The European Fine Arts Fair, sometimes inelegantly called TEFAF other times simply referred to as Maastricht for the host city, opened yesterday. With the opening came a flood of sale reports. The Master, Judd Tully, discovers a lot of re-discovered masterworks in his tour of the shows A+ offerings. There was a newly re-discovered Fontana (this is getting to be a habit with the artist), a newly re-discovered Chaim Soutine and a Schiele that hadn’t been seen in 60 years. Tully also uncovered some sales from Munich’s Galerie Thomas and others:
The gallerist revealed several early sales of works by other artists, including a ravishing watercolor by Wassily Kandinsky, Brauner Strahl (Brown Ray) from 1924, which earned in the range of €1 million, and a signed Emil Nolde watercolor on thick Japan paper, Bruder und Schwester (Brother and Sister), from circa 1938, which fetched approximately €400,000.
The Nolde sold to a couple from the Near East that the gallery hadn’t previously known. “We were very happy to make that contact,” said Thomas. “They certainly knew what they were doing.”
That high degree of connoisseurship among buyers also struck home at the stand of London/Zurich gallery Hauser & Wirth, which sold three cast versions of Louise Bourgeois’s “Personnage” series to a single collector for approximately $1 million each.
Tully reports that Laurence Graff bought a Jean-Michel Basquiat boxer painting from 1982 from Christopher Van de Weghe but Bloomberg’s Scott Reyburn adds a little twist to the tale (plus a raft of other sale reports):
U.K. jeweler Laurence Graff sold a diamond for $5 million and bought a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting for 3.5 million euros ($4.5 million) yesterday as the world’s largest antiques and art fair opened in the Netherlands. [ . . . ] “Cash is useless at the moment,’’ said Francois Graff, Laurence’s son, and chairman of the jewelers that bear his name. [ . . . ]
Edgar Degas’s 1894 pastel “Toilette matinale,’’ displayed in the booth of London-based dealers and agents Dickinson, sold for between 10 million euros and 20 million euros a few days before the fair, Heinrich zu Hohenlohe, a director of the company, said.
Hours before the fair opened, Daniella Luxembourg, a London-based dealer, sold Luciano Fabro’s 1970 lead-and-wood sculpture of a map of Italy, “Sullo stato,’’ for 700,000 euros from her themed exhibition of contemporary works, titled “Disasters.’’ The purchase was made by a European collector on the telephone, said Luxembourg. [ . . . ]
“Dealers are feeling more optimistic,” said David Dallas, of the London-based dealer Johnny van Haeften Ltd, which sells Old Master paintings. “The success of the YSL sale does seem to have had some effect. It’s crystallized people’s ideas. It’s made them remember that objects have been used for asset protection for such a long time. Sales so far are about the same as last year.”
Van Haeften had sold three paintings, with one more reserved in the early hours of the fair, said Dallas. A river landscape by the 17th-century Dutch artist Maerten Ryckaert sold for 800,000 pounds ($1.1 million) to a European collector, said Dallas.
“We’ve done well,’’ said London-based Renaissance sculpture dealer Daniel Katz, another first-time exhibitor, who sold a 16th-century bronze of Neptune by the Italian sculptor Tiziano Minio for between 300,000 euros and 500,000 euros. The buyer was another European collector, said Katz.
“We’ve seen curators from the Getty Museum, the National Gallery of Washington, Houston and the Fitzwilliam and Ashmolean museums in England,’’ said Katz.
TEFAF: Europe’s Grandest Fair Projects Confidence (ArtInfo.com)