The BRAFA opens in Brussels

22/1/11 – Brussels, Art market – The BRAFA opened its doors on 20 January in Brussels. This art fair assembles almost all of the various specialties from Asian art to comic strips, from Greek antiquity to contemporary painting. Western art from the Middle Ages to the 30’s, The Art Tribune’s field, is also well represented here.

1. Colmar, middle of the XIVth century
Saint John
Wood - H. 122 cm
Brussels, Klaas Muller Antiques
Photo : Didier Rykner

2. Luca Faydherbes (1617-1697)
The Child Jesus Meditatins on the Cross, c. 1652-1655
Terracotta - H. 53 cm
Brussels, Galerie Francis Carrette
Photo : Didier Rykner

One of the most remarkable works for France can be seen at the Klaas Muller Antique Gallery of Brussels. It deserves to be listed as a cultural asset of national importance so as to attract a patron as this is a Saint John in oak (ill. 1) which was part of a group from the Calvary and was sold by the Jesuit convent in Colmar in the early 19th century, along with the companion piece, a Virgin. The two sculptures were replaced by painted plaster casts which reside, with the Christ on the Cross, in the apse of the cathedral. This object really should join the collections at the Musée d’Unterlinden.
Another sculpture, though later and Flemish, by Luca Faydherbe (ill. 2) stands out at the Francis Carrette Gallery. The marble replica is held at the Musée in Malines, and the entry in the catalogue for the exhibition Rubens et son temps in 1977, put forth the theory that the head, which had broken off then was glued back on, was not the one on the original sculpture. This terracotta, rediscovered, which is almost identical but still retains the cross explaining Christ’s gesture, proves the opposite.

3. Firmin Massot (1766-1849)
Portrait of the Marquise de Chamillard, 1810
Oil on canvas - 87.5 x 69 cm
Monaco, Galerie Grippaldi
Photo : Galerie Grippaldi

4. Jean-Jacques Lagrenée (1739-1821)
Portrait of the Wike of the General Boudet and Her
Two Children Behing the Bust of the General
, 1814
Oil on canvas -72.5 x 58.5 cm
Paris, Galerie Alexis Bordes
Photo : Galerie Alexis Bordes

Among the old masters, there are notably two Neoclassical works. A superb woman’s portrait by the Geneva artist, Firmin Massot (ill. 3), with extraordinary white tones, painted in collaboration for the landscape with Toepffer (Grippaldi gallery) and an amazing, and late, Jean-Jacques Lagrenée (ill. 4), much different from what is usually seen by this artist (Alexis Bordes gallery).

5. Jacques Fouquières (1590/91-1659)
Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters, 1616
Oil on panel - 64 x 84 cm
Paris, Galerie Florence de Voldère
Photo : Galerie Florence de Voldère

6. Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946)
Dike, Ostende, Light Reflects, 1908
Ink wash and watercolor on paper - 47.8 x 39.5 cm
Paris, Galerie David Lévy & Associés
Photo : Galerie David Lévy

Turning back two centuries earlier, we find a David Teniers at the Jacques Leegenhoek gallery and a Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters (Florence de Voldère gallery) (ill. 5), a rare painting from his youth which is still very Flemish by the landscape artist Jacques Fouquières who was Philippe de Champaigne’s master and came to Paris to paint, notably at the Palais du Luxembourg, then becoming an artist considered to be part of the French school.

We conclude this short review by crossing over into the early 20th century (1908) with a beautiful ink wash and watercolour by Léon Spilliaert (ill. 6) exhibited at the Parisian gallery of David Lévy & Associates. We would also like to point out, at the same stand, a fascinating gouache by Frantisek Kupka representing a sort of infernal divinity but which we cannot reproduce here, unfortunately. Finally, the Vincent Lécuyer gallery offers three projects for gouache posters by Manuel Orazi (1860-1934), for the film Atlantide by Jacques Feyder (1920-1921).

BRAFA, Brussels, Tour & Taxis, from 21 to 30 January 2011, from 11am to 7pm (Internet website).

Didier Rykner, samedi 22 janvier 2011

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