Talk of economic crisis may be in the air everywhere but here at Maastricht. The last two days have seen the aisles of TEFAF flooded with thousands of visitors vying to see the latest finds of the most prestigious art, antiquity and jewelery dealers. Whilst today marked the official opening, a significant number of pieces have already been acquired and whisked away by eager collectors.
Contemporary art overlooked
Over the 270 galleries present at the 2016 edition of the fair, 52 present modern works, without doubt at detriment to certain who might actually want to participate in this unique fair. The quality of the presentation is unquestionable, however it is the rarity of pieces by the biggest names of art history that make for exciting discoveries rather than the presence of any new artists, even in the contemporary section.
Among some of the best modern presentations isA�Dickinsona��s imposing 1925 Delaunay painting,A�Ville de Paris, la Femme, la Tour Eiffel, composed of two panels measuring 450 x 90cm, on offer for a��4.5 million, whilst a Picasso portrait of CA�cile Eluard is on offer for a��3.2 million. Picasso, the authoritative star of art fairs, above all TEFAF, can be found in all his forms across the Maastricht fair at record prices. A number of works on paper, a portrait atA�HammerA�New York for $5.5 million; a portrait of FranA�oise Gilot (1946) for $1.2 million or aA�combat du centaurA�(1946) for a��300,000 at Galeria Sur. AtA�LandauA�Bateaux sur la plage A� CollioureA�(1905) et RA�gates A� Trouville (1907), two small paintings from AndrA� Deraina��s Fauve period stand out whilst Antoine Laurentin presents an impressive stand, filled exclusively with works on paper by Joseph Sima, realized between 1959 and 1960. The series of work was recently displayed at the Hospice Saint-Roch in Issoudun, France; nicknamed the Architect of Light by his gallerist Paul Facchetti, Joseph Simaa��s drawings prove a stunning study on the plays of the transparency of light.
The pleasant surprises
There are a few pleasant surprises, notably Frida Kahloa��s plaster corset, on display at Galeria Sur, Montevideo and Punta del Este, asking price a��3.5 million. The Mexican artist, crippled by polio, often referenced her illness throughout her artworks. The corset in question was worn by Khalo during a nine-month stint in hospital for an operation on her spine and is decorated entirely by the artist herself. The hammer and sickle is a blatant reminder of Kahlo’s fidelity to the communist party whilst the fetus is a cruel reminder of the artista��s unfulfilled desire for a child.
Elsewhere at A�Alon ZakaimA�AndrA� Lhote is deservedly spotlighted with the presentation ofA�14 juillet en AvignonA�(1930). Lhote is an oft-forgotten or overlooked figure of art history, yet he was one of the seminal figures of Modern art in his time. The piece presented by Alon Zakaim is a variant on a more contemporary version housed within the collection of the Centre Pompidou at an asking price of a��195,000.A�Ben BrownA�also turned heads with an immense canvas measuring 309x400cm by Miquel Barcelo entitledA�Atelier avec GorilleA�(2008).
AndrA�A�Lhote,A�14 juillet en Avignon, 1930
Alon Zakaim Fine Art
The cream of the crop
It is a questionable trend to fill your booth with as many works as possible at TEFAF, and so the galleries that left space for reflection between pieces for the large part stand head and shoulders above the rest. At Karsten Greve, Paris, Cologne, Saint-Moritz, the booth is adorned with a majestic Cy Twombly Untitled (Gaeta) (2004), supported by works by Lucio Fontana, David Smith, Gotthard Graubner and Joel Schapiro. At Tornabuoni, there is a red and white theme, the post-war Italian specialists have a large curved Paolo Scheggi occupying almost the entirety of the right side of the booth entitled Superficie bianca, posted in dialogue with Superficie rossa (1963) which occupies the opposite side of the stand. This game of symmetry reigns over the stand with Concetto spaziale. Attese by Fontana (1966) echoing Rosso nero (1955) by Alberto Burri.
Cy Twombly,A�Untitled (Gaeta)
A� Cy Twombly, Courtesy Galerie Karsten Greve St Moritz, Paris, Cologne