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    Saturday, October 31st, 2020

    The world of auctions, local, national and international, has moved fairly seamlessly to an online model of auctions.   Art and antique fairs have a more particular problem, but as the pandemic progresses and large gatherings remain an impossibility new forms are emerging. With fabulous fairs in New York and Maastricht The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), the daddy of them all, is not something us average punters get to visit  every time. The good news is that the digital model is available in our own homes. The inaugural digital New York Fair runs from November 1-4 with a private preview day today. Each one of the almost 300 participating exhibitors from across the global community has been challenged to present a single masterpiece in their collection. The result is a selection of artworks in the top segment of the market in one place which offers all of us a chance to look and learn. Did you know, for instance, that in the last two years of his life the artist Georges Braque, became fascinated with the idea of designing jewellery? It gave him a chance to continue with art while experiencing ill health. Jewellers Didier Ltd. will highlight a Poseidon necklace designed by Braque in 1962-62. An Ancient Egyptian head of Min, God of fertility and harvest,  is at Axel Vervoordt.  Among the other rarities to be found is Gokei Monju, a Japanese temple sculpture of the bodhisattva of transcendent wisdom at Asian art specialists Sydney L. Moss. Guests who are moved to purchase will be afforded the option of interaction with exhibitors.  It is possible to pre-register online at

    Poseidon, a necklace in gold, platinum and diamonds by Georges Braque (1882-1963)


    Thursday, March 12th, 2020

    TEFAF, The European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht in the Netherlands closed on the evening of March 11 after a visitor tested positive for coronavirus. It had been scheduled to run to March 15. Many other fairs, such as Miart in Milan, are looking at postponement or rescheduling. In Ireland the National Antiques Fair due to be held in Limerick on March 21 and 22 is to be rescheduled to a future date.

    Nanne Dekking, Chairman of the board of trustees at TEFAF said: “Given
    the recent developments in the regions around Maastricht and increasing
    concerns, we no longer feel it is appropriate to continue as planned. We
    want to thank our exhibitors, visitors and staff for their trust and support
    in this unprecedented situation. The TEFAF community has always excelled
    in bringing the best art in the world to Maastricht, we are proud to have
    witnessed how professional and how united our TEFAF family stood during
    this fair and unprecedented circumstances.”


    Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020

    The design created by Theo van Doesburg (1883 -1931) for the historical Café L’Aubette building, at the Place Kléber in Strasborg would become one of the most iconic works of De Stijl. It will feature at Galerie Gmurzynska (Stand 404), part of TEFAF Modern Art at TEFAF Maastricht which runs from March 7 – 15. The colour design for the ceiling and three walls of the building, as part of a conversion into a complex of restaurants, bars, caberet and cine-dancing hall, was commissioned i 1926. van Doesburg worked with Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber Arp to create the design, still on display today.

    Color design for ceiling and three walls for the Café L’Aubette ciné-dancing wallpainting
    in Strasburg, gouache on paperboard, 1926-1927, by Theo van Doesburg (1883 – 1931). Image courtesy Galerie Gmurzynska


    Monday, March 18th, 2019

    TEFAF Maastricht 2019 held two preview days for its 32nd edition, before opening to the public last Saturday. Sales were strong and buying continued over the opening weekend across all sections of the Fair. First time exhibitor Fergus McCaffrey said, “We were delighted by the response to Barry X Ball’s solo presentation on our stand at TEFAF Maastricht. The level of interest has been incredible! As a result, at this stage, there are two major commissions being discussed and we expect to confirm 3 or 4 other sales in the next few days.” TEFAF Maastricht continues until Sunday 24th March, at the MECC.

    The Fair opened with to great optimism when the centrepiece of Dickenson Femme nue couchée by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) sold to a private collector within the first minutes. The large oil-on-canvas, portraying Renoir’s favourite model Gabrielle, commanded the front of the Dickinson stand and attracted much attention from visitors. An 18th-century Doll’s House, known as Anna Maria Tripp’s House, which has remained in the same family for many generations was on the market for the first time and was sold by John Endlich Antiquairs to a Foundation which will lend it to a Dutch museum on a long term loan

    TEFAF Maastricht continues until Sunday March 24.

    John Endlich Antiquair
    A view of the 2019 Fair


    Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

    The Abduction of Ganymede’, 1635, by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 – 1669)

    Highlights from the Dresden State Art Collections will be shown at the loan exhibition at TEFAF Maastricht from March 16-24.  The exhibtion will be a prelude to the opening of the State Apartments at Dresden’s Royal Palace in September and the reopening of the Semper Building, home to the Old Masters Picture Gallery, next December.  A total of 23 works from the State Apartments, the Royal Palace, the Semper Building and the Sculpture collection will be on show.  At TEFAF there will be a chance to see works such as The Abduction of Ganymede 1635 by Rembrandt before they go on permanent display in Dresden.

