|Jason Jacques at the Galerie Ulrich Fiedler (Germany).|
By Roger Webster and Jason Grant
Maastricht, The Netherlands. The opening last Thursday of the 24th edition of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), widely known as the world’s greatest fine art and antiques event, was more exciting than it has been in four years. Sales and reserves were brisk and the mood through MECC (the Maastricht Exposition and Congress Center Fair) was celebratory.
Willem Baron van Dedem, president of the board of TEFAF, and owner of one of the finest private collections of 17th-century Dutch paintings said, “The period from 2008-2010 was one of crisis and recovery for the global art market even though art fared relatively well when compared to other luxury markets because of its long-term, tangible value. By 2010, there were some significant signs of recovery in the market for art and antiques, driven primarily by the US and China.”
|TEFAF is filled with thousands of flowers; here parrot tulips and magnolia blossoms.|
|During World War II, when Prime Minister Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favor of the war effort, he simply replied, “then what are we fighting for?”
Time spent at TEFAF will not only overwhelm you with all styles of beauty, it will impress you with man’s creativity and imagination through the ages. When the world seems to be struggling with tragedies around the globe, The Fair is a reminder that man has the ability to survive and heal.
This year, there are 30,000 works offered by 260 dealers from 16 countries. Seven of them are new. Whatever century’s work we are discussing, theme, style or technique, the one unifying factor is quality. The excellence is a result of TEFAF’s legendary vetting process. Each item is examined by 29 specialist-committees who have been assembled from 168 international experts. TEFAF was the first art event to vet the dealers’ offerings. This was instituted to ensure quality, authenticity and good condition. In other words, the buyer is guaranteed that what has been represented is what he is getting.
|Scenes from TEFAF.|
|Perhaps this is why every major American museum is booked for the Fair. At the opening preview, the National Gallery, Washington DC, the Wadsworth Antheneum, Hartford, CT. and the Boston Fine Arts Museum had made their presence known through their purchases and reserves.
Board Member Michel Witmer, TEFAF Ambassador to America said, “The Fair has become the most interesting destination for museum patron groups. In fact, the Maastricht airport is fully booked with private Jets for Sunday evening so that the biggest collectors and the wealthiest buyers can enter The Fair on Monday morning, without the weekend crowds.” Later tonight, Witmer will give a dinner for members of Palm Beach’s Society of the Four Arts in the private dining room of the Chateau Saint Gerlach.
|Baron Konrad Bernheimer and Willem Baron van Dedem, President of TEFAF.||Truuske Verloop.|
|Neal Fiertag and Florian Haerb.||Pierre Rosenberg, recently retired director of Louvre, Paris. “If he looks at a work of art for any length of time, you can be sure it will be purchased.”|
|Conrad Van Tiggelen.||Anthony Blumka and Julius Boehler of the Blumka Boehler Gallery (New York).|
|Jack Kilgore standing next to his Rubens.||Andrew Myers and Wendy Moonan.|
|Armin Bienger, Director of Marlborough Gallery, London with Bronze by Manolo Valdez.||Flore de Brantes.|
|Martin and Henry Zimet, of French & Company (New York).||Frances Beatty in Ralph Rucci.|
|Fabrizio Moretti of Moretti Gallery (New York and London).||Tova Ossad of Moretti Gallery.|
|Richard Feigen.||Titia Vellenga, Head of TEFAF PR and Marketing.|
|Evelyn Tompkins.||Lance Entwistle with “Dan,” a rare and ancient figure from Dan peoples of Liberia; Entwistle Gallery, London.|
|Ernst Veen, Director of Hermitage Amsterdam and Mikhail Pitrovsky, Director of Hermitage St. Petersburg.||René Hanssen, Executive Director of MECC, the facility where TEFAF is held.|
|Michel Witmer.||Susan Lynch.|
|Among the opening two days, some of the familiar names included David and Julia Koch; recently retired director of the Louvre Pierre Rosenberg (“If he looks at a work of art for any length of time, you can be sure it will be purchased.”); Evelyn Tompkins; Greenwich Museum’s director Peter Sutton; Elizabeth Stribling and Guy Robinson; Ann and Bill Nitze; art critic and author Kenneth Baker and his wife Tanya; Susan Lynch; Tom and Lisa Blumenthal with their children Connie and Dex; Wendy Moonan; Paul Laster and a Sheik who arrived in his private plane with several body guards.
