The European Fine Art Fair

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The MECC venue in Maastricht, home to TEFAF for over 25 years
Picasso's lining a wall at the fair in 2011
Greek and Roman sculptures for sale in 2014
Visitors taking a break at TEFAF 2014

The European Fine Art Fair (abbreviated: TEFAF) is an annual art fair, organized by The European Fine Art Foundation in the MECC in Maastricht, Netherlands. It was first held in 1988. The 10-day fair, organized by dealers, attracts about 70,000 visitors and is considered the world's best and most important art fair.[1]

The fair[edit]

Presenting 260 of the world’s leading galleries from 20 countries, TEFAF Maastricht showcases some of the best works of art currently on the market for 10 days each year. In addition to the traditional areas of Old Master Paintings and antique Works of Art, visitors can see and buy at TEFAF Maastricht a wide variety of Classical Modern and Contemporary Art, as well as Jewellery, 20th Century Design, and Works on Paper. There were 266 dealers from twenty countries at the fair's 2013 edition.[2] The 2013 edition featured 265 exhibitors showing museum-quality pieces ranging from antiquity to the 21st century, valued at 4 billion euros.[3]

History[edit]

TEFAF Maastricht is the offspring of two Dutch fairs launched in the mid-1970s: Pictura and De Antiquairs International. Pictura was the first international fine art fair in the Netherlands and launched in 1975. Antiqua, an antiques fair launched in 1978, became De Antiquairs International in 1982. Both fairs merged in 1985 under the banner of the Antiquairs International and Pictura Fine Art fair, held at Maastricht’s Eurohal.[4]

A 10-day event organized by dealers,[5] TEFAF Maastricht was subsequently launched at the MECC in 1988, with 89 participating dealers, the majority of them Dutch.[6] Though the fair was founded as a fair for dealers in old masters art, more than half the participants have other specialties, including antiquities, furniture, decorative artwork from medieval times to today, rare books and jewelry. By 2014, 43% of dealers at TEFAF specialized in antiques (119 out of 274 galleries).[7] A shortage of museum-quality historic paintings and collectors’ shifting tastes have resulted in an increasing emphasis on more recent material.[8]

In 2000, for the first time TEFAF launched an independent study about the size and structure of the European art and antiques market, resulting in the annual publication of the Art Market Report.[9] For years, the fair was considered "a footnote in the annual art market calendar", accordig to the Wall Street Journal. During the art market boom, collectors put a premium on high-profile contemporary art sales like the Art Basel fairs in Switzerland and Miami and the biannual modern and contemporary art sales of Christie's and Sotheby's in London and New York.[10] The fair celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012 and is today regarded, along with Swiss modern and contemporary art fair Art Basel,[11] as the world’s leading art fair.[12]

TEFAF Maastricht is regarded as unequalled in its level of quality and in the methods it employs to establish and guarantee the authenticity of every painting and object on offer. Participating dealers are admitted only after a strict selection process. TEFAF Maastricht’s vetting system involves about 175 international experts in 29 different categories, who examine every work of art in the Fair for quality, authenticity and condition. A number of objects deemed inauthentic or of "poor quality" are regularly placed in storage until fair's end.[13] Representatives from about 225 major museums[14] like the Louvre in Paris,[15] the Prado in Madrid,[16] the Frick Collection in New York, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Getty Center in Los Angeles regularly visit the fair.[17] TEFAF’s wealthy visitors, many of whom fly in on about 170 private planes, have recently included Saud bin Muhammed Al Thani, Silvio Berlusconi, Calvin Klein, Brad Pitt, Kanye West[18] and Michael Schumacher.[19]

In 2003, 13-year-old Brahm Wachter from New York bought a Rembrandt etching, Agony in the Olive Garden (1657), from the New York dealer David Tunick at TEFAF, using the money he received from his bar mitzvah.[20]

Expansion plans[edit]

