TEFAF Maastricht has set an example that the rest of Europe should follow, said Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, during a visit to what she called “the world’s leading art and antiques fair”. Ms Kroes, who is also Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, praised The European Fine Art Fair on Friday (12 March), the day after a record 10,500 people attended the private view where dealers reported good business. The Fair opened to the public on Friday and continues until 21 March.
“The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) can proudly call itself the world’s leading art and antiques fair,” Ms Kroes told the Information Communications Technology Business Summit in Maastricht. “What is especially relevant to my remarks today is that TEFAF has continued to grow through the crisis. TEFAF has grown when other fairs are cutting back or shutting down.
“There are lessons here that others in Europe can copy. TEFAF adapts to its circumstances: adding new sections, changing focus, refusing to be complacent. TEFAF has decided: ‘The world is changing, so we are changing too’. This is exactly what Europe needs to do and the European Union’s new Europe 2020 strategy that has just been presented by the European Commission is our plan to make it happen. This strategy shows us how to choose prosperity over decline. We must act on this choice.”
Record numbers as TEFAF Maastricht opens
The success story of TEFAF Maastricht, held each year in the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre) in the southern Netherlands, continued at the private view of the 23rd edition of the Fair on Thursday. A record 10,500 invited guests attended the private view – now firmly established as one of the art and antiques world’s most celebrated annual events. This was an increase of 11% on 2009.
Museum purchases at TEFAF
The National Gallery of Art in Washington bought the newly discovered Winter Landscape with Skaters painted by the Dutch artist Adam van Breen in 1611 from John Mitchell Fine Paintings of London for €910,000. The oil painting is one of the earliest known works by Van Breen. Sales at the private view by the sculpture specialists Robert Bowman Gallery of London included a white marble and bronze bust of Othello by the 19th century Italian Pietro Calvi. It was bought by a curator from The National Gallery of Art in Washington on behalf of a private collector from Washington DC for a six figure sum. Other purchases by museums included two pieces bought by German and American institutions from Julius Böhler, the Starnberg-based specialist in early European sculpture and works of art, and Renaissance cutlery sold to an American museum by Kunstkammer Georg Laue of Munich. Antiquities dealer Rupert Wace Ancient Art from London sold a Roman bronze statuette of Aphrodite wearing a silver diadem from the 1st century AD to a French private museum.
Private sales at the Fair
In the Paintings, Drawings & Prints section Koetser Gallery of Zurich sold Head of a Bearded Man by Sir Peter Paul Rubens to a private collector for “under €1 million” while Bernheimer-Colnaghi of Munich and London found buyers for four paintings early in the private view. They included Le Petit Messager by the French painter Marguerite Gérard (1761–1837), which had an asking price of €700,000, and The Toilet of Venus by Nicolas Colombel (1644-1717), a recent discovery with an asking price of €550,000. “This is a very encouraging start and confirms TEFAF’s position as the premier art fair,” said Konrad Bernheimer, owner of Bernheimer-Colnagi.
Modern and contemporary works also performed well. Dickinson of London and New York said that it had “reached agreements” with collectors on Tête, a 1926 Pablo Picasso, and Homage to Kandinsky, a sculpture by Eduardo Chillida. Hauser & Wirth of Zurich, London and New York had an extremely successful start to the Fair selling an untitled 1960 painting by Eva Hesse, for which €550,000 had been asked, while Dieter Roth’s huge Paravant mit Schuerze was sold for €350,000. Galerie Thomas of Munich sold La route peu rassurante by Chaim Soutine to a southern European private buyer for approximately €500,000 and Abstract Figure (Relief H) by Oskar Schlemmer to a European private collector for €85,000.
Asian works of art proved popular and Ben Janssens Oriental Art of London sold more than 30 pieces to collectors at the private view. These included a limestone torso of a Buddha, dating from 6th century China, for a price in the region of €90,000 and a jade Mughal-style perfumer made in China in the 18th century for about €80,000. Vanderven & Vanderven Oriental Art from ‘s-Hertogenbosch sold a large pottery figure of a Lokapala, a guardian in Buddhist mythology. Collectors from France, America and Belgium paid between €30,000 and €100,000 for four wooden Ibo statues from Nigeria on the stand of Bernard de Grunne Tribal Fine Arts of Brussels. London antiquities dealer Charles Ede Ltd sold a Fayum mummy portrait on wood depicting a wealthy woman wearing pearl earrings and two necklaces. This rare and beautiful Roman piece painted in Egypt in the 2nd century AD sold to a collector at the private view for a price in the region of €200,000.
Galerie Johannes FaberE.H Ariëns-KappersDay & Faber
A record number of 263 exhibitors from 17 countries are at TEFAF 2010. They are showing some 30,000 works of art and antiques, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, furniture, classical antiquities, illuminated manuscripts, jewellery, textiles, porcelain, glass, silver and design. All of these have been rigorously vetted by 26 teams with a total of 168 internationally recognised experts.
AXA Art is the principal sponsor of TEFAF
AXA Art’s partnership with TEFAF provides an important platform to profile the company’s expertise to the art collecting community and to bring attention to subjects of collection management such as the fragility of art objects and important strategies to maintain a collection in optimum condition.
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