Every Spring, in mid-March, the small town of Maastricht in the southern Netherlands comes alive as 280 exhibitors proffer their wares at The European Fine Art Fair. This year was a very, very good fair and the quality of the modern and contemporary works was as good as I can remember in ten years of visits. Dealers were happy with the results and I gather that some dealers (in this supposed softening of the market) had their best TEFAF ever. My highlights were the following stands:
Dickinson had a very good year and their stand was rich with market fresh Impressionist and Modern works. A great wall to the front of the booth exhibited three marvellous works on paper by Schiele, Klee and a Matisse cut-out (4m Euros). All the works were priced (on wall labels) which made a welcome change from the opaque world of most old-master dealers.
Richard Green had the most stunning Henri Martin (Collioure) and a seminal Francis Picabia from his early years although the choice of Boudin show seemed odd given his current market weakness. I still think they are the best gallery for solid, mid-market Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art in the world. Up to 1m USD no other gallery comes close in terms of quality.
Talabardon et Gautier showed a rediscovered Rembrandt on their stand which was a highlight of the Old Masters section – simply stunning in detail and it sold immediately for an undisclosed sum.
Offer Waterman exhibited a terrific Kitaj and an exceptional little Bomberg painting – by far the best of the Modern British paintings on display.
Robert Landau always has a great booth – he bought the Paul Delvaux for 10m USD in London in February and it was on his stand for all to admire. The list price was said to be north of 20m USD.
Howard Shaw at Hammer Galleries produced a wonderful Matisse/Picasso show for TEFAF. The sheer quantity of works of top class is astonishing and I am so glad that he was given a corner booth. It is always a superb show.
Karsten Greve had a marvellous stand and was the best of the Contemporary section. I look forward to seeing them at Basel in June. Often the conservative taste of TEFAF does not suit dealers of Contemporary work but KG gets the balance just right.
Ben Janssens had a new, more open, position and it improved the look of the stand no end. Janssens sold over 90 pieces at TEFAF because he prices correctly and always has an eclectic stock with a good variety of price ranges.
TEFAF is always worth a visit and hope to see you in 2017! As we always recommend when buying or selling: use an advisor, buy slowly (and methodically) and always negotiate.