Exhibitors at TEFAF Maastricht will be bringing an extraordinary array of rare and beautiful works of art as The European Fine Art Fair celebrates its Silver Jubilee at the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre) in the southern Netherlands from March 16 – 25, 2012.
The renowned international specialists who exhibit at TEFAF always keep their best works of art back to show but this year they will be pulling out all the stops as TEFAF marks the 25th anniversary of its foundation. It is this insistence on quality that since 1988 has transformed TEFAF from a relatively small-scale event into the world’s most important art and antiques fair attracting collectors, curators and connoisseurs from more than 50 countries. A tulip created especially for TEFAF will be unveiled at the Fair as part of its Silver Jubilee celebrations. Visitors to the 2012 Fair will be greeted by a spectacular new entrance hall designed for the 25th anniversary containing an astonishing light installation by the artist Leo Villareal. On Friday morning March 16th there will be an art symposium about the changes and developments in the art market between 1988 and 2012.
TEFAF is also producing a special Silver Jubilee book, has set up a Museum Restoration Fund to help institutions with restoration projects and has become the principal sponsor of the Museum aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht. Among the works to be exhibited at TEFAF 2012 will be:
■ A stunningly beautiful gold, diamond and enamel dragonfly pendant by René Lalique, the undisputed genius of Art Nouveau jewelry. This signed piece made c1903 depicts four dragonflies with green-blue enameled legs and wings with a large oval aquamarine in its centre. It was originally purchased directly from Lalique by the glassmaker Leon Appert, the brother-in-law of the great French painter Georges Seurat. The pendant will be exhibited by Epoque Fine Jewels from Belgium.
■ A rare cup made from a coconut once owned by Alexander von Humboldt, the German naturalist and explorer. The silver-mounted Humboldt Cup was one of a series of works commissioned in the 17th century by Johan Maurits van Nassau, the Dutch prince and general whose residence is now the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague. It later belonged to Von Humboldt and only four comparable objects have survived, all in public collections. It will be brought to TEFAF by Kunstkammer Georg Laue of Munich.
■ A newly-discovered 16th century alabaster relief by the German sculptor and woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider. The Annunciation, dating from 1515 – 1520 and measuring 32cm by 21.5cm, was intended for private devotion and strikes a balance between formal elegance and expressive strength. Riemenschneider’s work in alabaster is rare and this piece with details such as the letter from God and the Virgin’s crossed hands appears to be unique. It will be exhibited by Daniel Katz Ltd of London.
■ The last available work from a set of six bronzes made by the influential Mannerist sculptor Giambologna (Jean de Boulogne) in 1596 for the Eucharistic tabernacle in the Certosa del Galluzzo monastery in Florence. The other five are all in public collections or foundations in the United States and Australia. An Angel Alighting will be on the stand of Altomani & Sons from Milan.
■ A magnificent example of the work of Pieter Brueghel the Younger depicting peasants working in the field and resting over lunch. The Harvest, signed and dated 1621, was one of a series of paintings of the seasons of the year produced by the younger Brueghel. It brilliantly portrays the fertility of the earth amid the heat and torpor of August. The painting will be exhibited by De Jonckheere of Paris.
■ A unique photographic self-portrait of the painter Edgar Degas probably taken in the autumn of 1895. Degas began experimenting with photography in the 1880s, capturing scenes of everyday life from unexpected viewpoints. The intimate photograph entitled Self-portrait in his library shows him sitting by a shaded sculptural bust. This contact print is unique although two enlarged versions of this image are known in museum collections. The historic image will be shown at TEFAF by Hans P. Kraus Jr Fine Photographs of New York.
■ A 3000 year-old Egyptian shabti figure which would have been placed in a tomb with the deceased. The Shabti of Sunero, dating from the 19th Dynasty (c1306 – 1186 BC), depicts the Master of the Horse, a high-ranking military officer, holding his ba, his personality and individuality, to his chest. This 22cm high dark brown serpentinite figure will be exhibited by Galerie Harmakhis of Brussels.
■ One of a distinctive group of drawings by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo intended by the artist to be sold as finished works. The Raising of the Cross, in pen and brown ink with brown wash, is signed and was executed in the late 18th century as part of the ‘Large Biblical Series’. It will be shown by Stephen Ongpin Fine Art from London.
■ A portrait of Jacques-Louis David, the French artist who was the leading figure in Neoclassical painting and an active supporter of the French Revolution. The picture was painted in 1817 by David’s pupil François-Joseph Navez, who became a successful portrait painter in his own right. He produced three other portraits of David, all of which are in museums. This picture will be shown at TEFAF by Jean-François Heim of Paris.
■ One of the most beautiful snow scenes in French art painted by the leading Realist artist Gustave Courbet. Effet de Neige, painted by Courbet in his native Ornans region during the uncommonly cold and snowy winters of 1866-68, uses an aggressive painting technique and an unmistakable color scheme. This superb oil on canvas work will be taken to TEFAF 2012 by French & Company of New York.
■ A unique oak table with a slate top designed by Børge Mogensen and produced by cabinetmaker Erhard Rasmussen in Denmark in 1951 will be one of the highlights of TEFAF Design. It will be exhibited by Galerie Eric Philippe of Paris.