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TEFAF Maastricht, the world’s leading art fair, is renowned for its commitment to excellence, expertise and elegance. This is evidenced by the range and quality of rare works of art that are for sale at the Fair, which is held in the MECC from 14 – 23 March 2014

Objects being shown at the 2014 Fair include an evocative Impressionist spring scene by Sisley; a silver soup tureen on stand commissioned by Catherine the Great: a rare photograph by Charles Nègre and a unique Tibetan màndala.

Rossi & Rossi, London is bringing an 11th century Vajradhatu mandala that is not only very rare but is also of monumental size, measuring 125 x125 cm.  A mandala, literally a circle, is a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism representing the Universe and is used as an aid to mediation and as a teaching tool. This màndala represents possibly the earliest extant painted rendition of Buddhist symbolism and Indian conceptions, as well as aesthetics. It has been in a private European collection since the 1980s and has been extensively published.
Old Master painting, particularly work by Dutch and Flemish Old Masters, is one of the great strengths of TEFAF Maastricht.   Koetser Gallery, Zurich is exhibiting a large elegant panel by Jan van Kessel the Elder (1626-1679) whose still-lifes are acknowledged for their vivid colour and attention to detail. Previously unknown, this painting of Tulips, roses, peonies and other flowers in a roemer is one of van Kessel’s largest flower paintings and can be dated to the 1650s, a period of great productivity and prosperity for the artist.

Printemps à Veneux by Alfred Sisley (1839-1899), which is being shown by Richard Green, London, reflects the artist’s delight in a new season and a new location, and the painting exudes vitality and joy.  The painting brilliantly combines strong composition with a complex handling of paint that expresses the energy of spring.  Sisley was the only Impressionist to paint landscapes almost exclusively; his chief interest was in trying to represent the mood and atmosphere of nature, producing studies of the changes in colour, which different seasons brought to a particular scene.

Known as much for being a pictorial satirist and credited with pioneering Western sequential art as much as for his painting, William Hogarth (1697-1764) was one of the most popular and influential British artists of the 18th century.   The Fine Art Society, London is bringing a version of Hogarth’s Beggar’s Opera II, dated 1728, to TEFAF. It has been in private hands since the 18th century and has not previously been on the market.  This is a major work by the artist and is expected to arouse a great deal of interest from both private and institutional collectors.

Totentanz der Mary Wigman, 1926/28, is an extraordinarily strong and vivid painting by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) of the pioneer of Expressionist dance, Mary Wigman, which has been widely exhibited throughout its history and is being brought to TEFAF by Galerie Henze & Ketterer, Bern and Basel.  In contrast to the strong colour and dramatic lines of the Kirchner, is a small but delightful monochromatic work by Max Ernst (1891-1976), depicting a bird in a cage with total simplicity of line, which will be exhibited on the stand of Galerie Berès, Paris.  

Work by close friend and associate of Max Ernst’s, Jean (Hans) Arp (1887-1966) can be found on the stand of Marlborough Fine Art, London. The bronze sculpture, Metamorphosis (Shell – Swan- Swing) 1935 was exhibited in the seminal exhibition of Arp’s work at MoMA in 1958.  Arp made the transition from wooden wall reliefs of the 1920s to freestanding sculpture in about 1930 – the present piece is well known within his oeuvre.  Sculpture can also be seen on the stand of Landau Fine Art, Montreal, which will be exhibiting Family Group, a bronze created by Henry Moore (1898-1986) in 1947.  

Senger Bamberg Kunsthandel, Bamberg specialises in early European works of art and this year is bringing an exquisite early triptych of the Holy Family made in Brussels in the late 15th century by the Master of the Barbara Legend.  The central panel depicts the Holy Family. On the right there is an image of St. James with the benefactress and on the left the benefactor kneels before another saint.  The triptych was formerly in the collection of Baron of Thüngen, Rossbach Castle. A soup tureen on stand from the magnificent Orloff service commissioned by Catherine the Great (1729-1796) from Jacques Nicolas Roettiers and given to Count Gregori Orloff (1734-1783) is being offered for sale by Koopman Rare Art, London.

Photography is a specialism that has been growing in importance at TEFAF in recent years.  Dealer in important early photographic works, Hans P Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs, New York is showing a compositionally strong work entitled Le tailleur de pierre by Charles Nègre (1820-1880).  Nègre trained as a painter and applied the sense of formal arrangement and composition that he had learned in the painting studio to the medium of photography.  Despite its instantaneous appearance, this is a posed picture made with a three second exposure. Galleri K, Oslo will be showing large scale work by Andreas Gursky including Mayday IV 2000, a C-print from an edition of 6, 208 x 508 cm.  Gursky’s work sets forth an image of contemporary reality by embracing the persuasiveness of advertising at the same time as paying acute attention to the strictures of documentary photography.

In TEFAF Haute Joaillerie jeweller Gianmaria Buccellati is bringing a contemporary tulle bracelet made from yellow gold and diamonds entitled Ducale.  The bracelet is inspired by the Doge’s Palace, facing the Piazza San Marco in Venice  - the texture is soft, the lines of its design are light and the floral motifs of the palace’s façade are reproduced all along the band in yellow gold, set with brilliant-cut diamonds and enhanced by a contour of leaves.
Art, more than an Asset
TEFAF shares its view of art as more than an asset with its principal sponsor, AXA Art. Their partnership provides art collectors with unique expertise covering the full range of risk prevention, conservation, recovery and restoration, to enable them to maintain their collections in the best possible condition.