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Brisk Sales as Thousands Attend TEFAF Maastricht this Weekend
TEFAF 2009. Photo: Loraine Bodewes.

MAASTRICHT.- Dealers reported strong sales to private collectors and museums as people poured through the doors of TEFAF Maastricht that has become one of the art and antiques world’s most celebrated annual events. Among major sales were works by Rubens, Breughel, Le Corbusier, Basquiat and Louise Bourgeois. The new TEFAF Design section where eight specialist dealers are exhibiting works of 20th century design and applied arts proved extremely popular at the Fair, which opened to the public at the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre).

Major sales on the first day included Portrait of a Young Man by Peter Paul Rubens which was bought for a price under €5 million from Bernheimer-Colnaghi Fine Old Masters of Munich and London by a private collector. This little known unpublished portrait of an anonymous young man was painted by Rubens c1610-1613 following his return to Antwerp from Italy. Two important works were sold by the London Old Masters dealer Johnny Van Haeften. A river landscape with the Flight into Egypt by Maerten Ryckaert (1537-1631) was sold for a price in the region of $1 million while A view of a Flemish street with townsfolk and waggoners by Jan Breughel the Elder and Josse De Momper the Younger was bought by a collector for about £500,000. ‘It has been a marvellous day, much better than I thought possible,’ said Van Haeften.

In the Modern Art section Van de Weghe Fine Art of New York had an excellent start to the Fair selling Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 work Untitled (The Black Athlete) to the London jewellery magnate Laurence Graff for €3.5 million. Galerie Thomas of Munich sold a 1920s work on paper by Wassily Kandinsky, for which the asking price was €1.2 million, to a European private collector, while Hauser & Wirth of Zürich sold three Personages sculptures by Louise Bourgeois for about $1 million each. The Scheringa Museum of Realist Art in the Netherlands bought Evan Penny’s Back of Danny no.3 from Sperone Westwater of New York. The asking price was $80,000. Another sale to an institution was the purchase of Carbon Cycle, a chromate bronze by the British artist Marc Quinn, from Galerie Daniel Blau of Munich by the Dutch Museum Beelden aan Zee of Scheveningen, The Hague. Gallery Delaive from Amsterdam sold Oiseau by Karel Appel to a collector from Beirut for €350,000, while Landau Fine Art of Montreal had an early success with the sale of Le Corbusier’s 1953 sculpture Femme to a private collector for an undisclosed sum.

In the Antiques & Works of Art section Ben Janssens Oriental Art of London had a hugely successful first day at TEFAF with more than 30 sales. Among the most important of these was a Chinese Qianlong period (1736-1795) carved lacquered pictorial panel which fetched ‘a substantial six figure sum’. Robert Bowman Gallery from London sold a 19th century Ernest Meissonier bronze The Traveller, depicting Marshal Ney, one of the Emperor Napoleon’s most powerful generals, for £75,000. A French private collector bought a south German Renaissance clock c1580-90 decorated with an image of a wild woman from Kunstkammer Georg Laue of Munich. There were several important purchases by museums in this part of the Fair. The recently-formed Friends of the Rijksmuseum made their first-ever purchase on behalf of the Amsterdam institution. They bought a late 16th century lacquered Japanese coffer inlaid with mother of pearl from Jorge Welsh Porcelain & Works of Art of Lisbon. The Poly Art Museum in Beijing bought a Kangxi dish from Vanderven & Vanderven Oriental Art of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The Haags Gemeentemuseum bought an 18 carat gold cup and cover made by Ph. de Meijer in The Hague in 1849 from John Endlich Antiquairs of Haarlem.

Antiquities dealers had a tremendous start to TEFAF. Charles Ede Ltd of London had 11 sales during the first few hours of the Fair including a Hellenistic bronze statue of Herakles from the 1st century AD/BC which went to a private collector for a six figure sum, while Rupert Wace Ancient Art Ltd from London sold one of the highlights of his stand, a rare Sardinian bronze figure from the 10th-7th centuries BC. The latter, for which the asking price was in the region of €120,000 went to a German collector, a new client, less than two hours after the Fair opened.

In the new TEFAF Design section Philippe Denys from Brussels sold a 1932 walnut and aluminium library case designed by the great Turin architect Gino Levi Montalcini to a French collector while Galerie Downtown FrançoisLaffanour, from Paris, sold a 1983 Pol Bury fountain sculpture. In TEFAF Showcase, a section created to give younger dealers a one-off chance to exhibit at the Fair, Alexis Renard of Paris sold four objects on the opening day including a 17th century Ceylonese ivory box. ‘I was very impressed by the quality of the Fair and proud to be exhibiting this year,’ he said.

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March 17, 2009

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