As dealers make the final preparations to their stands, it feels like Maastricht is coming to Manhattan with many of the 94 exhibitors at the Park Avenue Armory seasoned regulars at the longstanding TEFAF Maastricht fair.
The majority of the exhibitors come from Europe (65, with 28 from the UK) and some will doubtless be hoping to see existing clients. But with fewer Americans making the journey to Europe in March, the aim of most dealers is to reach new customers. It is thought that of the 75,000 visitors to TEFAF Maastricht this year, a relatively small percentage, around 2000-2500, were from the US.
TEFAF has joined up with Artvest Partners to launch the venture and the organisers have scheduled two US fairs per year – TEFAF New York Fall will be followed by TEFAF New York Spring next May.
Any new undertaking, especially one that trails such a pedigree, generates excitement and speculation. Will dealers succeed in taking Old World goods to New World customers? Will US buyers take advantage of the current strength of the dollar against sterling? The organisers and exhibitors will certainly be hoping so once the well-heeled art and antiques enthusiasts start perusing the aisles in a few hours’ time.
TEFAF New York Fall runs until October 26. Here ATG offers a selection of works from around the stands.
Established furniture dealership Ronald Phillips, a TEFAF first-timer, will exhibit a pair of George III Chinese lacquer commodes at the inaugural TEFAF fair in New York.
Known as the St Giles House commodes, they were made c.1765 and feature the original ornate brass handles and are thought to be the work of John Cobb. One of the pair was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London at the exhibition English Taste in the 18th century in 1955. They are priced in excess of £2m.
Ronald Phillips is also offering a pair of c.1735 George II giltwood mirrors, attributed to Benjamin Goodison and priced in excess of £500,000.
Tomasso Brothers Fine Art
European sculpture specialists Tomasso Brothers Fine Art have two 16th century Italian devotional objects among the works they are offering at the inaugural TEFAF New York Fall.
A Madonna and Child by Domenico di Bartolomeo Ubaldini (1492-1527), known as Il Puligo, will be offered in the region of $325,000. The oil on panel dates to c.1525.
Also on their stand is a polychrome terracotta relief panel, c.1515, by Benedetto Buglioni (1459-1521), offered in the region of $160,000. It depicts St. Jerome in the Wilderness, accompanied by the lion he was said to have aided by removing a thorn from its paw.
The Yorkshire-based dealers also have marble, bronze and terracotta sculptures including a profile head of Alexander the Great (365-323 BC) in relief from a Florentine workshop, circa 1550.
Daniel Crouch Rare Books
Among the undisputed highlights of the inaugural TEFAF New York Fall is the 1531 manuscript map of the world by Vesconte Maggiolo (c.1476-c.1551) on the stand of London specialist Daniel Crouch Rare Books. It includes the earliest extant depiction of New York harbour.
The most expensive map ever offered on the open market, the asking price is $10m.
The Blumka Gallery of New York who specialise in European works of art and have exhibited at TEFAF Maastricht for 21 years, are offering this jewellery casket, which is either south German or northern Italian in origin. The c.1600 piece, measuring 13in (33cm) across, is ebony-inlaid with mother-of-pearl, gilt and oak and is available for $115,000.
Long-time Maastricht exhibitor Jorge Welsh, a specialist in Chinese porcelain and particularly export porcelain, is offering this blue and white mosque lamp at the first TEFAF New York.
The Qing dynasty porcelain lamp was made in the 18th century and features a cobalt blue underglaze. Measuring 12in (30cm) high, it is available for a six-figure sum.
With galleries in London and Lisbon, Jorge Welsh has exhibited at the older TEFAF for 16 years.
Ben Janssens Oriental Art (London) is offering this Tang Dynasty (618-906) figure of a pottery groom at TEFAF New York. Measuring 22in (56 cm) high, it is priced at $40,000.
With a smaller space in comparison to his stand at TEFAF Maastricht, Janssens has limited his display Chinese works of art only.
“I feel that any fair TEFAF organises will be taken seriously,” said Janssens, “so TEFAF New York will automatically acquire a prime spot in the busy fair calendar. I checked our client database and of our clients in New York and the USA only a small percentage travel to Maastricht annually. Therefore it makes sense to take part in a fair in New York.”
Richard Green Fine Paintings
London dealers Richard Green Fine Paintings are offering this painting, Venice, a view of the Grand Canal looking east...
The painting was previously attributed to Canaletto, but was later discovered to be the work of his nephew Bernardo Bellotto (1722-80). In an essay on the painting, Bellotto expert and fellow London dealer Charles Beddington writes that the painting exhibits more subtle charm than the majority of the subjects popular with his clientele. It gives only a partial view of the Venetian monuments and is instead preoccupied with achieving a compositionally balanced view of the palazzi that flank the Grand Canal.
The painting, c.1741, measures 2ft x 3ft 6in (61 x 98cm) and was previously in the collection of former Sotheby’s chairman A Alfred Taubman.
Shapero Rare Books
On the stand of Shapero Rare Books of London is Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. The book includes 220 hand-coloured illustrations and is the first work to depict the flora and fauna of North America. Information for the book was collected during Catesby’s expedition of 1722-26.
The original drawings are kept at Windsor Castle.
This is one of the earliest attainable copies, fresh to the market, originally from the de Belder collection of Natural History which was sold at auction at 1987 and since then kept in private hands.
Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books
Medieval books and manuscripts specialist Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books are exhibiting works on exploration, mapping and the discovery of new lands at TEFAF New York.
The Switzerland-based dealers have taken stands at TEFAF Maastricht for more than 20 years but among the items they are offering in New York is an unpublished Compendium in Latin from c.1425, made for Juan II, King of Castile and Leon
Unique and previously unknown, the manuscript contains a combination of educational texts made for the young King.
There are seven full-page illuminated leaves included in the manuscript, most notably a map dominated by a deepset, inky blue, indicating the surrounding ocean and the world yet to be explored.
Works compiled by Anne Crane and Francis Allitt