The month of March greets us with one of the most attractive and long-awaited events on the international art world calendar: the Tefaf Art Fair in the Dutch city of Maastricht. As every year, we’ll have the chance to see the best conserved, most exquisite and remarkable objects of the international art world among the aisles of this fair, unique in the world, held from the 14th to the 23rd of March 2014.
Its origins date back to 1975 when it was established as a bi-annual fair with 28 exhibitors taking part, comprising mainly paintings and specialising in Old Masters from the 19th century and impressionists. In 1978 the number of galleries was increased to 42 and, in 1991, it added works of art from the 20th century, modern and contemporary, with another new section being created the following year, namely La Haute Joaillerie du Monde. In 1996 it adopted the name we know it by today, Tefaf. In the year 2000 the fair accepted the proposal to vet all the pieces exhibited by means of the Art Loss Register, a database with images containing records of all works that have been stolen or lost since the Second World War. In 2006 the fair welcomed its millionth visitor since it was founded.
This is not just an accumulation of works of art: the galleries, pieces, montages and rest areas are a joy to the senses. Arriving at an impersonal trade fair pavilion, similar to those you can find anywhere in the world, once you cross the threshold you access a lost world, a special, unique place. Thousands of flowers cover the walls of the entrance, forming sinuous patterns. Colours, smells and textures transport you to another world. These flowers accompany you throughout your visit, changing colour in the aisles, in the rest areas. We can choose to begin our walk and journey of discovery with whatever excites us the most. There are 295 exhibitors organised into different themes: archaeology, classical antiquities, modern and contemporary design, haute joaillerie, paintings and works on paper, from Old Masters to contemporary works. The best pieces can be found in the galleries market with the most meticulous and seductive tableaus you can imagine.
Walking among the Kugel family stands, containing the most refined furniture and art objects from European courts, from the Middle Ages to the 18th century, we discover a world that is normally only ever evoked in novels but which surprises art lovers who can see it and touch it. A new addition in the last few years are the antique dealers who have promoted the collection of Kunstkammer antiques or cabinets of curiosities from the European Renaissance. A stroll in a surrealist paradise where antiquity goes hand in hand with the most incredibly modern. Furniture and decorative art, attractively displayed, mixing all kinds of eras and styles, then coming across other stands such as the one set up by Belgian decorator Axel Vervoordt, which awakens our senses and offers us a new way of looking at art. Antique jewellery exhibited by Hancocks, Wartski of London or Vieille Russie of New York, or the great pieces of international haute joaillerie created by Graff, Buccellatti, Bulgari and Hemmerle.
Over the last few years, 20th-century furniture and decorative art has become extremely important, in line with the different tastes of the times. As for paintings and works on paper, this year you can find pieces ranging from some of the most important works by Van Gogh that have appeared on the market in the last few years, such as “Moulin de la Galette” at Dickinson of London, a masterpiece of its time, when the painter arrived in Paris and put aside his dark palette and countryside themes to make use of colour through those characteristic strong brushstrokes, expressionist, one of his defining features. You can also see a panel by Jorge Inglés, painted in Spain in the early 16th century, a commission by the first Marquis de Santillana for the chapel of the Hospital de Buitrago in Madrid.