    The opening of the State Apartments in September will be the culmination of an extensive restoration and refurbishment project.  In 1997 the Saxon State Government decided to recreated the suite of rooms opened by August the Strong in September 1719 which had been destroyed in the war.  Outstanding textiles, porcelain and furniture will illustrate the splendour of the Saxon Court within the State Apartments.

    Highlights to be shown include the Crown of August  the Strong, Elector of Saxony, King of Poland, created in 1697 (from the Rüstkammer); a rare series of five Meissen vases, four depicting the elements and one centre vase bearing the coat of arms and portrait of Ludwig XV, created by Johann Joachim Kändler (from the Porzellansammlung); the extraordinary painting The Abduction of Ganymede, 1635, by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 – 1669) (from the Gemäldegalerie); and an exquisite sculpture, Apollo and Daphne, after Bernini, which dates c.1700 (from the Skulpturensammlung).


    Sunday, March 19th, 2017

    A unique collection of 750 exquisite watercolours of animals, birds and plants from the late Renaissance period from TEFAF is to be exhibited at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  The Natural History Paper Museum of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II was one of the most extraordinary items on offer at this year’s TEFAF and dates from the late Renaissance period.  The albums were purchased by a private collector from Antiquariat Bibermuehle AG Heribert Tenschert for a seven figure sum and will be on long term loan to the museum.  Compiled between 1596 and 1610 as a compendium of zoology and botany—a Historia Naturalis—by Rudolph II’s court physician, Anselmus de Boodt they have remained together for four centuries. The watercolours are still pristine.

    From common domestic and farmyard animals like dogs, cats, horses and cattle to exotic creatures such as the ostrich, walrus and porcupine and extinct ones such as the dodo and even a dragon ‘drawn from life’, the compendium offers a glimpse of the range of plants, animals and birds believed to exist at the dawn of the Dutch Golden Age. Although De Boodt aimed to supply a faithful ‘scientific’ reproduction of each living thing, the animal illustrations in particular have a lively, humorous air that sets them apart from earlier models.

    The general director at the Rijksmuseum Taco Dibbits said: “This was the absolute sensation at TEFAF. Rarely, if ever does something come on the market that was made for Emperor Rudolph II. The colours are particularly fresh, which makes the drawings lively and attractive to the eye. It’s great that a private collector has made it possible for everyone to admire them.”


    Thursday, March 9th, 2017

    If you want Old Masters or modern giants, from Breughel to Monet to Van Gogh to Picasso, TEFAF in Maastricht is the place to be.  The European Fine Art Fair which runs from March 10 to 19 is an assembly of art, antiques and antiquities like no other. Business has been brisk at a press preview where some of the leading curators in the world rubbed shoulders with billionaires in pursuit of the range of the sometimes gobsmacking delights on offer.  London dealers Colnaghi made a five million euro sale at preview. Their previously unknown masterpiece by  Bartolomeo Cavarozzi (1587-1625) has been in the same family collection for over a century and had been misattributed.

    Where else can you expect to find a Van Gogh on a stand at a fair? His view of The New Church and Old Houses in The Hague is priced at 2.25 million at the Dutch Gallery Albricht and they anticipate a quick sale.  Quality and rarity abounds.  Histoire Ancienne jusqu’à César and Fait des Romains, c.1370-80, an illuminated manuscript on parchment with 78 miniatures by the Master of the Coronation of Charles VI, is at Les Enluminures.  This historical chronicle, with impeccable provenance and once in the collection of Chester Beatty, is priced at $4.5 million.  A lime wood and walnut Julius Caesar, c.1551 is the earliest recorded work and only-surviving wood sculpture by master sculptor Giambologna (1529-1608).  Tomasso brothers are seeking a price in the region of 1.5 million.  Everything here is rigorously vetted for authenticity.  Here is a small selection:

    This rediscovered work by Bartolomeo Cavarozzi sold for 5 million at Colnaghi

    Vincent van Gogh – The New Church And Old Houses In The Hague at Galerie Albricht

    A cabinet on stand with 13 drawers signed ‘Josef Frank 1965’ at the Swedish firm Modern or Svenskt Tenn priced at 36,000

    A large Monteith at Luis Allegria Ida priced at 290,000

    A pair of armchairs by Diego Giacometti at L’Arc en Seine priced at 650,000

    A Royal Neoclassical Table En Commode For The Personal Use Of King Vittorio at Burzio priced at 250,000.