What are some of the magnets drawing all this attention?
TEFAF had its origins in old masters. Probably the most expensive is Rembrandt’s “Portrait of Man with Arms Akimbo” at Otto Naumann (New York). It was previously owned by, among others, Huntington Hartford and Steve Wynn. The price: $47 million.
|There are three works by the great Dutch painter Frans Hals at The Fair. Noortman Master Paintings (The Netherlands) has a pair of portraits of a married couple by Hals dated 1637. Otto Naumann is showing “Portrait of a Gentleman,” a striking portrait of an unidentified sitter painted in 1630, an example of Hals at the height of his powers.
Among the French Impressionists, there were several paintings and watercolors by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The most attention getting is “Femme cueillant des Fleurs” a portrait of Camille, the first Mrs. Claude Monet. It’s a painting Renoir kept for himself. After Camille’s death, Nancy, the second Mrs. Monet had every trace of Camille destroyed.
Demonstrating TEFAF’s scope, Rupert Wace Ancient Art (London) offers an important, recently rediscovered Greek idol, a small white marble figure of a woman, made about 7000 years ago. It’s one of fewer than a dozen known pieces dating from this early era, most of which are in museums.
|La Leçon by Claude Renoir 1906 ; Hammer Galleries, (New York).|
|Entwistle (London) has a rare, ancient figure from the Dan peoples of Liberia. Marcel Nies Oriental Art (Brussels) offers a superbly sculpted, life-sized “Buddha Dipamkara.” This rare monumental work dating from the third or fourth century is one of the most important examples of Gandharan art from what is now Pakistan.
For furniture collectors, at Perrin Antiquaires (Paris) there is a set of Napoleonic Campaign Furniture, made of polished steel, gilt copper and leather, commissioned for the French army. Napoleon’s instructions were, “Spend twice as much if necessary but build furniture that is practical, strong and light.” The armchairs with leather straps could be an early example of a reclining chair.
Kunsthandel Peter Mühlbauer (Germany) has a magnificent 1825 mahogany and gilded bronze secretaire, which was a present from Queen Charlotte to her stepson Wilhelm I.
|Napoleonic Campaign Furniture commissioned for the French army at Perrin Antiquaires, Paris- (Napoleon wrote, “Spend twice as much if necessary but build furniture that is practical, strong and light.”).|
|Then there is a Volubile chandelier in black and gilt patina bronze by Hervé van der Straeten at Flore de Brantes (Belgium). Flore de Brantes is a niece of Guy and Maria de Brantes who spent a lot of time in New York during the 1970s and ‘80s.
There’s a rare item at Harmakhis Galerie (Brussels), a fragment of an Egyptian water clock depicting Alexander the Great offering wine in front of Hathor. It’s one of the four known clock fragments; the other three are in the British Museum, Berlin’s Egyptian Museum and the Louvre, Paris.
Cohen & Cohen (UK) has a highly important pair of Chinese leopards figures dating from the reign of the Kangxi Emperor circa 1720. It is thought that these magnificent enameled porcelains were made for the Emperor because the only place the artist could have closely observed them was in the Imperial menagerie in Beijing.
|Buddha Dipamkara at Marcel Nies Oriental Art (Brussels). This rare monumental work dating from the third or fourth century is one of the most important examples of Gandharan art from what is now Pakistan.||Early gothic clock (before 1500) at Crijins & Stender Gallery (Brussels).|
|In the Jewelry section, there is an extraordinary example of collaboration between one of the greatest names in 20th-century art and a superbly skilled jeweler. The exquisite work, “Pandora’s Box,” was designed and created by Salvador Dali and executed by Carlos Alemany. It’s a gold box veneered with lapis lazuli and studded with diamonds. Dali’s signature is in diamond-encrusted platinum. Commissioned by Hanns Weinberg in 1971, it is one of the last jewels Dali created, and until now has been in the Weinberg family’s collection.
