A good fair with strong sales is the word for TEFAF 2015 as it proves to show growth in many different areas. Contemporary and Modern art has positively taken hold at the fair this year, with a growing emphasis on this sector of the market. Many London art dealers were prominent at the fair displaying well presented stands.
Buyers who have come from every major museum in the world and international private collectors made the annual pilgrimage by air, road and rail from all corners of the globe. Rare and beautiful objects that were fresh to the market sold quickly and many conversations were initiated that are likely to lead to sales in the weeks and months after the Fair has closed. With many major international dealers doing a large percentage of their annual turnover at the Fair, the TEFAF effect reverberates through the entire market.
The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam was active throughout TEFAF and bought a number of items in different sections of the Fair including The Breach of the Sint Anthonis Dijk at Houtewael (near Amsterdam), after the night of 5th March, 1651, by Jan Asselijn (after 1610-1652), signed with monogram from Haboldt/Pictura (stand 434). In contrast, the museum also bought a vase in brass mount with coloured glass, designed and executed by Wiener Kunstgewerbeschule, circa 1900, from Bel etage (stand 606).
In TEFAF Paintings, Lowell Libson Ltd (stand 370) was delighted to sell his catalogue piece and one of the highlights of his stand; a remarkable, rediscovered history painting, entitled Dionysius Areopagite, a Nobleman of Athens and Disciple of St Paul, oil on canvas, c. 1772 by Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA (1723-1792), which sold to a private collector and had an asking price of 950k pounds sterling. A small and very charming oil on paper work, Still Life with Mice and Vine Leaves by Lucas Luce (1575-1661) was sold by Adam Williams Fine Art Ltd (stand 354) to an English collector who normally buys modern art, demonstrating TEFAF’s ability to provide a platform for collectors who are interested in exploring new fields.
Robilant + Voena, London-Milan (stand 384) provides an excellent example of an Old Master dealer that now shows an eclectic mix of modern pieces alongside older works. They sold one of their most highly priced pictures, Andy Warhol’s Knives, 1981-82, executed in synthetic polymer and silkscreen on canvas and blown up from a Polaroid taken by the artist to a European private collector for an asking price of 3.2m US dollars.
A unique work (plus one AP) by Wolfgang Tillmans, Paper Drop (Shadow), 2006 was one of the sales of large-scale photographic work on the stand of Galleri K (stand 717), which had an asking price of 95k euros. A stalwart of TEFAF Modern, Galerie Thomas (stand 442) was happy to report the sale of Blumengarten by Emil Nolde to a European private collector for a price in the region of 1m euros.
Night Fishing continued to attract visitors, compliments and sales, including that of the monumental bronze sculpture entitled, Runner by Tony Cragg, which was being shown byBuchmann Galerie (stand NF08). 20th-century design is an increasingly important collecting field and strong sales in TEFAF Design reflected this trend. Galerie Eric Philippe(stand 608) sold his catalogue piece, a signed, white and pink lacquer sideboard with patinated bronze handles by Carl Malmsten, circa 1925 while Yves Macaux (stand 603) was pleased to sell a Hanging Chandelier, 1905, in brass, fabric and glass by Gustave Serrurier-Bovy (1858-1910).
In many ways, the decorative arts proved to be the star turn of TEFAF 2015. There was great interest and strong sales reported across a wide range of different disciplines.Aveline & Christophe de Quénetain (stand 218) sold, amongst other things, a commode with marquetry by Thomas Hache (1664-1747), cabinetmaker to Duke Louis d’Orleans, which was inspired by Cornelis Dusart, Grenoble c. 1710-1715. London silver specialists,Koopman Rare Art (stand 152) reported an excellent fair and sales included a royal set of four silver gilt wine coasters by Paul Storr, London 1814, which had an asking price of 300k pounds sterling. A. Aardewerk Antiquairs Juwelier (240) took ten years to put together a remarkable collection of miniature pieces, all made in Amsterdam in the 18th century complemented by some from the 17th century, to create a table laid for six with a rare complete set of cutlery, cruet, six chairs, a wall fountain and a chandelier and were pleased to sell the entire ensemble to an American private collector.
Sales on the stand of Jorge Welsh Oriental Porcelain and Works of Art (stand 210) included a pair of large Chinese export ‘soldier’ vases painted in underglaze cobalt blue and enamels from the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period (1730-1795), which sold to a European private collector for a six figure sum. Gregg Baker Asian Art (stand 261), a specialist in Japanese screens, sold a number of works including a furosaki paper screen painted in ink and colour on gold ground with blue and white Kakitsubata (iris) from the 20th century, Taisho/Shōwa period to a new Dutch collector.
An unusually small and delicately carved 17th-century articulated boxwood mannequin was one of the sales reported by Kunstkammer Georg Laue (stand 206). Lucas Ratton (stand 168), who originally came to TEFAF as a Showcase exhibitor, was very happy with his sales, which included the most important piece on his stand, a late 19th-century wood and metal Fang, Gabon, from the Arman collection, to a private buyer. An early 18th-century gilt bronze seated Buddha with traces of paint was sold by Rossi & Rossi (stand 166), which had an asking price of 350k US dollars to an existing Asian client. The gallery commented that, “TEFAF once again has proved to be the Fair that attracts the most serious art collectors from all over the world”. Also representing the human form was the Xipe Totec, Our Lord the Flayed One, on the stand of the Merrin Gallery (stand 432): this extraordinary terracotta work from southern Veracruz, Mexico was made in the Late Classic-Postclassic Period, 600-1200 AD and sold to a private collector.
Works on paper proved to be popular with both private and museum collectors with E.H. Ariëns Kappers (stand 710) reporting sales to a number of institutions including the Museum of Fine Art Boston, the British Museum, Minneapolis Museum and The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as well as conservators from a number of countries buying for their own private collections. Daniel Crouch Rare Books (stand 702) sold an exceptionally fine first Dutch text edition of Blaeu’s great work on the towns of The Netherlands by Willem and Johannes Blaeu,1649 while a Dupont book of hours in Latin and French, illuminated by the workshop of the Master of the Echevinage of Rouen, 1475 was sold by Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG (stand 118).
TEFAF 2015 continues through today, Sunday 22 March. TEFAF 2016 will take place from 11-20 March at the MECC, Maastricht.