See What Treasures Await at TEFAF 2017 in Maastricht
Dealers bring the cream of the crop to Maastricht.
This week, dealers, collectors, and connoisseurs from all over the world are set to descend on Maastricht, a small town in the south of Holland, nestled between the Belgian and German borders, for the annual extravaganza that is known as TEFAF. The vernissage and VIP preview will be held Thursday March 9; the fair officially opens on March 10 and continues through March 19 at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre.
The fair, now in its 30th year, is famous for its strict vetting standards—a committee must approve every single object on view—and is widely considered the premiere fair in the world for art and antiquities, with some 275 exhibitors across eight sections including antiques, ancient art, design, haute joallerie, Modern, paintings, paper, and showcase, the latter of which is an initiative aimed at allowing emerging dealers a chance to show here.
For the third consecutive year—following two wildly popular editions—the fair features a curated and specially themed contemporary art section. This year’s iteration is titled “La Grande Horizontale,” and is curated by Penelope Curtis, director of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, Portugal.
The selected group of galleries in this section will show works by contemporary artists that focus on the reclining, or recumbent figure, a popular theme throughout art history. Among some of the participating galleries and artists are Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Thomas Schütte, Sadie Murdoch, Charlotte Dumas, Suchan Kinoshita, and Ettore Spalletti.
From antiquities to tapestries, rare books and maps, haute jewelry and cutting edge contemporary art, artnet News talked to top dealers about some of the rarest, top-flight works they are bringing to this year’s fair.
Belgian dealer Axel Vervoordt is famous for his bold juxtapositions that present ancient and historically important work alongside more modern and contemporary pieces.
This year, the gallery is presenting archaeological highlights including a sandstone head of Senenmut from the New Kingdom, XVIIIth Dynasty, circa 1479–1458 BC. This and other antiquities will be shown alongside work by artists such as El Anatsui and Yun Hyong Keun.
London dealer Richard Green is bringing this later Marc Chagall painting, Le grand bouquet, dated 1978, which has an asking price around $3.5 million. The canvas “is transitional between the traditional and the Modern, which captures the spirit of TEFAF,” said director Jonathan Green. He described the work as having “the essence of joie-de-vivre,” and pointed out the “rapturous heart-shaped arrangement of roses and sunflowers rising above the beautiful landscape of Vence.”
The gallery is also bringing a group of paintings that depict the pleasures and luxuries of life in 17th-century Netherlands, complete with a themed room serving as the backdrop for the booth.
Moss told artnet News that relatively few paintings by the artist survive, and those that do are in museum collections. The scroll depicts a tranquil landscape with two cranes—symbols of long life and other-worldliness. This rare gem has an asking price of $1.5 million.
London-based Tomasso Brothers is bringing the earliest known work and only surviving wood carving by Giambologna (1529–1608), a signed and dedicated statuette depicting the Roman general and politician Julius Caesar. “Caesar stands in a classical nude pose, but is modeled using fine, typically Northern European woodcarving techniques, representing a wonderful marriage of two major artistic traditions by one of Europe’s greatest sculptors,” according to a statement from the gallery.
The piece has an asking price of €1.5 million ($1.58 million), and it’s well worth it, according to director Dino Tomasso: “This exquisite work is significant in so many ways: for the skillful carving, its early date, the fact it is signed and dedicated— we even know the name of the recipient: Bernado Vecchietti, a financier, jewel-expert and patron of the arts in Florence, and the date he received it, 1551. The most miraculous aspect of this piece is that it is the only surviving sculpture in wood by Giambologna, which makes it unique.”
London’s Mullany Haute Epoque Fine Art has previously shown at the Brussels Antique Fair, La Biennale Paris, and the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato di Firenze, but this year marks its TEFAF Maastricht debut.
“We have been preparing for eight months for TEFAF, working with French based architects and interior designers,” co-owner and director Nicholas Mullany told artnet News. “Our stand will replicate a medieval cloister designed to create a Gothic atmosphere.”
Along with a 16th-century wool and silk Flemish tapestry, with an asking price of about €350,000 ($370,000), the gallery is showing a carved ivory relief holy water font, thought to have been made for private devotion, (Italy, early 17th century), with an asking price of €40,000 ($42,000). Also on view is a statue, Enthroned Virgin and Child, made of boxwood and dating from the first half of the 14th century.
London Old Master dealer Johnny Van Haeften is bringing a pair of 17th-century portraits by Frans Hals of “a handsome couple,” according to a gallery statement.
“In all probability, the portraits were commissioned to mark the couple’s marriage, since they conform to the conventional format for life-size pendants of the married couples of the period,” according to the gallery. “Despite the austerity of their costumes, the sitters display a remarkable warmth and directness,” that reflects Hals’ inimitable technique.
Asked if the buyer must take both man and wife, dealer Johnny Van Haeften told artnet News: “They really have to stay as a pair: it would be a shame to divorce them after nearly 400 years!”. Together, they are priced at £12 million.
Second-time exhibitors Verdura and Belperron plan to show both new and vintage jewelry that highlight each house’s archival designs from the late 1930s and ’40s. Highlights from Verdura include jewels from its “Out of this World” collection, which celebrates its designer Duke Fulco di Verdura’s 1941 collaboration with Salvador Dalí. It debuted 74 years ago at the Museum of Modern Art as part of a Dali exhibition.
Belperron will debut its first anniversary collection from Suzanne Belperron’s early career when she was working in Paris in the 1930s. The Verdura platinum, Ceylon sapphire, diamond, and turquoise “Raja” ring pictured above has an asking price of $185,000.
Also exhibiting rare, high-end jewelry is Paris dealer Veronique Bamps. Among the highlights is a Cartier tiger bracelet in yellow gold set with yellow diamonds and onyx, with an asking price of €950,000 ($1 million).
Daniel Crouch Rare Books of New York and London is bringing a treasure trove of fascinating historical material, including an atlas of England and Wales, by Christopher Saxton, London, (1579), with an asking price of £185,000 ($195,000); and maps including Nova et Accurata Totius Europae Tabula, by Frederick de Wit, Amsterdam, (1700), priced at £60,000 ($63,000); and Novum ac magnum theatrum urbium Belgicae, Willem and Johannes Blaeu, Amsterdam (1649), priced at £100,000 ($105,000).
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