WHEN it comes to trade fairs it’s showtime all the year round in Milan, but antiques have their biggest flowering in the late spring with two major vetted fairs in the city taking place hot on each other’s heels.
First off the blocks is MIFAS (The Milano International Fine Art and Antiques Show) organised by Artmediainternational, which takes place in the city centre at the Palazzo della Societa per le Belle Arti ed Esposizione Permanente in Via Taurati from April 17-25. Two weeks later the latest showing of the biennale Milano Internationale Antiquariato, organised by EXPOCTS, gets underway at the city’s showground, The Fiera Milano, from May 8-16.
The latest MIFAS, the sixth staging of the fair, has 50 exhibitors with a high proportion of returnees. There are, however, five newcomers including Patrick Perrin from Paris and Richard Naghy from London.
While Italian dealers make up over half the exhibitor list, with local Milanese dealers heavily represented, there is an overseas contingent of around a dozen exhibitors. As well as Richard Naghy, several other Old Master picture dealers feature amongst the British contingent; Derek Johns, Chaucer Fine Art, John Mitchell and Sons, while Giovanni Sarti and De Jonckheere will bring Old Masters from Paris and there are exhibitors from Monte Carlo, Brussels and Munich. As this list suggests, there will be a strong emphasis on paintings – especially Old Masters – and drawings at the fair, although silver, furniture, jewellery and works of art also feature.
With over 100 exhibitors, the venerable Milano Internationale Antiquariato, now in its 19th staging, is around twice the size of MIFAS. The vast majority are Italian, drawn from all over the country, with major cities in the north and centre (Milan, Padua, Bologna, Rome and Florence) well represented. Giving the fair its international element are exhibitors from Paris (De Jonckheere), London, (Brisigotti) Brussels (Cento Anni) and from just over the borders in Monte Carlo and Lugano.
With this many exhibitors one can expect plenty of variety in terms of material offered. As well as a wide range of paintings from gold ground primitives to Old Masters, there will be the usual plentiful supply of furniture, and although Italian pieces like the 17th/18th century walnut console table shown here are heavily represented, the selection is not limited to the home market, with French, English and Dutch pieces featuring as well. Expect also to find European ceramics from early Italian maiolica to 20th works by designer Gio Ponti and Lenci, plus jewellery and silver and a wide range of Asian artefacts from famille rose porcelain and Tang animals to a central Indian carved fragment from a temple door.
There are also loan exhibitions at the Milano Internationale. One is devoted to 18th century works from the collection of Alighiero De Micheli courtesy of the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (The Italian Environment Fund), the other to spectacles from the Belluno Glasses Museum.