After Strong Initial Sales, TEFAF Maastricht Closes Early Due to Coronavirus

  • March 10, 2020 17:14

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Frans Francken II (1581-Antwerp-1642) The preaching of Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Oil on canvas. Signed and dated 1631.
Vincent van Gogh’s Peasant Woman in front of a Farmhouse (1885).
The Orpheus Cup, 1641 – 1642. From the collection of Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild.
(DETAIL of work) Michele Fabris (1644-84, known as l'Ongaro

UPDATE 3/11/2020: TEFAF has closed four days early after an exhibitor from Italy, who had already returned home on Monday, March 8, tested positive for COVID-19, reported the Art Newspaper.

The 33rd edition of TEFAF Maastricht drew 10,000 international visitors over Early Access Day (March 5) and Preview Day (March 6), with attendance continuing into this week. The 282 exhibitors from 22 countries saw sales achieved across all sections of the fair, with works of art going to both private and institutional collectors. The fair was supposed to run until Sunday March 15 at the MECC, Maastricht.

In the face of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) health crisis, three exhibitors dropped out (Wildenstein & Co, Fergus McCaffrey and Galerie Monbrison). Travel restrictions (Italy, for one, has 60 million people in lockdown as of Tuesday) and virus concerns have also prevented many collectors and museum representatives from attending in person, making certain sales activity move online.

Stephen Ongpin, of Stephen Ongpin Fine Art in TEFAF Works on Paper said, “Whilst the numbers of visitors are certainly going to be down, TEFAF Maastricht continues to be an essential destination fair for collectors."

Sales were reported from the first moments of the fair. In TEFAF Antiques, J. Kugel (Stand 200) sold to an important museum the centrepiece of their stand, The Orpheus Cup, 1641 – 1642. Crafted in enamelled gold and rubies, the cup is an extraordinary achievement by four distinct hands - Jan Vermeyen, court jeweller to Emperor Rudolf II; Johann Wilhelm Baur, painter of Emperor Ferdinand III; Hans Georg Baur, court goldsmith of Emperor Ferdinand III; and an anonymous Viennese painter on enamel. The work was almost certainly commissioned by Emperor Ferdinand III. 

Giovanni Battista Camuccini, "Ariccia. La Porta Napoletana con Palazzo Chigi," ca. 1840-45. Oil on canvas.

Selling to a private collector for around €12 million to €15 million ($13.5 million–$16.9 million), likely the highest sale price at the fair so far, was Vincent van Gogh's Paysanne devant une chaumière (Peasant Woman in front of a Farmhouse) (1885). London-based Dickinson offered the work which had once been bought for £4 at a farm sale in 1967 and shortly thereafter for £45 at a London junk shop. 

Shibunkaku (Stand 166) also reported sales to institutions – the gallery sold two handscrolls, one Chinese from the Ching dynasty, One Hundred Children, by Xu Yanghong, from the collection of Watanabe Gentai  (1748 – 1822), and the other Japanese version from 1804, Copy of Xu Yanghong’s One Hundred Children, both to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Thomas Struth (Germany, 1954) Alice, Cern, Saint Genis-Pouilly. Inkjet print, 277.1 x 236.4 cm (109 x 93 in.) Signed on the reverse, edition of 6 2019.

Sales continued in TEFAF Paintings – new exhibitor Nicolás Cortés Gallery (Stand 369) sold seven works during opening day, including the wings of an altarpiece, depicting Saint Jerome and Saint Clare, which had an asking price of €3 million. The wings of an altarpiece were acquired by a private foundation in the Low countries.

UK based Tomasso Brothers Fine Art (Stand 304) reported good sales during the opening days, with a bronze of Young Lucius Verus (130 – 169 AD), from the first quarter of the 16th century, selling for in the region of €950,000, and a 17th century, Italian Bust of a Moor, selling for in the region of €375,000.

TEFAF Modern Art included 4 new exhibitors this year, including Lisson Gallery (Stand 441) who sold Dialogue, 2019, acrylic on canvas, by Lee Ufan (b.1936), for US$500,000; Morning Song, 2020, oil on linen, by Stanley Whitney (b.1946) for US$200,000; and Untitled, 1987, glass microspheres in acrylic on canvas, by Mary Corse (b.1945) for US$550,000.

“We have sent a very positive signal to the art world. The two first opening days had a fantastic atmosphere and although we were missing some overseas clients, we were overwhelmed by the quality of the visitors especially the European, they were in a very good mood and buying,” said Georg Laue, exhibitor and Chairman of Antiques for TEFAF.

Mathias Bengtsson (Copenhagen, 1971) Growth Table. Solid maple wood, 163 x 66 x 76 cm (64.2 x 26 x 29.9 in.) 2017.

Further sales included:
- TEFAF Ancient Art – Charles Ede (Stand 426). Greek bi-lingual kylix, c.530 BC, to a private collector for £96,000.
- TEFAF Antiques - Symbolic & Chase (Stand 247). A number of sales were reported during the opening days, including a carved ruby, emerald and diamond elephant brooch, 1938, by René Boivin (1864 - 1917); a pair of micro mosaic, green turquoise, and diamond ear clips by Vamgard; and an extraordinary JAR necklace set with 103-carat diamond centre.
- TEFAF Design – Galerie Maria Wettergren (Stand 624). Several significant sales reported including Rondo, 2005 – 2008, crafted from wood, iron wire and paper pulp, by Gjertrud Hals (b.1948); and Light Object, 2018, cypress and LED, by Ane Lykke.
- TEFAF Paintings - Antonacci Lapiccirella Fine Art (Stand 334) sold 10 works by Giovanni Battista Camuccini (1819 - 1904) during the opening days, all depicting countryside views around Rome. The paintings went to various buyers, including an American museum who bought two of the 10. The gallery also sold four other paintings: Capri, Monte Solaro at Sunset by Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach, two unpublished oils by Anton Sminck Pitloo and a very intense portrait on paper by Ernest Nepo.

- TEFAF Showcase – Caretto & Occhinegro (Stand 5). The preaching of Jesus on Lake Tiberias, 1631, oil on panel, by Frans Francken II (1581 – 1642)  

- TEFAF Showcase – TAFETA (Stand 3). Baga Nimba (Wood-Chrome), 2019, by Niyi Olagunju (b.1981), priced at £30,000; and Tribal Marks Series III #52, 2019, charcoal and pastel drawing by Babajide Olatunji (b.1989), priced at £12,500.
- TEFAF Tribal Art – Bernard De Grunne (Stand 619). Banda Statue, from the Mobaye Region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, c.1820 - 1880
- TEFAF Works on Paper – Galleri K (Stand 718). James Bond Island Triptych, 2007, C-print face-mounted to Plexiglas in artists frame, by Andreas Gursky (b.1955), and Alice CERN, 2019, Inkjet print, by Thomas Struth (b.1954).

Arnaldo Pomodoro, Large Bas-relief for the Italian Embassy in Tokyo, 1966.


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