Sunday, October 30, 2016

TEFAF New York

TEFAF, The European Fine Art Fair, was established in The Netherlands in 1988 by a group of art dealers under the umbrella of The European Art Foundation.  It takes place in Maastricht, The Netherlands on the German and Belgian border and not far from France.  This year it had an added venue—New York City. 

TEFAF is a fair that combines antiquities, old master paintings and drawings with European and Asian decorative arts as well as modern and contemporary art.  If you wanted to meet most of the art world you needed to show up in Maastricht every March.  I have written about it several times in years past but not in the last two.  Just enter TEFAF into the search engine on my blog  and you can read more.

TEFAF’s organizers decided, however, since art sales weakened everywhere with the recent recession and the United States has always been thought to be the holy grail for the art market they would take advantage of an opportunity.  There were two New York fairs that aspired to imitate TEFAF organized by Haughton International Fairs and Artvest.  The Haughton fair has now been bought out by TEFAF and Artvest in partnership.   They are replacing the Art & Antiques fair formerly organized by Haughton International Fairs and the Spring Masters fair previously organized by Artvest.  The first, presenting historical art took place last week and the next in May will concentrate on modern and contemporary.

 I regret not being there, but the coverage is excellent and, knowing many of the players, I cannot resist this temptation to write about it.  TEFAF’s exhibit hall in Maastricht accommodates 270 exhibitors from 20 countries but the far smaller New York Armory can hold only 94 exhibitors from 13 countries of the 300 applications they received.  In articles written for the New York Times by Judith Dobrzynski, she found that many collectors in this country did not know about the European Fair and says that the TEFAF organizers hope that the New York fairs will draw people to Maastrcht in March.

Why is TEFAF different from all other fairs?  Particularly, in the old master and antiques categories TEFAF distinguishes itself in that they always have a committee of prominent experts including museum curators vetting all the material submitted for sale.  This gives the public an extra degree of confidence in what they are buying.  The other major inducement is presentation.  Galleries can end up paying up to $250,000 dollars after they are finished with expenses of shipping, lodging and installation of their booth.   Though that may be unusual $100,000 is not.  Installation can also give confidence and highlight what should be especially noted in a booth helping to justify prices of prime works of art.  The Richard Feigen Gallery in New York asked Juan Pablo Molyneux, the Chilean interior designer to the wealthy, to do up his booth.  Axel Vervoordt, Belgian dealer and noted designer in his own right created his own space.  Here first is the Feigen booth and then Vervoordt’s.

My daughter went to school with Anderson Cooper so I have been interested in him beyond his newscasts.  I did not know he had an interest in art but, being the son of Gloria Vanderbilt, I guess that is not too surprising.  He bought an Old Master painting on opening night.  I happened to have seen it in the Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition “Unfinished Thoughts Left Visible”.   It is an unfinished painting by Anton Raphael Mengs, “Portrait of Mariana de Silva y Sarmiento, Duquesa de Huescar (1775). Here is an image of Anderson Cooper at TEFAF, New York and of his newly acquired painting.

 Credit: Art News by Maximiliano Duron
Courtesy of the Met Breuer Museum

In Martha Schwendener New York Times’ article about the fair she mentions the combined booth of 3 dealers Julius Boehler and Georg Laue from Munich and Blumka Gallery, New York.  They have put together a Wunderkammer, a format made famous by the Green Vaults in Dresden for the display of  small Renaissance treasures in silver, gold and precious stones.  The dealers based theirs on a painting by Georg Hinz  (1630/31-16880 in the Hamburger Kunsthalle.

Hopefully I will be able to go personally next year and report on this very special art event.

1 comment:

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