Maastricht Fair Offers 1.3b Dollar Art Feeding Frenzy

Britain benefits from ‘Museum Where Everything Is For Sale’ fair

TEFAF Maastricht, has opened to the public and by all accounts it is off to a good start. Often described as a “museum where everything is for sale”, the event welcomed 10,000 visitors at the preview yesterday.The fair was designed by Tom Postma, this year, who also creates the floor plan and architectural detailing for both  Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach. He has given a fresh new look to the the 25-year-old event, which is considered to be the most prestigious art fair of its kind.

The eclectic offerings on sale range from Oriental ceramics to Old Master and contemporary paintings with antiquities  photography,modern design,Asian and Tribal art, ceramics, illuminated manuscripts, not to leave out the rare jewels, thrown in for good measure. This years highlights include a necklace once owned by Emperor Maximilian II’s wife, an antique cabinet and mechanical organ playing Beethoven’s “Battle Symphony,” a painting of the Madonna and Child once owned by Napoleon III and an 18k gold bracelet once owned by Elizabeth Taylor on offer from Didier Antiques of London. This makes up only a fraction of the one billion euros’ $1.3 billion (£827.8 million pounds) worth of artefacts on view and on sale at the fair. Two dimensional artist’s  work at the fair include, Pablo Picasso, Leger, Miro, Matisse,Van Gogh and Gustav Klimt. They are featured along with three D works by Henry Moore, Alexander Calder and Joan Miro. with jewellery designed by Picasso, Braque,Leger and Arp. A BMW Le Mans racer decorated by Alexander Calder for Art Cars, will also be on show.
English dealers showing at the fair are, Ben Brown Fine Arts  Haunch of Venison  Connaught Brown. , London UK  The Fine Art Society Thomas Gibson Fine Art, The Mayor Gallery, Richard Nagy Ltd, Osborne Samuel, Waterhouse & Dodd, William Weston Gallery Ltd and Didier Antiques of Kensington Church Street.

The Antiques Trade Gazette reported that,The Weiss Gallery of London who are portrait specialists,sold “The Ditchley Henry VIII”, for £2.5m to a European collector. The 7ft 7in x 4ft 11in (2.31m x 1.5m) oil on canvas, c.1600-1610, is one of a number of copies of the famous Holbein portrait.

Other sales for London dealers included an ancient Hellenistic Greek bronze anatomical cuirass c.300-400BC sold by Peter Finer for a six figure sum” and a Crucifixion by Sir Peter Paul Rubens sold by Bernheimer-Colnaghi to the Van Otterloo Collection with an asking price of €3.5m. Meanwhile the London, New York and Hong Kong dealer Littleton & Hennessy quickly attracted a reserve from a US collector for a 14th or 15th century Longquan celadon-glazed meiping vase and cover priced at €3.2m. Koopman Rare Art  had two major sales on the first day, including ‘The Walpole Inkstand’ the first of two treasury inkstands ordered by Sir Robert Walpole from Paul De Lamerie, this sold to a private collector for around the asking price of $5m. The dealer also sold a pair of George II candelabra by George Wickes, once belonging to the 20th Earl of Kildare, to a private collector at £1.75m.

Celebrating its silver jubilee, the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), runs from Mar. 16 – 25, 2012, at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre.

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