Between 1995 and 1999, TEFAF Basel was held at the Messe Basel.[21]

In 1997, TEFAF Maastricht considered launching a fair in New York, but could not find a site big enough to accommodate around 130 exhibitors. The National Building Museum in Washington, DC, was also mooted as a fair venue.[22]

In 2013, TEFAF Maastricht announced plans to hold a high-end art and antiques fair in China.[23] The new event, which would have been called TEFAF Beijing 2014, was to have been a collaboration between Maastricht and Sotheby’s joint venture with China’s state-owned Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group. A venture between a dealer-organized fair and an international auction house would have been unusual, emphasizing the importance of China for the West’s art and antiques trade.[24] However, the plans were abandoned shortly after.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scott Reyburn (March 15, 2012), Calvin Klein Browses $1.3 Billion Fair, Warhol Drag Queen Sells Businessweek.
  2. ^ TEFAF History TEFAF Maastricht.
  3. ^ Scott Reyburn (March 19, 2013), Tefaf in Talks With Sotheby’s for Art Event in China Bloomberg.
  4. ^ Gareth Harris (March 15, 2012), Tefaf: going Dutch has never felt better The Art Newspaper.
  5. ^ Scott Reyburn (March 19, 2013), Tefaf in Talks With Sotheby’s for Art Event in China Bloomberg.
  6. ^ Gareth Harris (March 15, 2012), Tefaf: going Dutch has never felt better The Art Newspaper.
  7. ^ Gareth Harris and Anny Shaw (March 18, 2014), A market boom, but only for some The Art Newspaper.
  8. ^ Scott Reyburn (March 15, 2012), Calvin Klein Browses $1.3 Billion Fair, Warhol Drag Queen Sells Businessweek.
  9. ^ TEFAF History TEFAF Maastricht.
  10. ^ Kelly Crow (March 19, 2010), The Old Masters Come Roaring Back Wall Street Journal.
  11. ^ Scott Reyburn (March 12, 2012), Liz Taylor’s Bracelet, Gauguin Painting Boost $1.3 Billion Fair Bloomberg.
  12. ^ Wendy Moonan (March 9, 2007), Dealers and Collectors Make the Pilgrimage to Maastricht New York Times.
  13. ^ Kelly Crow (March 19, 2010), The Old Masters Come Roaring Back Wall Street Journal.
  14. ^ Margaret Studer (March 11, 2011), The Art World's Yearly Pilgrimage Wall Street Journal.
  15. ^ Scott Reyburn (March 15, 2013), Picasso Sells: Kanye West, Lauder View $5.4 Billion Fair Bloomberg.
  16. ^ Kelly Crow (March 19, 2010), The Old Masters Come Roaring Back Wall Street Journal.
  17. ^ Donald Morrison (March 15, 2006), An Art Fair Where Wealth Is on Display With the Rembrandts New York Times.
  18. ^ Scott Reyburn (March 15, 2013), Picasso Sells: Kanye West, Lauder View $5.4 Billion Fair Bloomberg.
  19. ^ Scott Reyburn (March 12, 2012), Liz Taylor’s Bracelet, Gauguin Painting Boost $1.3 Billion Fair Bloomberg.
  20. ^ Gareth Harris (March 15, 2012), Tefaf: going Dutch has never felt better The Art Newspaper.
  21. ^ Gareth Harris (March 15, 2012), Tefaf: going Dutch has never felt better The Art Newspaper.
  22. ^ Gareth Harris (March 15, 2012), Tefaf: going Dutch has never felt better The Art Newspaper.
  23. ^ Carol Vogel (March 19, 2013), European Art Fair May Join With Sotheby’s for Chinese Sales New York Times.
  24. ^ Scott Reyburn (March 19, 2013), Tefaf in Talks With Sotheby’s for Art Event in China Bloomberg.
  25. ^ Carol Vogel (December 12, 2013), Plan for Art and Antiques Fair in China Falls Through New York Times.

External links[edit]