Art Market Magazine
There's no let-up for art lovers in March. As we know, the fair calendar, like the auction schedule, vibrates in unison with the advent of spring. So from West to East, it will take us from New York's Armory Show (marked this year by French street artist JR's monumental installation) to Hong Kong, hosting the sixth edition of Art Basel HK just as several galleries open premises in the new H Queens building. After a trip to Brussels to check out "Collectible", the new fair focused exclusively on collectors' designer objects, and to Paris, with its annual (and distinctly talented) celebration of drawing, we head for Maastricht for the indispensable TEFAF. In 2018, the fair is consolidating its links with its Dutch stronghold, drawing on a new team "bursting with ideas", to quote one of the Board's young recruits, Frenchman Christophe de Quénetain. On the auction side, the "last of the vedutisti", Ippolito Caffi, will be rubbing shoulders with Paul Jenkins, Félix Vallotton, Edward Hopper, Pierre Antoine-Bellangé, Le Pho, and various non-Western gems. All this will largely reward the energy spent rushing from one side of the planet to the other.
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Make no mistake: TEFAF will continue to be held in Maastricht for a longtime to come. Its organisers have just signed a new ten-year contract with the peaceful Dutch city, its convention centre (the MECC) and the province of Limburg. This will involve a total makeover of the premises, planned over several years, for a total cost of €30 million, and an upgrade in hospitality services. “We’ve maintained a close relationship with Maastricht for thirty years. The majority of exhibitors wanted to stay here,” says TEFAF CEO Patrick Van Maris. This renewed agreement also sends out a message of stability to a rapidly-changing art market, after TEFAF’s recent launch of two satellite branches in New York: in October for antiques and Old Masters, and in May for modern art. “Maastricht is always full of excitement, unlike the more impersonal TEFAF New York Fall,” says the advisor for Old Master drawings and paintings, Nicolas Joly. At the Sotheby’s Old Masters sale in Manhattan last January, several American collectors and curators expressed their firm intention to make the trip to Maastricht again.
It is with excellent company that we will spend this month of March: from the Duc of Orleans (who invites us to his dinner table), to an impressive Bembé sculpture, once belonging to Gustave and Franyo Schindler, and a Jaina Warrior from the exceptional pre-Columbian art collection of a New York buyer dispersed at Drouot.
Garnering a total of €1,345,949, the sale of this collection of precious books and manuscripts, ranging from precisely 1478 to 1977 – three rich and varied centuries –, fulfilled all the expectations awaited by the devoted bibliophile selling them. At €220,776, the top bid went to an extremely rare book: an in-folio volume retracing legendary and historical events since the creation of the world: "La Mer des histoires"…
A new member of the Executive Committee and Board of TEFAF, for which he has directed the antique dealers' section since the beginning of the month, Christophe de Quénetain is the dealers' spokesperson. Lesser known is the fact that he is a PhD and has written theses on Pierre Garnier and Nicolas Besnier. This well-informed Board member gives us his views on the fair.
For its 27th edition, the salon that originated the “boutique art fair”, with its solid reputation and highly "qualified" visitors, apparently has little left to prove. Yet, as fine drawings become increasingly hard to come by, we can't help but wonder if there are any masterpieces still to be found – particularly Old Masters –, even in the elegant aisles of the Paris fair Salon du dessin.
In the history of art, few painters have been forged as much as Jean-Baptiste Corot. Assessing his paintings is often a real conundrum. We investigate the question as the Musée Marmottan Monet in Paris opens an exhibition on the artist that reminds us that he was also a remarkable figure painter.
While the Guggenheim chain is rusting, the Centre Pompidou in Paris is consolidating its prestige in Malaga, Brussels and Shanghai. Its president, Serge Lasvignes, is driving this frenetic expansion through his personal vision: building real partnerships instead of scattering branches all over the world.
March 2018 Edition
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