TEFAF Update

The NY Times ran a good article on the activity at TEFAF. The article notes that there is more than $4 billion worth of art on exhibition and for sale ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary art.  The report states sales are strong for new items and for the best items. Fair attendance is up about 5% and they expect a total of 75,000 people to attend.

The NY Times reports
Every March, in a cavernous convention center here, the European Fine Art Fair presents a far bigger picture of the international art world. This 10-day event, which opened on Thursday, takes in the entire sweep of art history. On view is more than $4 billion worth of art, objects and antiquities, including the sandstone torso of an Egyptian general (circa 300 B.C.), for $12.4 million, and one of three pairs of wooden shoes carved and worn by Gauguin in 1889, for about $500,000. An ornately carved bird cage from 1900 had a price tag of $271,000.

Much of what the fair’s 274 dealers brought this year reflects today’s current tastes and fashions. But it isn’t only about demand. Supply is an issue here, too, with fewer blockbusters than in years past because, dealers say, they just aren’t coming up for sale.

“What’s disappearing are the very great things and the very new,” said Scott Schaefer, who recently announced his retirement as senior curator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and who spent two days with scores of colleagues vetting the objects for sale. “But there are some very good artworks here this year.”

And the best things sold fast, even if they had been recently auctioned. One of the fair’s standouts, “The Supper at Emmaus,” by the Italian Baroque painter Bernardo Strozzi, was snapped up on Saturday by an unidentified collector said to be American. Otto Naumann, the New York dealer, admits he took a risk when he bought the painting at Christie’s in London in December for $1.5 million. “I knew it was reckless, kind of suicidal,” Mr. Naumann said. “The painting was so dark, it looked as though it had been in a fire. There were two layers of varnish with dirt trapped in between them.” Yet if it cleaned well, Mr. Naumann said, he knew he’d have a winner on his hands. The London restorer Henry Gentle spent months removing the grime and varnish and discovered a highly detailed scene of Jesus at a table breaking bread. The asking price was $3.5 million.

Collectors from all over the world could be seen perusing the booths. Among those spotted were Michel David-Weill, the former chairman of Lazard Frères; J. Tomilson Hill, vice-chairman of the Blackstone Group, and his wife, Janine; Frederick W. and Candace K. Beinecke, the New York collectors; Dimitri Mavrommatis, the Greek financier; and Ma Weidu, the Chinese collector and television personality.

General attendance was up about 5.2 percent, according to Titia Vellenga, a spokeswoman for the fair, citing the strength of the global art market. By the time the fair ends on March 25 she estimates that about 75,000 people will have come, compared with about 70,000 last year.
Source: The NY Times

No comments: