Maastricht 2012, TEFAF’s Twenty-fifth Anniversary

1. Tilman Riemenschneider (c.1460-1531)
The Annunciation, c.1520-1525
Alabaster - 32 x 21.5 x 4 cm
Daniel Katz Ltd
Photo : Daniel Katz Ltd

The Maastricht Trade Fair is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. This year, however, the section on old masters which we highlight annually in our review seems a trifle less attractive than usual. An excellent level of quality of course, as always, but without the exceptional works that add to the excitement of this unique event. The fact that many paintings are already known after having often been shown over the past few years is not enough to discourage art lovers - it is hard to totally renew the offer from one year to the next - but some were exhibited at the exact same spot as last year, giving us a rather strange impression of déja-vu.

But TEFAF is so rich that this relative disappointment led us to spend more time in the section for art objects and to take a better look at sculptures. In both these sections, there are plenty of magnificent works.
At the Daniel Katz stand, visitors could admire a very rare alabaster relief with some of its polychrome finish still preserved, a late work of one of the greatest German sculptors, Tilman Riemenschneider representing The Annunciation (ill.1).

2. Alessandro Algardi (1598-1654)
Christ Carrying His Cross
Terracotta - 17.5 x 24.2 cm
Stair Sainty
Photo : Stair Sainty

3. Ercole Ferrata (1610-1686)
The Faith, c.1660/65
Terracotta - H. 40 cm
Kunsthandel Sascha Mehringer
Photo : Kunsthandel Sascha Mehringer

Baroque sculpture was very well represented, notably with several Roman terracottas of high quality, including one which we particularly admired, Christ Carrying His Cross by Algardi (ill. 2), at Stair Santy’s, a model for a known bronze with several replicas, then a project for a monument to Cardinal Lelio Falconieri at San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome by Ercole Ferrata (ill. 3), presented by Sascha Mehringer from Munich.

4. Attributed to Nicolas Cordier (c.1657-1612)
Bust of the Emperor Antoninus Pius
Marble - 86 x 66 cm
Tommaso Brothers Fine Art
Photo : Tommaso Brothers Fine Art

5. Attributed to Pietro Tacca (1577-1640)
and Ferdinando Tacca (1619-1686)
Crucifixion with the Virgin and Saint John
Bronze, Wood, Hard Stone - 112 x 51 x 21 cm
Photo : Voelant+Rovina

Another Roman work from the early 17th century was also very impressive at Tommaso Brothers’. This is a bust of the emperor Antoninus Pius, attributed to the sculptor from Lorraine but active in Rome, Nicolas Cordier (ill. 4).
From a later period, and Florentine, a very beautiful Crucifixion in gilt bronze attributed to Pietro and Ferdinando Tacca (ill. 5), at the Robilant+Voena stand, comes from the Koelliker collection in Milan and had been on deposit at the Cleveland Museum for two years.
Baroque Flemish works are also well represented : at the Julius Böhler stand, abounding with superb ivory pieces, a Crucifix in this same material is attributed to Luca Faydherbe (ill. 6).

6. Attributed to Luca Faydherbe (1617-1697)
Ivory - 60 x 42 cm
Kunsthandlung Julius Böhler
Photo : Kunsthandlung Julius Böhler

7. Henri de Triqueti (1807-1874)
Ewer of Hope,
Peace and Justice

Bronze - 41.5 x 20 x 13 cm
Yates-Trebosc-van Lelyveld
Photo : Yates-Trebosc-van Lelyveld

Besides Italian (and Flemish) Baroque art, one of our favorite periods in sculpture is French Romanticsm. At the Yates-Trebosc-van Lelyveld stand, we saw a superb bronze ewer by Henri de Triqueti (ill. 7) of which there is only one replica at the Musée Girodet in Montargis. The work is so remarkable that its detail and beauty are comparable to the most beautiful Renaissance pieces.
Two other objects can be seen only by lifting one’s eyes to the ceiling as these are a pair of models for terracotta lamps (ill. 8). Gierhards Fine Arts, where they can be found, attributes them to the same Henri de Triqueti. This identification is possible but not acknowledged. Their quality is however, remarkable. The figure of the winged skeleton is particularly notable (ill. 9).

8. Attributed to Henri de Triqueti (1807-1874)
Models for Lamps
Terracotta - Diameter : 58 cm
Gierhards Fine Arts
Photo : Gierhards Fine Arts

9. Attribué à Henri de Triqueti (1807-1874)
Model for Lamp, sketch
Terracotta - Diameter : 58 cm
Gierhards Fine Arts
Photo : Gierhards Fine Arts

10. Baroncelli Portraits Master
(Active in Bruges, Second Half of the XVth Century)
Oil on panel - 104 x 119.5 cm
Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd
Photo : Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd

Unfortunately, we cannot provide all the illustrations we would have liked of the section on art objects as we were not able to obtain or receive pictures of the works we found especially remarkable - and these were just a few among hundreds of others. Among them, at the Kugel stand, as magnificent as always, we would have liked to show the cabinet of Philip V of Spain. At Altomani & Sons’, among many splendid objects (including important majolica works), we particularly noticed a pair of Baroque candle-sticks by Giovanni Giardini. We also wished to reproduce a very beautiful table with a malachite top given by Tsar Alexander II to Frederick William III of Prussia but the antique dealer presenting it has not yet sent us anything.

