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Antiquity to Contemporary - Great Works of Art From 3000 Years at Tefaf Maastricht 2008
Georges Braque (1882-1963), Nature morte à la serviette, Oil on canvas, 21 1/4 x 25 5/8 inches, 54 x 65 cm. Signed and dated lower right : G. Braque, 1926. Exhibitor: Galerie Boulakia.


MAASTRICHT.- Magnificent works by the finest artists of every era from classical antiquity to the 21st century will go on show when TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) is held in the Dutch city of Maastricht from 7th to 16th March 2008. Paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, furniture, illuminated manuscripts, textiles, porcelain, glass, silver and jewellery will be among pieces displayed by 227 leading international dealers at the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre). The value of the art and antiques on show at one of the world’s most prestigious fairs will be more than $1 billion and that figure does not include the contemporary jewellery section.

Among the many highlights of TEFAF 2008 will be a tiny, delicately beautiful ivory diptych depicting the Virgin and Child flanked by angels on one side and the Crucifixion on the other. Measuring 12.2cms by 13.4cms when opened and just 5.6cms wide when closed, the diptych was made by an unknown craftsman in Paris about 1300-1325. It will be offered for sale by Blumka Gallery of New York, which specialises in medieval and Renaissance sculpture and works of art. The price for the diptych is €260,000.

The 700 year-old diptych is quite modern compared to some of the antiquities that will be at TEFAF. Charles Ede Ltd of London will exhibit a rare ushabti, a figurine placed in the graves of ancient Egyptians, made for Prince Ramesses-Mentuherkhepeshef, son of King Ramesses IX, and dating from about 1100 BC. An interesting modern tribute to the ancient world is provided by Gianmaria Buccellati, the Milan jeweller and silversmith, who has made duplicates of eight of the Roman silver cups found in the famous Boscoreale treasure near Pompeii.

An important medieval painting by Taddeo Gaddi, the leading disciple and official heir of Giotto, will be exhibited by Moretti of Florence. St Anthony Abbot, painted on a panel in the 14th century, was unknown until it surfaced in a sale in Berlin in 1928 and was not finally established as an autograph work by Taddeo until the 1980s. It is one of the finest surviving examples of the mature phase of Taddeo’s career and is priced in the region of €1.5 million.

Another masterpiece unknown until recently is a Book of Hours, containing prayers for private devotion, produced by craftsmen in Bruges about 1505-15 for Maria Maddalena Negrone, daughter of the Genoese banker Alessandro Negrone, who lived in the Flemish city. The Negrone Hours, which has 18 large and 52 small illuminations on vellum, is in immaculate condition and will be offered for sale at TEFAF by Heribert Tenschert Antiquariat Bibermuhle AG of Ramsen for €5 million.

TEFAF has always been renowned for its Old Master paintings and 2008, the 21st staging of the Fair, will be no exception. A major recently rediscovered religious history painting by Anthony van Dyck, Saint Sebastian Bound for Martyrdom, will be exhibited by the Weiss Gallery of London. The painting once belonged to King Philip IV of Spain and fascinatingly the saint’s features appear to be modelled on the artist’s own. Price: around € 6.5 million. Another London dealer, Stair Sainty, will be showing François Boucher’s The Enchanted Home: A Pastoral Landscape surmounted by Cupid. Previously unknown to scholars the painting was dedicated to the brilliant and seductive Claudine de Tencin, who was the mistress of some of the most powerful men in 18th century France. The price will be upwards of €1 million.

The Asian art section of TEFAF has expanded enormously in recent years and among the pieces on display in 2008 will be a rare commercial advertising armorial bowl on the stand of the London dealers Cohen & Cohen. This piece of Qianlong Chinese export porcelain made about 1745 promoted the Balsam of Life, a bogus medicine claimed by its inventor Robert Turlington to be the cure for many illnesses. Turlington was one of the first users of brand merchandising methods that are still employed today. The bowl will be on sale for about €35,000. A more traditional example of Asian art will be a superb Huanghuali wood horseshoe armchair, dating from the late 16th or early 17th centuries, exhibited by Grace Wu Bruce of Hong Kong.

Among the enormous range of furniture at TEFAF will be a superb mahogany veneered chest of drawers made by Etienne Levasseur in 1784 that belonged to the Mesdames de France, Louis XV’s daughters, which will be exhibited by the Parisian dealer Kraemer. Kunstkammer Georg Laue from Munich is preparing a sensational exhibition of 45 collectors’ cabinets, mainly dating from the 17th century, including three magnificent Renaissance masterpieces made by Ulrich Baumgartner in Augsburg about 1620. Prices range from €20,000 to €600,000.

Silver and jewellery have always been an important part of TEFAF and among the former will be a vase shaped coffee urn made by the Dutch craftsman Andele Andeles in the 18th century exhibited by John Endlich of Haarlem. Wartski of London will be displaying a bejewelled gold and enamel bellpush by Fabergé originally purchased by a sister of Tsar Nicholas II in 1902 while for lovers of modern jewellery Graff of London will have a yellow diamond ring weighing 107 carats.

The modern and contemporary art section of the Fair has grown in importance and the paintings on display will include a superb 1946 Picasso, Femme allongée, to be exhibited by Galerie Jan Krugier & Cie of Geneva and Joan Miro’s Personnages dans un paysage shown by Dickinson of London. Completing TEFAF’s 3000 year journey from ancient Egypt will be artworks from the 21st century such as Lucian Freud’s 2006-7 painting Ria, Naked Portrait shown by Acquavella Galleries of New York (price: USD 15million) and Bill Viola’s video Isolde’s Ascension (The Shape of Light in the Space After Death) offered by Haunch of Venison from London.

New exhibitors - The six new exhibitors at TEFAF 2008 are Galerie Boulakia (Paris), Haunch of Venison (London) and Yves Macaux (of Brussels, sharing a stand with Richard Nagy), all specialising in modern art, and Kraemer Antiquaire (Paris), Adrian Sassoon (London) and David and Constance Yates (New York) in the Antiques and Works of Art section. A further seven galleries have been invited to take part for one year only under the new TEFAF Showcase scheme designed to encourage younger dealers.

New Executive Committee members: Two new members have been appointed to the Fair’s Executive Committee. They are Jorge Welsh, a leading international dealer in Oriental porcelain and works of art with galleries in London and Lisbon, and Fabrizio Moretti, a renowned specialist in Italian Old Master paintings with premises in Florence, London and New York.

Cultural Emergency Response: The Prince Claus Fund will hold a presentation of its Cultural Emergency Response programme at TEFAF on Friday 7th March. Cultural Emergency Response is the first international initiative to provide ‘first aid’ for cultural heritage damaged by man-made or natural disasters. Its plans will be outlined at the presentation and there will be an interview with Omara Khan Massoudi, Director of the National Museum in Kabul, Afghanistan about the rescue of the latter’s collection. For more information contact i.chronis@princeclausfund.nl or www.princeclausfund.org.






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