Following a very strong start to TEFAF Maastricht, which took place at the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre) in the city of Maastricht in the Southern Netherlands between March 18-27, 2011, sales continued throughout the first week with visitor numbers remaining high and dealer confidence strong. The Fair is regarded as a unique and essential opportunity to view some of the finest works of both fine and decorative arts available on the market and is therefore an important destination for both serious private collectors and museum buyers.
The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires (MACBA) visited TEFAF, the world’s most influential art fair, for the first time this year. This new private museum is currently under construction and will open to the public for the first time in April 2012. They bought a piece by Heinz Mack (b. 1931), one of the founders of the Zero Group, on the opening day for their permanent collection. Other museums in evidence at the Fair included The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; The National Gallery, London; The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh; Musée du Louvre, Paris; Uffizi, Florence; the Museo di Capodimonte, Naples; the Hermitage, St, Petersburg and the Pushkin Museum, Moscow
Richard Green, London reported many sales amongst which was a bravura portrait of Mary, Countess of Wilton by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1839) painted when he was at the very height of his powers in 1829 to a private client. Other Old Master sales included an oil on beech wood painting entitled The Virgin and Child with the Infant St. John by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) which was formerly in the collection of the Grand Duke of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenbach. The picture was sold by Senger Bamberg Kunsthandel, Germany and had an asking price of 2.9 million Euros. Zurich dealer, Koetser Gallery was pleased to report the sale of a sea view by Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633-1707) with an asking price of 3 million Euros to a private collector.
Among the items sold after the first weekend is a remarkable pair of rediscovered late Baroque sculptures by Guiseppe Piamontini (1663-1744) of Jupiter and the eagle and Juno and the peacock which were sold by Daniel Katz, London to a new American collector. The sculptures had an asking price of 1.6 million Euros. Another important sculpture Flora and Zephyr Dancing by Giovanni Maria Benzoni (1809-1873) was sold by Wijermars Fine Art, The Netherlands, to some new Chinese collectors for 400,000 Euros, supporting the evidence that Chinese buyers are becoming an active force in the market not only for Asian art but also for European paintings and works of art. (Tefaf Art Market report – The Global Art Market in 2010: Crisis and Recovery. See www.tefaf.com under SHOP)
Since it was first introduced twenty years ago TEFAF Modern has grown into an important section attracting leading international dealers from around the globe. Kukje Gallery, New York and Seoul, sold an untitled stainless steel and lacquer piece made in 2008 by Anish Kapoor (b. 1954) to a Korean collector while Haunch of Venison, London sold an important three dimensional relief by Frank Stella (b. 1936) entitled Nowe Miasto III, 1973, from his seminal Polish Village series, which sold to an important European collector.
Works of art from all periods and civilizations are an important element at TEFAF Maastricht. Brussels dealer, Janssens van der Maelen Francis sold an 1930s Art Deco silver centerpiece by the leading Antwerp silversmith, Raymond Ruys (1886-1956)to the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh. James Ede of Charles Ede, London reported a very strong Fair and is pleased to be negotiating the sale of a late 18th Dynasty (1361-1352BC) rose granite head of a young Tutankhamun portrayed as the god Amun to a museum. This extraordinary piece has an asking price of 550,000 pounds sterling. Marcel Nies Oriental Art, Antwerp was delighted to sell one of his major pieces - a 9th century Java Buddha Amitara made from andesite in the Borobudur style, from central Java to a private collector.
The Design Section was introduced into the Fair three years ago in 2009 and has been well received by collectors and visitors alike. Sebastian + Barquet, New York sold an important composite piece of a seat, table and shelving from 1984 -1989 by the American artist Donald Judd (1928-1989), which had an asking price of 40,000 dollars to a private collector.
TEFAF Maastricht has 260 exhibitors from 16 countries in nine sections. To date the fair has attracted 55,000 visitors. Some 30,000 works of art from the Neolithic Age to the present day are all rigorously vetted by 168 international experts in 29 specialist committees to ensure quality, authenticity and good condition. The fair continues until Sunday, March 27th.