It traditionally attracts collectors from all over the world and can count on numerous visitors from the Wagner festival in nearby Bayreuth, which is less than an hour’s drive away and runs more or less concurrently.
The charm of the Bamberger Kunst und Antiquitäten Wochen (art and antiques weeks), the 22nd edition of which this year runs from July 22-August 20, is that all the shops and galleries are situated in the heart of the medieval, rococo and baroque city, a UNESCO world-heritage site, and are in easy walking distance of each other.
For the participating dealers, cooperation is as important as competition, which goes a long way to explain the success of their joint venture.
The works of art on offer represent a broad spectrum of artistic endeavour and craftsmanship, from Old Master paintings to 20th century glass and 1930s English silver. They cater for every taste and every wallet.
A particular forte of several exhibitors is gothic sculptures and Matthias Wenzel has a very unusual example on offer: a so-called Lüsterweibchen, a chandelier made of antlers, incorporating the polychrome figures of St Anne with the Virgin and the Child, made in south Germany towards the end of the 15th century and now for sale at €36,000.
Furniture is also traditionally well represented in Bamberg. This year’s offerings include baroque and Biedermeier, but also somewhat more modern pieces.
Christian Eduard Franke is expecting €68,000 for a large mahogany bureau plat with a leather top, the work of the Parisian master ebenist Robert-Claude Lebesgue from about 1785.
At the other end of the timescale is a distinctive walnut-veneered Art Deco or Bauhaus style desk from the 1930s which can be seen at Burkard Hauptmann’s shop and costs €5900.
As in previous years, a broad programme of accompanying events is held, such as guided tours through the sales exhibitions and local museums, lectures on specific aspects of art history by local museum experts and the dealers themselves.
An example is Gregor von Seckendorff’s talk on Bronze Casting in Berlin around 1900, which takes place on August 12.