The opening of TEFAF Maastricht, yesterday is always an event of great importance in the fine art calendar. Considered the world’s greatest art and antiques fair, it showcases the best works of art from 7.000 years of history currently on the market. TEFAF always uncovers the limited number of important objects that collectors chase and desire.
Three works by Damien Hirst can be seen on the stand of Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, London and Leeds (stand 165) – they are Black Sheep with Golden Horns, 2009, The Dance, 2005-6, and Styx, 2013. The collaboration between the Tomasso Brothers and Damien Hirst is their first and reflects a relationship that stretches back to childhood. As Dino Tomasso says, ‘Here we are two old friends from Leeds – one dealing in sculpture and the other creating it – reunited at TEFAF’. Galerie Henze & Ketterer, Wichtrach and Bern (stand 446) are showing a still-life by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) that is entirely new to the market. The painting is particularly interesting because the figures it depicts are wooden sculptures made by the artist. Sperone Westwater, New York (stand 502) is showing a sculpture by Jean Tinguely (1925-1991) entitled Radio No. 1, 1960 that was previously in the collection of Robert Rauschenberg. Another work from the 1960s is a synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen work entitled Sidney Janis, 1967, by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) forms one of the highlights on the stand of Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (stand 445). Bill Viola’s extraordinary metaphysical works have become familiar to the TEFAF audience in recent years and this year, Kukje Gallery, Seoul (stand 523) will be displaying a colour video on plasma screen mounted on wall with speakers entitled The Last Angel, 2002, by Bill Viola. A number of exhibitors have created exhibitions for the TEFAF 2014. Among these are Jean-François Heim, Basel (stand 310) and Galerie Patrice Trigano (stand 527) who have both created an exhibition devoted to the female form entitled Féminin Féminin; Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich (stand 206) who is presenting an impressive collection of forty pieces of 16th- and 17th- century filigree glass from Venice and Hamiltons Gallery, London (stand 524) who is showcasing the photography and design of Carlo Mollino, in an exhibition devoted to his polaroid and C-print photographs from the 50s and 60s alongside two of Mollino’s most recognizable masterpieces – the Lattes Chair and the Copenhagen Chair.
Photography is an important element in this section and Galerie Johannes Faber, Vienna (stand 716) is exhibiting a portfolio entitled Spuk (Haunting) by Germaine Krull (1897-1985). The exhibited portfolio, created in 1923, is the only known copy: it consists of eight vintage silver print images of the artists sister, Berthe at the age of seventeen. Galerie K, Oslo (stand 713) brings the section up-to date with a large format work by Thomas Struth entitled Seamless Tube Production.
The Design section was launched at TEFAF in 2009 and this year the TEFAF Art Symposium is devoted to trends on 20th-century design. A chair hewn from oak and designed for ‘Le Arti decorative internazionali del nuovo secolo’ exhibition in Turin,1902 by Carlo Bugatti is being shown by Galerie Ulrich Fiedler, Berlin (stand 601). Galerie Dansk Mobelkunst, Copenhagen (stand 600) is showing a teak and black leather chair, entitled Chieftan Chair, by Finn Juhl (1912-1989) and Galerie DOWNTOWN François Laffanour, Paris (stand 605) is showing a circular conference table made from teak and designed by Pierre Jeanneret as a special commission for the Assembly and Administrative buildings in the city of Chandigarh, India. One of the earliest works in this year’s Paper section is a chiaroscuro woodcut by Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617) depicting a cliff overlooking the seashore, which is being shown by E.H Ariëns Kappers, Amsterdam (stand 707) and Didier Ltd of London showing a wide selection of jewellery created by 20th century modern artists like Picasso, Braque and Calder.
The old master, Impressionist and modern painting section at TEFAF has an unrivalled international reputation, which annually attracts the top private and institutional collectors to the Fair. One of the highlights on the stand of Moretti, Florence, London and New York (stand 352), is an exceptionally fine altarpiece by the Master of St. Martino alla Palma, one of the heirs to Giotto, who worked under Bernardo Daddi, c. 1315. This small triptych, which depicts the Madonna between two saints, is remarkable both for its condition and the quality of the painting. Of all the subjects that emanated from the studio of Lucas Cranach the Elder and his son, it was the seductive female nude that most captivated their wealthy noble patrons. Painted some time after 1537 by Cranach the Younger (1515-1586), the Lucretia exhibited on the stand of the Weiss Gallery, London (stand 350) is amongst the most arresting in the genre. Her entrancing blue eyes and small, precise mouth are typical of the Cranach idealisation of female beauty. The Assumption of the Virgin Mary by Guido Reni (1575-1642) is a recently rediscovered but much recorded early work that can be seen on the stand of Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd, London (stand 382). This important work on copper exhibits all the perfection of technique and refined, ethereal elegance for which Guido Reni is so admired. Robilant +Voena, London and Milan (stand 384) will be showing, amongst other works, St. Peter, penitent, by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri called Guercino (1591-1666). A marvellous double portrait of Sir George Villiers and Lady Catherine Manners as Adonis and Venus by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), dating from late 1620 to early 1621 is being shown by David Koetser Gallery. The Matthiesen Gallery, London (stand 381) is showing a double-sided oil-sketch by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863). Recto shows a brown horse facing left while verso shows brush sketches of a man’s head with a turban, a horse’s head and hindquarters. Delacroix was fascinated by animals, in particular horses, both alone and as part of larger compositions. In his early career he drew and painted detailed anatomical studies and sketches in which the horse dominates. Moulin de la Gallette is a ‘painting that has everything’, says James Roundell of Dickinson, London (stand 402). Painted by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) in Paris during a hugely important period in van Gogh’s life when he changed from painting somber scenes of Dutch peasant life to producing brilliantly-coloured Post-Impressionist landscapes, this picture was last exhibited in public in 1965 and is one of only two of his series of paintings depicting the windmills of Montmartre still in private hands. Also on Dickinson’s stand is a pair of clogs by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), which were made in 1890. Carved shortly before his first trip to Tahiti, in imitation of the clogs worn by the Breton people, Gauguin wore this pair not only in Pont-Aven but also in Paris, where, Charles Morice, his early biographer noted, ‘he [Gauguin] caused a sensation by wearing Breton sabots’.