A more recent piece of great jewelry is the Graff (London) “Delaire Sunrise,” the world’s largest Fancy, Vivid-Yellow, Square Emerald Cut diamond. Laurence Graff acquired the 118.08-carat, rough-form diamond, which took almost a year to complete cutting. It is named after the Delaire Graff estate, one of South Africa’s finest vineyards and priced at over $20 million.
|At Wartski (London), there are works from one of the most significant Fabergé collections of recent times, including an imperial two color enamel case bought by Tsar Nicolas and Tsarina Alexandra in 1910.
Landau Fine Art (Canada) has a Miró exhibit that includes paintings, drawings and sculptures. Among the latter is an olive wood creation (1945), which is one of Miró’s earliest sculptures and has not been seen publicly since 1973. Another sculpture at Landau, is “Mother and Child: Block Seat,” a sculpture by Henry Moore. It was cast in an edition of nine in 1983. It portrays the child as an elemental, virtually abstract, form.
Wienerroither & Kohlbacher (Vienna) is exhibiting Egon Schiele’s “Sitting Nude,” a superb 1914 gouache and pencil work on vellum. Galerie Daniel Blau (Munich) has one of three close-up portraits that Lucian Freud painted of his mother in the early 1970’s.
|BMW Art Car by contemporary artist Jeff Koons is a mobile work of art as well as a unique expression of power, motion and light.|
|Screen by Eileen Gray at L’arc en Seine Galerie (Paris).|
|In TEFAF Paper, Stephen Ongpin Fine Art (London) is showing a preparatory watercolor by Renoir for his painting “Bathers in the Forest.” Some twenty more works by Renoir are in the Hammer Galleries (New York) display. Among them is a fine painting of Renoir's son Claude, circa 1906. It is the first time the painting has been seen by the public.
Two dealers have 21st century works by Louise Bourgeois, who died last year. Galerie Karsten Greve (St. Moritz) has an untitled piece made of cloth and steel dating from 2002 while the Kukje Gallery (Korea) is exhibiting some of her most exquisite last works. Among these is “Les Fleurs,” a 2008 gouache and mixed media work on paper. Hamiltons Gallery (London) is holding TEFAF’s first exhibition of works by the German-born photographer Helmut Newton.
|This year, there was more cell phone use than ever before. Not surprisingly, The Fair launched the TEFAF Mobile Guide, an application for Android and iPhones.
TEFAF continues to support cancer research through a TEFAF Chair of Oncology at Maastricht University Medical Centre.
|Richard Redding Antiques, Zurich.|
|Joseph of Arimathea, wood circa 1230; Galerie Brimo De Laroussilhe (Paris).||Portrait of Giovanni Paolo Panini, by Louis- Gabriel Blanchet in 1736, Bernheimer-Colnaghi Gallery (Munich).|
|Nature Morte aux Pivoines Jacques-Emile Blanche, 1912; Stoppenbach & Delestre (London).|
|Torso of Action in Chains, Bronze first cast of edition of 6 by Aristide Maillol, 1905 at French & Company (New York).||Saint Luke the Evangelist, Jan van Bijlert 17th century; Habolt & Co. (Paris and New York).|
|Gift of the Magi, Blumka Boehler Gallery (New York).|
|Lascivia by Abraham Janssens van Nuyssen I, Antwerp 17th century; Adam Williams Fine Art (New York).||Study for a portrait of Lady Frances Anne Crewe by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1810; Agnew’s Gallery (New York).|
|Axel Vervoordt Gallery (Belgium).|
