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72.000 people visited TEFAF, 44% came from outside the Netherlands, over the course of the Fair
TEFAF Maastricht 2012 - opening day. Photo: Harry Heuts.

MAASTRICHT.- TEFAF Maastricht celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012, which provided the opportunity both to celebrate the achievements of the past and examine the challenges of the future. 72.000 people visited TEFAF over the course of the Fair, of these 44% came from outside the Netherlands with a marked increase in buyers from Russia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. 85% of visitors describe themselves as private buyers, of which more than 21% were visiting for the first time. Ben Janssens, Chairman of the Executive Committee commented, “Having participated in the Fair from the outset in 1988, I have been astounded by the number of new clients I have met and sold to this year.” Collecting interests of visitors were spread almost equally between the three biggest areas of the Fair - Old Master paintings (30%), antiques (36%) and modern and contemporary (34%). More than 34% of all visitors stayed at least one night in Maastricht or the surrounding area.

There were a number of special events held during the Fair to commemorate its Silver Jubilee. The TEFAF Art Market Report, entitled Observations of the Art Trade over 25 Years, prepared by Clare McAndrew, provided the springboard for TEFAF’s first ever art symposium – Collecting for Love or for Money? – which was held on Friday 16th March and attended by around 250 art lovers and international press. That evening a book written to celebrate the Silver Jubilee, Celebrating the best- twenty five years of TEFAF Maastricht, was launched at a reception attended by the Mayor of Maastricht, Onno Hoes, the President of TEFAF, Willem Baron van Dedem and a host of private collectors and distinguished museum directors. On Tuesday 20th March, the TEFAF tulip was presented to James Roundell, a member of the Executive Board by Bastiaan Hutten of Ten Kate flowers. Two bouquets of the new tulip were displayed in glass columns in the entrance to the Fair.

Willem Baron van Dedem, was presented with the gold medal of the city of Maastricht by Onno Hoes, the Mayor of Maastricht at a private reception on Sunday, 18th March. It is the highest award the city has to offer and has only been awarded four times previously. On Monday 19th March, the Governor of the Province of Limburg, Theo Bovens, presented the Award of Honor of the Province of Limburg to van Dedem on the occasion of the Fair’s 25th anniversary.

Onno Hoes, the Mayor Maastricht said, “The 25th anniversary of TEFAF has been marked by unseen commemoration. The relationship between the City and TEFAF is strong and growing ever stronger: the During TEFAF festival is an outward expression of the cultural cooperation that exists between us. Looking back at the last very successful ten days, I believe we have a very solid base from which to approach the next 25 years.”

AXA Art has been the main sponsor of TEFAF Maastricht for 9 years. Announcing the continuation of AXA Art’s sponsorship of TEFAF for a further three year period, Dr. Ulrich Guntram, CEO AXA Art, “We are extremely delighted to continue with what over the past nine years has developed into a true partnership and even friendship between two unique players in the art world. TEFAF and AXA art share the same values; professionalism and excellence. We are very much looking forward working together on the development of new markets and collector groups not only in Europe and the Americas but especially in the Asian market.”

From 16-15 March 2012, TEFAF Maastricht hosted 265 specialists from 19 different countries. Between them they exhibited more than 30,000 works of art, antiques and design objects from pre-history to the present day with an aggregate value of more than 3 billion euros. “At TEFAF you get spoiled forever”, commented American collector, Jean Doyen de Montaillou.

TEFAF is often referred to as a museum in which everything is for sale. The displays created by dealers during the Fair are admired by collectors and museum professionals throughout the world. Susan Lynch, Chair of the Board of Directors and Patrons of the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, USA, commented that, “TEFAF is inspiring, educational and a delight”. Over the course of the Fair TEFAF attracted over 238 museums from 21 countries.

Before the Fair opened each object was examined for quality, authenticity and condition by 175 international experts on 29 separate specialist committees. TEFAF Antiques is the biggest section in the Fair with 102 exhibitors. This is followed by the TEFAF Paintings with 59 and TEFAF Modern with 51.

During the Preview and the run of the Fair, visitors consumed 15.000 glasses of champagne; 31.000 wine; 75.000 cups of coffee; 10.000 pastries; 50.000 sandwiches and 11.000 oysters, which were served by 2300 waiters having been prepared by 515 cooks.

It is not only the works of art on display that attracts plaudits, the Fair itself is renowned for its presentation. ” There is no other Fair that looks like TEFAF”, commented Leo Villareal, whose specially commissioned light sculpture welcomed visitors in the entrance hall of the Fair.

Building the Fair is a major construction project that requires 220 men and women to work for 23 days of which 11 days are around the clock. On the Monday before the Fair opened 20 people worked throughout the night to lay 15.000m² of carpet in the aisles of the Fair. The entrance hall was decked with 800m² of padded panelling. The stand builders drank 30,000 cups of coffee and used 250kg of sugar.

Flowers form an important element of the display at TEFAF Maastricht and the 2012 Fair was no exception. In 2012 over the duration of the Fair, the entrance display used 33,000 Avalanche roses; the corridors, squares and cafés decorated with 40,500 of the most exclusive multi-coloured long-stalked French tulips, augmented by 4,500 branches of magnolia or cherry blossoms while the arrangements in the Place de La Concorde used 24,000 multi-coloured short-stemmed Dutch tulips.

360 extra flights were reported at Aachen- Maastrich airport during course of the Fair, in what the airport acknowledges is their busiest period of the year.
Next year the European Fine Art Fair will take place between 15-24 March at the MECC Maastricht.

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March 27, 2012

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