BRAFA 2012 in Brussels

21/1/12 - Art Market - Brussels, BRAFA - The BRAFA which opened on 20 January in Brussels continues to improve in quality every year.
True, old master paintings and drawings are, regrettably, fewer in number but this is compensated by the abundance of sculptures and, of course, art objects. Art of the second half of the 19th century and early 20th is also well represented here.

1. Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
Pencil, pen, ink and brown wash - 30 x 20.1 cm
Klaas Muller Antiques
Photo : Klaas Muller Antiques

2. Auguste Jean-Baptiste Vinchon (1789-1855)
Frightened Horses, c.1816-1817
Oil on Canvas - 72 x 162.5 cm
Galerie Mendes
Photo : Galerie Mendes

Old master paintings are however, not totally missing. There is for instance, a beautiful Lute Player by Jan Bijlert at the Jan Muller Gallery from Ghent. And Klaas Muller Antiques, Brussels, is offering a beautiful old master drawing, a Pentecost by Rubens (ill. 1), an early work in preparation for an engraving and which is an important rediscovery.
Several French dealers, regulars at the fair, are again present this year with some old masters, such as Alexis Bordes and Philippe Mendes but are also showing 19th century works. The latter is offering a superb study by Vinchon representing two horse heads (ill. 2), a partial and very free copy of The Battle of Ponte Milvio painted by Raphael and his study for the Hall of Constantine at the Vatican.
In old painting, there is also, at the Charly Bailly Gallery, a fine copper painted by the Austrian artist, Franz Christoph Janneck (ill. 3).

3. Franz Christoph Janneck (1703-1761)
The Christ Child surrounded by Mary, Joseph,
God the Father, Saint John the Baptist and Various Saints

Oil on Copper - 56.5 x 42 cm
Galerie Charly Bailly
Photo : A. Chenel

4. Jean Del Cour (1631-1707)
Saint James the Less
Terracotta - 43 x 20 x 13 cm
Galerie Benjamin Proust
Photo : Galerie Benjamin Proust

As we mentioned earlier, sculpture is particularly well represented this year. At the Benjamin Proust Gallery, visitors will see one of the most beautiful works of the fair, a terracotta (ill.4) which looks like it could have been signed by Bernini himself. This is in fact a study by the Liege artist, Jean del Cour who indeed worked in the Roman’s studio for seven years. Del Cour’s works [1] are particularly rare outside of the Curtius museum and practically impossible to find on the market.
Other, Medieval or Baroque, sculptures can be seen for example on the stands of Rainer Jungabauer and of Emar Robert Medieval Art.
Many Art Deco sculptures are on show this year, such as an ensemble of plaster casts by Victor Rousseau at the Lanz Gallery from Brussels.

5. France, Charles X Period
117 x 104 x 56.5 cm
The Couvent des Ursulines
Photo : The Couvent des Ursulines

6. Catalonia, c.1380
Procession Cross
Silver and Gilded Silver - 45.2 x 36.5 cm
Galerie Bernard de Leye
Photo : Galerie Bernard de Leye

Among the art objects, there are some very beautiful neo-Classical clocks at the Couvent des Ursulines, a gallery from Liege which is also presenting a Charles X furniture ensemble which is particularly elegant (ill. 5).
As for silver, we would point out the Frances Hanssens van der Maelen stand or that of D’Arschot & Cie, two Brussels merchants. However, the Bernard de Leye Gallery strikes us as presenting the most beautiful offerings overall, of which we particularly noticed an exceptional basin by the silversmith, Philips Lenoir, dating from 1692/1693, a gift offered by David Teniers to his mother. We would have liked to reproduce it here but the photograph was unfortunately not sent as promised . We are replacing it with a picture of a Procession Cross (ill. 6) from the same gallery.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 23 janvier 2012


[1] A 2007 exhibition featured his work (see article) which included this study.

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