The presence of museum curators is always a feature of TEFAF and a major acquisition announced early on during the preview was a still life by Roelandt Savery (1576-1639) bought from London dealers Colnaghi by the Mauritshuis Museum in The Hague for €6.5m.
Their stand also featured a huge oil on canvas by Luca Giordano (1634-1705), The Calling of Peter and Andrew, which was sold to a private European collector. Its asking price was €2m.
Among four other sales reported by Colnaghi was a 17th century oil on canvas of the Adoration of the Shepherds by an artist from Naples known as ‘Master of the Aunnunciation to the Shepherds’. Here the asking price was €1.8m.
Old Master dealer Derek Johns and antiquities specialists Charles Ede also reported serious conversations with museums, while one of the major unveilings at the fair was an early work by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) which Talabardon & Gautier had on their stand. The Paris dealers spotted the work at New Jersey saleroom Nye & Company Auctions where it was estimated at $500-800 and sold for $870,000 (£583,890) – $1.09m with 25% premium added.
With a new price tag here, it reportedly sold to a buyer from the US for over €2m.
Other dealers in the Paintings section making sales were Charles Beddington who sold three pictures including a Glyn Philpot portrait to a private UK buyer (asking price: £350,000), while Thomas Heneage Art Books reported sales totaling €70,000 with three hours of the preview still to run.
“We’re very pleased with how the fair’s started,” said Thomas Heneage before rushing off as another customer arrived on his stand.
Meanwhile picture dealer Rupert Maas had sold the ‘novelty’ work on his stand before the end of the hectic preview at 9pm. The ‘aerodynamic’ writing desk made by Sussex furniture designer Fred Beverton was entitled ‘Batman’ and featured in the 1989 film Batman with Jack Nicholson playing The Joker. The asking price was £25,000.
The TEFAF fair runs until March 20.