|Terracotta Bust of Guido Visconti, by Carlo Beretta 18th century; Moretti Gallery (Florence, London, New York).||Terracotta Bust of Ottone Visconti by Carlo Beretta 18th century; Moretti Gallery (Florence, London, New York).|
|Weiss Gallery (London).|
|Allegory of Poetry by Eustache Le Seur, 17th century; over 18th century French Transitional Commode; Noortman Master Paintings (The Netherlands).||Jack Kilgore Gallery (New York).|
|Forminfera plaster by Tony Cragg at Keitelman Gallery (Brussels).|
|Ada Dovada by Manolo Valdez (Madrid 2010); Marlborough Gallery (London).|
|Bride and Groom by Amedeo Modigliani (1915-1916); Landau Fine Art (Canada).||Trovotore by Giorgio De Chirico (1956); Landau Fine Art (Canada).|
|Worse Than Van Gogh by Peter Saul 2009; Haunch of Venison (New York).|
|Perrin Antiquaires (Paris).|
|Galerie Thomas (Munich).|
|Tokyo Dreamer” by Koen Vermeule, 2010; Borzo Gallery (Amsterdam).||Galerie von Bartha (Basel, Switzerland).|
|Botero painting, Galeria Sur (Uruguay).|
|Galerie Thomas (Munich).|
|Beck & Eggeling (Germany).|
|Axel Vervoordt Gallery (Belgium).|
|La Liberté” by Gustav Courbet 1875; Richard L. Feigen Gallery (New York).|
|Original box with Masonic symbol for La Liberté” by Gustav Courbet 1875; Richard L. Feigen Gallery (New York).|
|A Man and a Woman by Richard Prince 2008, Haunch of Venison (New York).||A rare French 18th century Painted Wood Female Mannequin in a Louis XV Silk Metallic Wrapped Thread Robe a la Française (circa 1765); Pelham (Paris).|
|Eguiguren Arte de Hispanoamérica (Buenos Aires).|
|Bernard De Grunne Gallery (Brussels).|
|Coffee Table at L’arc en Seine Galerie (Paris).|
|Green Room- Paneled with Chinese Export Wallpapers (early 19th century); Pelham (Paris).|
|Albrecht Neuhaus Gallery (Würzburg Germany).|
|Portrait of Mary, Countess of Wilton by Sir Thomas Lawrence (London 1829).||Chair by Marcel Breuer, 1927. First time that tubular steel was used to construct the frame of furniture. Galerie Ulrich Fiedler (Germany).|
|Pieter Hoogendijk (The Netherlands).|
|Mallett (London and New York).|
|Rue Clignancourt, Paris by Isaac Israels, circa 1910, Kunsthandel Jacques Fijnaut (Amsterdam).||Portrait of Gustav Klimt, 1912, by Mariz Nahr, Galerie Johannes Faber (Vienna).|
|Aronson Antiquairs (The Netherlands).|
|Sophonisha receiving a cup of poison by Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini (Venice circa 1700); Bernheimer Gallery (London and Munich).|
|A La Vieille Russie (New York).|
|Next year will be a special year for TEFAF; it will celebrate its 25th Anniversary. Many of the top hotels are already booked. In fact they are booking for 2013.
Galleries from the US there were: A La Vieille Russie, Inc.; Didier Aaron & Cie; Agnew’s; Daphna Alazraki; Michele Beiny; Blumka Gallery; W.M. Brady & Co.; Dickinson; Richard L. Feigen & Co.; French & Company; Michael Goedhuis Ltd; Graff; Grassi Studio; Hammer Galleries; Haunch of Venison; Jack Kilgore & Co., Inc.; Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Fine Photographs; Kukje Gallery; Littleton & Hennessy Asian art Ltd; Mallet; Barbara Mathes Gallery; Anthony Meier Fine Arts; Montgomery Gallery; Moretti; Otto Naumann Ltd; Royal Athena Galleries; Sebastian + Barquet; S.J. Shrubsole, Corp.; Elle Shushan; Sperone Westwater; Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts; Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz; David Tunick, Inc.; Ursus Books; Van de Weghe Fine Art; Adam Williams Fine Art Ltd; David & Constance Yates and Associates.
Photographs by Roger Webster