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Fine Art Society’s exhibit animates proceedings at Maastricht Fair

02 April 2012Written by Anna Brady

IT may sound a little gimmicky, but one of the most captivating TEFAF exhibits this year was an animated version of Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder’s Vase With Flowers in a Window by the contemporary artists Rob and Nick Carter on the stand of London’s Fine Art Society.

The three-hour looped film proved enthralling to visitors - one visitor, a Dutch archaeologist, was watching the whole thing for a bet, fuelled by the occasional glass of wine. Her biggest challenge over the 180 minutes was resisting the call of nature. The film shows the scene move from morning to dusk, with almost imperceptible movements, and took two years to make.

It was shown within a Dutch Golden Age-style 2ft 5in x 2ft 10in (74 x 86cm) wooden frame.

Not only did its crawling caterpillars and closing blooms prove popular, but it proved an astounding commercial success too as, nearing the end of the fair, FAS had sold all but one of the edition of 12. And as the number available fell, the price rose steadily, from €80,000 to €85,000 for the last one.

The Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague, where the original painting is held, have been given number 1 of the edition in appreciation of their help in creating the work. Many of the museum's primary exhibits will soon travel on loan to America, while a two-year refurbishment takes place and as their Bosschaert the Elder is in fragile condition, it has been suggested they will send the Carter graphic in its place.

Incidentally, Old Master dealer Johnny van Haeften had a similar version of Bosschaert the Elder's A Vase of Flowers in a Window at the fair, and this oil on copper was sold with a rather larger asking price of £1.95m.

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