Posted by: Bob Fisher | May 20, 2009

An Expanded Artistic Frame of Reference at the European Fine Arts Fair

TEFAF: A once in a lifetime experience

Studies show that tourism is a primary source of economic wealth at the most fundamental community level. And arts institutions and artists’ communities throughout the world are usually the first windows through which the traveller experiences the essence of a culture, whether it be local, regional, national, or even global.

One of the foundation stones of human civilization, the arts transcend national borders. Through this medium we reaffirm the universality of the human condition and of our humanity.

So without any further ado, here’s what you can see at the European Fine Arts Fair


George Nakashima, Conoid Bench from the Rockefeller Japanese House, Pocantico Hills, New York, c1974. Exhibited by Sebastian & Barquet Gallery.

Twentieth century design and applied arts are increasingly popular and for the first time TEFAF Maastricht will have a section entirely dedicated to these stylish modern pieces when it opens at the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre) in the southern Netherlands from March 13 – 22, 2009.

TEFAF Maastricht constantly evolves to reinforce its position as the world’s most influential art and antiques fair and TEFAF Design, as the new section is called, is being introduced to strengthen its appeal in a field which attracts a growing number of collectors, museum curators as well as professional decorators.

Eight of the world’s leading specialist dealers will form TEFAF Design, including a number who have never exhibited at The European Fine Art Fair previously. Among the latter will be Sebastian & Barquet from New York and London, Galerie Eric Philippe from Paris, Galerie Ulrich Fiedler of Berlin, L’Arc en Seine from Paris and Bel Etage Kunsthandel of Vienna.

Sebastian & Barquet was established in the Chelsea district of New York in 2005 and recently opened a second gallery in the heart of London’s art market district in Mayfair. It sees its debut at TEFAF as an important part of its expansion into the European market. The gallery focuses on masterworks of American and European design from the 1940s to the 1960s and stages well-curated, museum-quality exhibitions of established masters whilst simultaneously showcasing the works of lesser known designers. Among the works that it will be showing at TEFAF will be George Nakashima’s 1970s Conoid Bench from the Rockefeller Japanese House, Pocantico Hills, New York, and Paul Evans’s 1972 two door vertical sculpture front cabinet from the Dorsey Reading Collection.

L’Arc en Seine was founded in 1984 by Christian Boutonnet and Rafael Ortiz and now has three galleries alongside the Seine in Paris. It specializes in major Art Deco works and 20th and 21st century ceramic and glass sculpture. The gallery was the first to exhibit works by Pierre Chareau in 1991 prompting the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris to organize a major retrospective of his work the following year. Since the 1990s L’Arc en Seine has also held shows of works by Alberto and Diego Giacometti and Pablo Picasso. Highlights of its stand at TEFAF will include a coffee table by Paul Dupré-Lafon and a black lacquered dinanderie vase by Jean Dunand.

Galerie Ulrich Fiedler was founded in Cologne in 1986 by Ulrich Fiedler and Katharina Evers. It is now based in Berlin and is one of Europe’s most prestigious design specialists having sold many important pieces to international museums. Its exhibits at TEFAF will include an early 20th century ‘Gentleman’s Chair’ designed and executed by Peter Behrens for the dining room of his house in Darmstadt. The whereabouts of the furnishings for the room remained a mystery for many years until they were discovered in the collection of a Berlin dentist in the late 1980s.

Bel Etage Kunsthandel, which exhibits top quality Viennese Jugendstil furniture and works of art, was set up more than 30 years ago by Wolfgang Bauer within sight of the Austrian capital’s opera house. He has tracked down works by many of the most famous designers and architects from this important period. Among the pieces on show at TEFAF will be a 1901 drawing room cabinet designed by Koloman Moser for Dr Hugo Henneberg and his wife Marie. The latter was a leading Viennese art patron who was painted by Gustav Klimt.

Eric Philippe opened his gallery in the center of Paris in 1980 and specializes in European and North American furniture from the 1920s to the 1980s. He publishes an annual catalogue of his gallery exhibitions dedicated to an architect/designer or to an artistic movement. His most recent shows have focused on Paul László, James Mont, The Danish Decorative Arts, and Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings. Among the superb pieces on his stand at TEFAF will be a light oak sofa, upholstered in cream coloured leather, made by the Danish cabinetmaker and designer Frits Henningsen (1889-1965). Philippe will also show examples of Swedish and German design and American modernism.

Beehive lamp by Alvar Aalto, Finland 1950, aluminium and brass, exhibited by Philippe Denys

Long-time TEFAF exhibitors who will take part in the TEFAF Design Section are Kunsthandel Frans Leidelmeijer of Amsterdam, Galerie Downtown-François Laffanour of Paris and Philippe Denys from Brussels. Philippe Denys’s exhibits at TEFAF will include an aluminium and brass Beehive Lamp dating from 1950 by the Finnish designer Alvar Aalto and a pair of easy chairs made from ash and designed in Denmark in 1952 by Poul Kjaerholm and Jorgen Hoj. Galerie Downtown-François Laffanour will show a 1955 sideboard by Charlotte Perriand while among Kunsthandel Frans Leidelmeijer’s exhibits will be a dining room suite in the Amsterdam School style by Michel de Klerk dating from 1916-1917.

TEFAF Design Loan Exhibition

TEFAF Design will also have a loan exhibition from the collection of the Museum Jachthuis St Hubertus in the Netherlands. This early 20th century hunting lodge was designed by the famous Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage. It was the home of businessman Anton Kröller and his wife Helene Kröller-Müller, who founded the renowned Kröller-Müller Museum, famous for its Van Gogh collection, in 1938. Berlage also provided his clients with furniture and artwork. The TEFAF exhibition will include a Berlage dining table and chairs and children’s furniture as well as well as original china, silverware and glass. These all belonged to the Kröller-Müller family and have never been exhibited outside the hunting lodge before.

AXA Art is the principal sponsor of TEFAF 2009

AXA Art is the world’s leading art insurance specialist providing customized coverage to protect art and collectibles for a broad range of clients, from first time buyers to the world’s most respected collectors, artists, museums, galleries, international loans and public exhibitions. AXA Art is the principal sponsor of TEFAF 2009.


And I had the good fortune to be there.

See: The Commerce of Art — and Maastricht’s European Fine Art Fair


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