    A Pair of ‘Soldier’ vases and covers at Jorge Welsh priced at 625,000

    Julius Caesar by Giambologna at Tomasso Brother priced in the region of 1.5 million

    An illuminated manuscript at Les Enluminures priced at $4.5 million

    Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)
    Mu Tamagawa (The Six Jewel Rivers), Kinta Tamagawa at Galerie Tanakaya priced at 65,000


    Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

    A selection of Italian paintings and sculptures from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries from the Galleria Borghese in Rome will make up the loan exhibition at The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) Maastricht this year.  This is the first time that so many important works will be exhibited outside of the Galleria in Rome. TEFAF runs from March 10-19.

    Among the highlights at the exhibition entitled ‘Galleria Borghese – An Italian Legacy’ are a large canvas by the Neapolitan painter, Giovanni Battista [Battistello] Caracciolo (c. 1578-1635) depicting David holding the head of Goliath and a recently restored painting by Dosso Dossi [Giovanni di Luteri] (c. 1486 – 1542), who was a court painter in the Renaissance Court of Ferrara. Melissa or The Sorceress Circe dates from around 1522.  Sculptural highlights include Capra Amaltea or The Amalthea Goat by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and Il Sonno or The Sleep by Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654).

    Giovanni Battista [Battistello] Caracciolo (c. 1578-1635) – David holding the head of Goliath

    Dosso Dossi [Giovanni di Luteri] (c. 1486 – 1542) – Melissa or The Sorceress Circe

    Capra Amaltea or The Amalthea Goat by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680)

    Il Sonno or The Sleep by Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654).


    Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

    Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) Portrait of an African Woman Holding a Clock, circa 1585

    Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) Portrait of an African Woman Holding a Clock, circa 1585

    A rare late 16th century portrait of An African Woman holding a Clock by Annibale Carracci (1560-1609) will be brought to TEFAF, The European Fine Art Fair at Maastricht by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art. A full provenance for the work by the renowned Italian Baroque artist has been established and it includes King Philip V of Spain and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The oil on canvas portrait was painted circa 1585 and depicts a finely dressed African woman holding a gilded clock and commanding a direct gaze.  She wears a necklace of coral, pearl earrings, and intriguingly presents to the viewer a timepiece of extreme luxury and technological advancement, perhaps reflecting the sitter’s, or patron’s, modernity and intellect.

    During the 1580s Annibale Carracci was painting the most radical and innovative pictures in Europe. He introduced a new, broken brushwork technique to represent the effects of light on form, which gave his works an intimacy and immediacy.

    In-depth research by Leeds and London based Tomasso Brothers has revealed the rich history of this unusual painting; it passed from the studio of the artist Carlo Maratti (1625-1713) to Philip V of Spain via one of Maratti’s disciples, Andrea Procaccini (1671-1734), who was painter to Phillip V and in charge of decorating the monarch’s new palace San Ildefonso in Segovia.  In August 1812 the painting was made a gift to Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, along with 11 other works, following his stay at San Ildefonso Palace during the Spanish War of Independence.  It remained in a private collection until sold by Christie’s London in 2005.  The work was shown at The Walters Art Museum and Princeton University Art Museum (USA 2013) in the exhibition ‘Revealing the African presence in Renaissance Europe’. TEFAF is at Maastricht from March 10-19.


    Monday, March 14th, 2016


    Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641)  Jupiter as a satyr (A fragment cut from Jupiter and Antiope)

    Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641)
    Jupiter as a satyr (A fragment cut from Jupiter and Antiope)

    Significant sales are being notched up at TEFAF, which runs all this week at Maastricht in The Netherlands.  Among them was  Jupiter as a Satyr – a fragment cut from Jupiter and Antiope, c.1620, oil on canvas, by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), which was acquired from The Weiss Gallery by a private collector who is making a long-term loan of the work to the Rubenshuis museum, Antwerp.  The Metropolitan Museum, New York, acquired Aristoteles Head, 1925, woodcut print, by Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita (1868-1944), from E.H. Ariëns Kappers.  James Butterwick sold two 1916 works by Alexander Bogomazov to the Kröller-Müller Museum, The Netherlands – Memories of the Caucasus and Landscape, Caucasus.

    TEFAF reports that sales across all collecting categories are strong.  Over 10,000 international private collectors, curators and representatives from the world’s leading museums and public institutions visited on the preview day and there was more than 7,000 visitors on the opening day.