At the TEFAF stand of Tornabuoni Arte, Alighero Boetti’s “Mappa del Mundo” (1980), viewed through tulips. (All photos: UnBeige)
Armory Week has come and gone in New Amsterdam, but the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) is just beginning in the Dutch town of Maastricht. Gluttons for masterpieces, we decided to take a field trip. With some 265 exhibiting art and antiques dealers, the 26th edition of the fair opened to the public today after a vernissage that, in the words of a colleague, “makes Art Basel look like a slum”–all savvy lighting, high ceilings, and spacious aisles bursting with tulips, thanks to fair designer Tom Postma.
TEFAF has long been a must for collectors of Old Masters and antiques, and in recent years has boosted its offerings in modern and contemporary art, design, and photography. Were the fair crass enough to have a slogan, it would be “where the museums shop.” We arrived in Maastricht and, fortfied with stroopwafels, set out to see works spanning 6,000 years of history. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that the fair runs through March 24. Here are 25 of our early favorites.
The multilayered stand of Axel Vervoodt. We couldn’t muster the courage to ask him whether he receives a monthly royalty check from Restoration Hardware.
Wartski of London offers (for six figures) the shot that almost killed Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Fired–maybe accidentally, maybe as an assassination attempt–in 1906, the lead pellet was mounted in gold by Carl Fabergé and presented to the tsar as a creepy souvenir.
Among the standouts in the design section of the fair: a 1921 Wiener Werkstatte table lamp by Dagobert Peche (at Bel Etage, Wolfgang Bauer, Vienna) and a preppy combination of works by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld (at Galerie Ulrich Fiedler).
Claude Lalanne‘s “Grand Lapin de Victoire” (2001) stands sentry at the Ben Brown Fine Arts stand and keeps an eye on the 1984 Basquiat across the way, at Tornabuoni Arte.
At the stand of Robert Hall, bottles, bottles everywhere, but not a drop to drink.