By PAUL LASTER, Mar. 2017
Open to the public for ten continuous days while attracting international connoisseurs of art and design from the full course of history, TEFAF Maastricht is a cultural phenomenon.
Celebrating its 30th year, the venerable art and antiques fair features some of the most amazing booths displaying world-class masterpieces, which intriguingly range from the indigenous and classical to the modern and contemporary.
One New York art collector calls the fair “The Metropolitan Museum of Art with price tags,” while TEFAF designer Tom Postma, who also designs the renowned Art Basel fairs, considers it “the most beautiful art fair in the world.”
“It’s different here,” Postma shared with us on opening day. “There’s a more classic or timeless approach than a contemporary art fair, which is more edgy. But still it has to have some wild moments, while staying strong.”
Besides planning the look and feel of the overall fair, Postma designed TEFAF Curated—showcasing the exhibition “La Grande Horizontale,” organized by Calouste Gulbenkian Museum director Penelope Curtis—and the Special Exhibition, which featured Rome’s legendary Galleria Borghese. And not to be done there, he designed 30 gallery booths, as well, at this year’s fair.
In TEFAF Design, Paris’s Yves Macuax presented a solo booth of Viennese Secessionist artist and designer Kolomon Moser’s geometric furniture and lighting and New York’s Demisch Danant exhibited Jacques Dumond and Joseph-André Motte’s sophisticated post-war pieces, while in TEFAF Antiques Galerie Perrin from Paris styled an imaginary room around an elegant 19th-century Italian brass bed.
Another standout of the Antiques section was the London and Hong Kong Asian art gallery Rossi & Rossi, which featured stunning examples of Buddhist sculptures from Nepal, Tibet, China and Southeast Asia. Likewise, in TEFAF Tribal Paris’ Galerie 1492 displayed exquisite sculptures from Pre-Columbian period and Bernard de Grunne - Tribal Fine Arts from Brussels filled its booth with striking historical artifacts from Africa and New Guinea.
Highlights from TEFAF Modern included abstract paintings by Frank Stella and Enoc Perez and a figurative construct by Jean-Michel Basquiat at New York’s Van de Weghe Fine Art; abstract paintings by Gavin Turk, Ron Gorchov and Peter Halley paired with a floor sculpture by Carl Andre at Brussels’ Maruani Mercier Gallery; and a play of red and blue artworks by Billy Apple and Tadaaki Kuwayama at The Mayor Gallery from London and monochromatic pieces at Tornabuoni Art, which has spaces in Paris, London, Florence and Milan.
And—this year—there were incredible thematic shows in all sections of the fair, including the amusing botanical-inspired "Flower Secrets" at Galerie Patrice Trigano from Paris and the powerful religious-referencing “The Face of Devotion" at Madrid ‘s Galeria Caylus, along with the third edition of TEFAF Curated, the exhibition "La Grande Horizontale,” which explored the notion of the horizontal.
“I’ve been working with sculpture related to the vertical and horizontal for some time and have been thinking about the reclining figure, so when I was invited to curate a show I immediately thought of this theme,” the exhibition’s curator Penelope Curtis told us at the fair. “I gave a series of lectures about this direction at the National Gallery and Yale two years ago so I’ve been considering the idea of the horizontal for a while now. It’s a good way to bring together historical and contemporary work, as well as the figurative and abstract.”
Offering a cultural dialogue between contemporary art and older works gathered from dealers throughout the fair, “La Grande Horizontale” capsulized TEFAF in a way that paid homage to its past while shining a light on a pathway to its future.
Scroll through the images below to view more of our favorite booths. WM
Paul Laster is a writer, editor, independent curator, artist and lecturer. He is a New York desk editor at ArtAsiaPacific and a contributing editor at Whitehot and artBahrain. He was the founding editor of Artkrush.com and Artspace.com and art editor of Flavorpill.com and Russell Simmons's OneWorld Magazine; started TheDailyBeast.com's art section; and worked as a photojournalist for Artnet.com and Art in America. He is a frequent contributor to Time Out New York, New York Observer, Modern Painters, ArtPulse and ArtInfo.com.view all articles from this author