The Antiques section at TEFAF is the largest and most varied in the Fair providing a showcase for everything from ancient to modern and across all continents. One of the undoubted highlights of this section is a previously unknown Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) dish. Exhibited by Littleton & Hennessy Asian Art Ltd, London and New York (stand 269), this exceptionally rare foliate rim dish decorated in white slip with relief dragon and clouds on a cobalt-blue glaze is one of only three known examples: the other two being in museum collections. Dr Jörn Günther Rare Books, Stalden (stand 118) is exhibiting a Biblia Latina – The Bible of Aulne Abbey, which was made in Northern France or the Southern Netherlands, c. 1240-1250. The number, size and quality of the illustrations, which were created by two distinct artists, both known for their skill and originality, make this Bible a remarkable example of its kind. An exquisite mid-15th-century alabaster with original gilding and traces of polychrome representing St. Anne with the Virgin and Child from the Southern Netherlands is one of the highlights on the stand of Julius Böhler, Starnberg (stand 212). A large, silver gilt cup and cover with ornate Cyrillic lettering on the upper rim that was presented by Peter the Great to an English merchant can be found on the stand of Otto von Mitzlaff, Wächtersbach (stand 131). This remarkable example of Renaissance workmanship bears the maker’s mark of Gillis von Sibricht (Sibergh), Cologne 1570/80. A further connection with Peter the Great can be found in a pair of sapphire and diamond dress ornaments in the form of cornflowers and wheat ears that come from a set of twenty that were made for Empress Elizabeth Petrovna (1709-1761), daughter of Peter the Great and his second wife Catherine I that are being presented for sale by Wartski, London (stand 242). These dress ornaments were part of the Russian Crown jewels. A set of gold, crystal and enamelled buttons and a jewel recovered from the Spanish Galleon Concepción can be seen on the stand of Deborah Elivra, Oropesa del Mar (stand 267). The galleon originally set sail from Havana on September 20th, 1641 as part of a 21-ship fleet, loaded with one of the richest cargoes ever to embark from the New World. Having survived a hurricane, the Concepción ran aground on a reef just North of the Dominican Republic. This set of jewels was found along with 3000 silver coins, a Ming jar and ambergris in an almost obliterated chest in 1993, when the wreck was discovered on what is now known as the Silver Bank. A finely woven wool and silk tapestry from the Beauvais Manufactory, c. 1700 – 1710 depicting The Offering to Pan from the series Grotesque à Fond Jaune is one of the highlights on the stand of Galerie Chevalier, Paris (stand 168). Koopman Rare Art, London (stand 152) is delighted to present The Gladstone dinner service, which is the most complete and largest surviving service by the English silver maker, Paul Storr. Dating from 1824, the service was presented to Sir John Gladstone, father of the British Prime Minister, William Gladstone, by the people of Liverpool, where he was a successful merchant and generous benefactor. There are a number of ancient objects at the Fair. Ben Janssens, London (stand 202) is exhibiting a bronze ritual pouring vessel, he, in the form of a winged animal from Eastern Zhou, China, Warring States Period, 475-221 BC. The oldest object at the Fair, a large Egyptian black basalt vase with two small pierced handles, dating from the Predynastic Period (Naqada I), first half of the 4th millennium BC, is being exhibited by Sycomore Ancient Art, Geneva (stand 436). Cahn International, Münchenstein (stand 422) is showing a life-sized torso of a man in a frontal position with a muscular torso from North-western Arabia from 4th-3rd century BC while Rupert Wace Ancient Art, London (stand 421) is exhibiting a black-figure amphora, c. 515-500 BC, which recently has its attribution to the Rycroft painter confirmed.
The Fair is full of fantastic objects of astonishing quality some of which are discoveries, others have never previously been on the market and many of which are made extraordinary by their rarity and beauty. TEFAF Maastricht takes place at the MECC Maastricht from 14-23 March 2014.