TEFAF 2015: 7000 years of contemporary art




The European Fine Art fair is at the moment the most influential art and antiques event in the world even if, after all, art is an extremely wide concept and two other big names such as Art Basel and Frieze/ Frieze Masters are significantly contributing in shaping today’s idea of collecting art. Nevertheless it must be said that the quality of artworks that visitors and buyers find in Maastricht at the moment is with no doubt the highest available with regards to that part of the art scene in which living artists are not included and that, in this case, is a 7000 years period of time.


But what is really extraordinary at the TEFAF is that if you would like to purchase a folk Indian collier, a precious Irish chandelier, a Renaissance terracotta, or a luxurious tapestry, you have the feeling to be in the safest place to do it. And this is exactly the main achievement that this leading art fair has reached: thanks to the prestigious 175-members Vetting Committee (that can count on a new mobile researching lab, equipped with the latest high-tech equipment) and to a series of little details – for the lighting system to a finally effective app for smart phones – you don’t need to be a fine art connoisseur to buy a piece, if you are so lucky to afford what you desire.


Then the new edition of the TEFAF Global Art Market Report will show you that last year the art market reached its highest ever-recorded level (€51 billion worldwide), thus above the 2007 pre-recession level of €48 billion, and likely you will feel even more confident with your purchase.


This report points also out that in 2014 Post War and Contemporary was the largest sector of the fine art market, representing 48% of all fine art sale by value. That is probably why the TEFAF’s board decided to set up a new area dedicated to contemporary art galleries. Curated by Sidney Picasso, it is titled “Night Fishing”, and it gathers together eight contemporary art galleries including Thaddeus Ropac and Konrad Fisher. A little first step toward a TEFAF Contemporary art section has indeed been made.


A second step is awaited for 2016. In a recent interview Willem van Roijen, the fair’s chairman, has left a door open to a foreign edition. In regards with his future targets he said: “there are many Dutch, Americans, Belgians, Germans and French. Despite the many British dealers, we believe that in terms of visitors we could reach a larger group of British collectors. And part of our activities is specifically targeted at Asia and Latin America”.


In the meantime the Maastricht art fair keeps on telling beautiful stories. For example, that of the touching Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s presented at the Maas Gallery, the first large drawing that the artist drew of Jane Morris – wife of his best friend –, at the onset of a period of renewed intimacy between them, nearly ten years after they had first met. The owner of the drawings is the scholar Virginia Surtee – the author of the definitive catalogue raisonné of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) – who in 2014, at the age of 97, put her collection of artworks on auction at Christie’s, with the exception of this piece, now for sale at €2.5 million.

March 16, 2015