chabot.
Chabot Museum. Simply sensational!
Chabot Museum.
Chabot Museum.
Sonneveld House, 1933
Brinkmann & van der Vlugt, architect
Sonneveld House,1933. Rotterdam.
Sonneveld House,1933. Rotterdam. The Sonneveld family photographed in their backyard. One of the best-preserved houses in the Nieuwe Bouwen style, the Dutch branch of the International School of Modernism, it was designed by the architecture firm of Brinkman & Van der Vlugt. Collection Het Nieuwe Instituut, BIHS Archive.
Sonneveld House,1933. Rotterdam.
Hogeschool, Rotterdam. The Willem de Kooning Academy of Art is part of Hogeschool.
NAI-Netherlands Architecture Institute, 1993
Het Nieuwe Instituut, Museumpark 25
Jo Coenen, architect
Het Nieuwe Instituut, southwest elevation.
Het Nieuwe Instituut, south elevation entrance facing Museumpark.
Het Nieuwe Instituut, southeast elevation.
Museumpark, 1991-1992
Rem Koolhaas/OMA architect
Apple orchard with stones.
Kunsthal, 1992
Rem Koolhaas/OMA architect.
Kunsthal, west entrance. Kunsthal "An exhibition machine" reopened in January 2014 after OMA completed an extensive renovation that addressed issues concerning security, energy and circulation.
Kunsthal, south pedestrian entrance along Maas Boulevard.
Kunsthal, view of the east and north elevations from the Museumpark.
Kunsthal, view of the north elevation from the footbridge leading to Museumpark.
Kunsthal, west elevation leading into the auditorium and the café.
Kunsthal, auditorium.
Kunsthal, café.
Kunsthal, view of the north elevation from the footbridge leading to Museumpark.
Kunsthal, pedestrian walkway between Maas Boulevard and the Museumpark.
A view to the northwest from the Kunsthal with a view of the Natural History Museum, left..
Rotterdam Modern
Most of Rotterdam Centrum is a series of abrupt juxtapositions of 20th-21st-century high-rise Modern and more traditional neighborhoods.
A view from the SS Rotterdam across the river park.
Shipping and Transport College, 2003. Aan het Werk, Neutelings Riedijk Architecten.
Because much of the north bank of Rotterdam was destroyed, streets are composed with a diverse variety of high-rise buildings from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
A view of an ensemble of new buildings on Rotterdam's south bank, as seen from the 22nd floor of Der Rotterdam, the vertical city" designed by Rem Koolhaas.
Gerschtsgebouw, Rotterdam.
New Orleans apartment building, Alvaro Viera, architect, as seen from the 42nd floor of Der Rotterdam.
KPN Telcom Tower, 2000
Renzo Piano, architect

Light installation, Studio Dumbar
KPN Telcom Tower. Renzo Piano, architect. Renzo Piano's KPN Telcom Tower and Rem Koolhaas' Der Rotterdam on the south side ("Kop van Zuid") of the Nieuwe Maas River.
KPN Telcom Tower, a view from the west back of the building. KPN Telcom Tower and De Rotterdam, view from the street side.
De Rotterdam, 2013
Rem Koolhaas/OMA architect
Ellen van Loon, one of Rem Koolhaas' partners at OMA (Office of Metropolitan Architecture), gave us a tour of the building and explained its complexities.
De Rotterdam, "The Vertical City" model. The nhow Hotel opened in January 2014.
At De Rotterdam, the press listen in.
De Rotterdam, Rem Koolhaas/OMA. A view from the street.
Across the street from De Rotterdam, the area appears to be more of a work in need of progress.
Rem Koolhaas, OMA.
De Rotterdam, escalators.
Erasmus Bridge, 1996. Van Berkel & Bos Architecten.
Noord Island, view from the 22nd floor of Koolhaas' De Rotterdam.
A view towards Nieuwe Werk from the 22nd floor at De Rotterdam.
A view to the northeast from the 22nd floor of De Rotterdam.
Holland-America Line, 1901-1903
J. Muller, Droogleever Fortuin & C.B. van der Tak, architects
Hotel New York, 1993
Holland America Line, Wilhelmina Pier. Founded in 1873, the Holland America Line was primarily as a carrier of immigrants until 1920, bringing more than 850,000 immigrants to New York. For them, this building on this pier is where it all began. Holland-America Line's head office moved to Seattle during the 1980s, placing its landmark Wilhelmina Pier building for sale. It reopened as the Hotel New York in May 1993.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.

Augustus Mayhew is the author of Lost in Wonderland – Reflections on Palm Beach.