After years of wanting to come to Maastricht for Tefaf, I finally made it in 2016. And I was very glad to do so before its ” expansions ” to New York. What a difference feel from the insanity that pervades other art fairs, Art Basel in Miami for example.What a focus on the artworks rather than the outfits of the viewers or the selfies with celebrities. Perhaps the fastest way to convey the difference is that at Maastricht within the fair there are fabulous and fancy eating establishments. I counted eleven ranging from the fanciest which I believe to be the Restaurant La Concorde to a Tapas Bar. There were no celebrities on view and the fashion quota was minor. The art was spectacular. T
To my eyes, the fair is a beautifully curated assembly of old and modern masters with an emphasis on Dutch and Italian masters to which a mix of highly curated precious objects one might find at the Armory Show in New York, FIAC, or the Paris Biennale and a walk through top end jewelry stores have been added. The various alleys even had the names of high rent streets of New York and Europe- Fifth Avenue, Bond St, Faubourg St Honore. The design section seems like an overthought as does much of the contemporary.
Although it seemed a shame to me that the fair was divided into sections, Painting, Antiques, Modern, Design,Classical Antiquities, La Haute Joaillerie- I quite prefer the Italian esthetic of mixing styles and seeing how works hold up against each other- the display did help you figure out where you were on the map. It also enabled the collectors who seemed very focused and somewhat more one dimensional that I had expected to not have to waste there time looking at periods of work they did not care for. There is a theory that because Maastricht is difficult of access the collectors are more serious. They may be more serious but the difficulty of access is grossly overstated. Brussels is an hour and a half away as is Düsseldorf. Amsterdam, surprisingly to me who never looks at a map rather further. Trains, cars and taxis are all viable options.
The fair draws 75,000 visitors, has 270 dealers and is massive. Perhaps the size of the various objects, including miniature netsuke and Faberge carved animals, as well as the span of history covered force one to slow down and leisurely admire the works on view.
Fortunately for those with time, the fair runs far longer than those in the USA.
Caylus Madrid has the complete set of eight paintings by Jacob de Backer made for the Marquis de Alfarras for the Palace of the Labyrinth of Horta, Barcelona Spain
Picture of grammar one of the paintings
Agnew’s a small Van Dyck
Conversation overheard- if you owned a Franz Hall’s– oh but you do…
De Jonkheere- Paris and Geneva Lucas Cranach the Younger, Abel Grimmer, Peter Brueghel the Younger and of course a Bosch
at Carlo Orsi Milan London a rather gruesome Neapolitan wax model of St John the Baptist’s head which I did not photograph and a lovely Jan Brueghel the Elder a wooded landscape with St. John the Baptist
And an Alberto Burri at Tornabuoni Arte Florence
Pearl Lam held court surrounded by a bevy of beauties. She had the best outfits….
Kugel a beautiful and complete chess set with a decor of chinoiserie S Augsburg and Dresden circa 1715
Heribert Tenschert Manuscripts Switzerland had a number of fabulous
Van Gelderland Traditional Indian Folk Jewellery
Jorge Welsh London Lisboa interesting pair of Painted Nodding Head Figures-,description did not state if like bobble head dolls they actually nod
A la Vieille Russie a wonderful series of Faberge carved animals and a gorgeous Novgorod Merchant
And that is all for day 1….. Quite a treat