Despite our opening statement, remarkable paintings are nonetheless plentiful. Among the oldest, we would point out a Pentecost by the Baroncelli Portraits Master (ill. 10) at the Jean-Luc Baroni stand.

11. Charles Dauphin (1615-1677)
Alexander the Great and Bucephalus
Oil on Canvas - 124.5 x 113 cm
Galerie Eric Coatalem
Photo : Galerie Eric Coatalem

12. Jean Le Clerc (c.1585/87-1633)
Saint Francis Meditating, c.1625
Oil on Canvas - 160 x 130 cm
Galerie Jean-François Heim
Photo : Galerie Jean-François Heim

Although we already knew them, we cannot help but commend Eric Coatalem for his purchase of the seven studies by Jean-François de Troy auctioned at Sotheby’s (see news item of 17/6/11 in French), a unique ensemble, of heritage value, which will probably leave France permanently. The dealer acted professionally in doing his work, which cannot always be said of others... At his stand, we also would like to point out a superb painting by Charles Dauphin (ill. 11).
Another artist from Lorraine of the 17th century, Jean Le Clerc, the author of a very beautiful painting acquired recently by the Louvre (see news item of 29/10/11), can be seen at the Jean-François Heim stand (ill. 12).

13. Simone Peterzano (1535-1599)
Angelica and Medoro
Oil on Canvas - 154.8 x 194 cm
Galerie Canesso
Photo : Galerie Canesso

14. Bernardo Strozzi
Pietà, c.1618-1620
Oil on Canvas - 94.2 x 132 cm
Galerie G. Sarti
Photo : Galerie G. Sarti

Sixteenth century Italian painting was particularly well represented at the Galerie Canesso, notably with a superb canvas by Simone Peterzano (ill. 13), Caravaggio’s master.
For the 17th century, we admired, at Giovanni Sarti’s, an unpublished painting by Orazio Riminaldi for which we did not receive a photograph, but we illustrate this article with one of the works, at the same dealer’s, which stood out the most at this fair : a Pietà by Bernardo Strozzi (ill. 14) from his youth. Another beautiful canvas by the same artist could be found at Agnews’. We reproduce here a very beautiful anonymous Saint Sebastian (ill. 15) which is no doubt the only work which was not for sale at the fair as the Argentinian dealer who presented it (and who does not specialize only in paintings) wishes to first identify the artist...

15. Italy, XVIIth century
Saint Sebastian Treated by Angels
Oil on Canvas
Galerie Jaimie Eguiguren
Photo : Galerie Jaimie Eguiguren

There are many 19th century paintings here. At Stair Santy’s, already mentioned earlier, besides an academic male nude by Théodore Géricault, we particularly noticed two female nudes, companion pieces, by Alexandre Dubois-Drahonet (ill. 16 and 17). The first, more classical, was exhibited at the Salon in 1831 while the second one, face on, and unusual for a female nude of this period as it does not conceal any of the lady’s feminine attributes including the hair, was no doubt conceived, as was its pair, for private use and would have been difficult to show at the Salon.

16. Alexandre Dubois-Drahonet (1791-1834)
Female Nude, face back, 1831
Oil on Canvas - 92 x 74.5 cm
Stair Sainty
Photo : Stair Sainty

17. Alexandre Dubois-Drahonet (1791-1834)
Female Nude, face on
Oil on Canvas - 81.6 x 72.2 cm
Stair Sainty
Photo : Stair Sainty

Our review is of course, as always, totally partial and subjective, a choice we fully assume, but it cannot reflect the extraordinary wealth of the fair. We could have included hundreds, even thousands, of other objects.
Every year, as for the past twenty-five, buyers crowd the aisles on opening night. Such a concentration of curators from major international museums and collectors from all over the world is impossible to find anywhere else. This year, the formula seems to have once again met with total success since we saw many red dots reflecting a dynamic market despite the crisis and many dealers clearly showed signs of their satisfaction. A visit to Maastricht is definitely a must for art lovers.

Visitor information : From 16 to 25 March 2012, open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (on 25th March until 6 p.m.). To go to the fair by train from Paris, take the Thalys to Liège then transfer to Maastricht (shuttles are available from the station to TEFAF).

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 19 mars 2012


We neglected to mention the exhibition of about forty drawings presented by the Fondation Custodia for the twenty-fifth anniversary of TEFAF. This would be an unfortunate omission as the hang is absolutely exceptional with sublime sheets by Leonardo da Vinci, Lorenzo di Credi, Guercino, Rubens...
TEFAF is not generally as rich in its offerings of graphic art as in other domains and the level of the Paper section is, except on occasion, not as high as could be expected. The masterpieces at Fritz Lugt’s (rounded out by a few recent purchases but also of very high quality) are well worth a visit to this floor though they tend to overshadow the sheets for sale nearby.

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