Highlights from TEFAF Maastricht 2022 | Apollo Review

Excerpt from the June 2022 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.

Ja European Fine Arts Foundation (TEFAF) returns to Maastricht this month, with its first summer opening. The 35th edition of what one dealer called “the biggest fair in the world” will be held at the Maastricht Exhibition & Conference Center (MECC) from June 25-30, with 243 galleries and art and antique dealers representing 20 country and, after the last online event of the year, there is a buzz of excitement about this return to the real world. The list includes 21 new merchants, including six newly created galleries in the Showcase section. Here, Maria Howard selects her highlights from the works exhibited at the fair.

Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua (1602), Frans Pourbus the Younger
Weiss Gallery, price on request

One of London’s leading dealers in Old Master paintings, Weiss is displaying a recently discovered work by Flemish portrait painter Frans Pourbus the Younger, a contemporary of Peter Paul Rubens. Dated 1602, it depicts one of the artist’s most important patrons, Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua, in full ceremonial armour, with the Order of the Golden Fleece, conferred on him by Philip II of Spain in 1589. The work exemplifies the naturalism style that made Pourbus one of the most sought-after figures at court; it is also the only known portrait of the Duke to be signed by the artist, suggesting it was the original, painted version ad vivumon which later variants were based.

Vincenzo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua (1602), Frans Pourbus the Younger. Weiss Gallery, price on request

Still life (1963), Giorgio Morandi
Tornabuoni, 1 to 1.3 M€

Tornabuoni brings a work by one of the giants of Italian modernism, Giorgio Morandi. While many of Morandi’s paintings show bottles, vases, and vessels arranged in a horizontal line or cluster, in this Still life from 1963, the three objects were placed one behind the other in near perfect alignment. This striking composition is rendered in the artist’s characteristic muted tones, which became synonymous with the still life genre and one of the most sought after names of post-war Italy.

Painting by Giorgio Morandi

Still life (1963), Giorgio Morandi. Tornabuoni, 1 to 1.3 M€

Bastet (Egypt, 26th dynasty-30th dynasty; vs. 664-332 BC)
Chenel Gallery, $1.5 million

On the Galerie Chenel stand is one of TEFAF’s oldest works of art this year – an ancient Egyptian bronze cat dating from around 664-332 BC. The sculpture is believed to represent the goddess Bastet, whose worship was associated with the hearth and female fertility. With his delicately incised mustaches and a pendant in the shape of a ib, or heart, the work is an impressive example of the genre. It is also distinguished by its provenance, having passed through the hands of the Belgian noble Countess Della Faille de Leverghem as well as Daniel and Sylvia Wildenstein.

Bastet (Egypt, 26th dynasty-30th dynasty; vs 664-332 BC). Chenel Gallery, $1.5 million

Composition (1949), Nicolas de Stael
Waddington Custot, price on request

Nicolas de Stael Composition from 1949 is a preliminary study for a painting of the same name from 1950 and is in the Saint Louis Art Museum in Missouri. This highlight of Waddington Custot’s TEFAF stand is typical of Staël’s palette knife paintings in style and composition; the warm vermilion and brick red are offset by the gray-blue lines that border the color blocks like the seams of
A duvet. The Russian artist was an important figure in the School of Paris, and this painting – in a private collection for decades – was completed just as the artist was beginning to gain international recognition for his work.

Painting by Nicolas de Stael

Composition (1949), Nicolas de Stael. Waddington Custot, price on request

Ulysses (2022), Satoru Ozaki
A lighthouse called Kanata, price on request

A lighthouse called Kanata, based in Tokyo, represents contemporary Japanese artists who reinvent traditional mediums such as ceramics, glass and metalwork. A highlight of their TEFAF presentation this year is Ulysses by Satoru Ozaki, known for his rigorous methods of hammering and polishing stainless steel. Ozaki is deeply influenced by the ascetic ideals of Zen Buddhism. This sculpture invokes the ancient Greek hero to remind us of the long journey we must take in the search for peace and harmony. Its mirrored surface represents the enlightenment that may await us in the end, while its bold vertical form seems frozen in forward motion.

Painting by Satoru Ozaki

Ulysses (2022), Satoru Ozaki. A lighthouse called Kanata, price on request

Table (early 1970s), Carlo Scarpa
Axel Vervoordt, €24,000

This table with a marble top was made by the architect Carlo Scarpa for his assistant and friend Dante O. Benini in the early 1970s – Benini had requested “a table with the characteristics of our Venetian origins” for his office in Brazil. The flamed Verona red marble comes from the Morseletto workshop and the metal base is from the Zanon brothers. The piece returned to Italy when Benini opened a workshop in Milan and is now sold by Axel Vervoordt.

Carlo Scarpa table

Table (early 1970s), Carlo Scarpa. Axel Vervoordt, €24,000 Photo: © Jan Liégeois

The Astrolabe of San Zeno (Verona, cloister of San Zeno; vs. 1455)
Daniel Crouch Rare Books, price on request

Between the 15th and 18th centuries, this large astrolabe hung on the wall of the Benedictine Abbey of San Zeno in Verona, where it was used by the monks to organize their devotional program and track the phases of the moon and the zodiac calendar. . Dated to around 1455 and over 120 cm in diameter, it is the largest medieval astrolabe still in private hands and a remarkable testimony to the study of astronomy and time at that time. It is exhibited at Daniel Crouch Rare Books alongside a selection of “cartographic curiosities”.

The Astrolabe of San Zeno

The Astrolabe of San Zeno (Verona, cloister of San Zeno; vs. 1455). Daniel Crouch Rare Books, price on request

A pair of Italian late Baroque majolica sconces (1740–60), Ferniani Workshop, Faenza
Burzio, price on request

Burzio of Dover Street brings a pair of late Baroque majolica wall sconces to TEFAF this year. Licensed a big fuoco (high heat), the ceramic panels are decorated with an intricate pattern of fruit and flowers; they were made between 1740 and 1760, when the Ferniani workshop in Faenza was under the direction of Ignazio Passanti. Many monumental vases and tray glazes in styles close to these rare appliqués can be found in public collections such as the Adrien Dubouché National Museum in Limoges, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the V&A in London.

A pair of Italian late Baroque majolica appliqués

A pair of Italian late Baroque majolica appliqués (1740–60), Ferniani Workshop, Faenza. Burzio, price on request

A Chinese court lady, Tang dynasty
Oriental Art by Ben Janssens, £26,000

Ben Janssens Oriental Art presents a ceramic sculpture of a court lady dating from the Tang Dynasty (618-908 AD). This kind of plump figure is usually associated with Yang Guifei, the famous Tang concubine; however, recent excavations have unearthed similar figures which show that a “Rubensian” ideal of beauty was already the norm in the 720s, before Yang Guifei achieved fame. This courtesan wears an elaborate hairstyle and a flowing dress whose thick drape contrasts with her delicate hands.

A Chinese court lady figure

A Chinese court lady Tang dynasty
Oriental Art by Ben Janssens, £26,000

Pendulum representing Neptune and Diana (vs. 1796) Jean-Simon Bourdier
Léage Gallery, €200,000 – €300,000

More than 75 cm high, this monumental bronze and marble wall clock represents the figures of Neptune and Diana and was made by Jean-Simon Bourdier around 1796. It originally belonged to Jean Lanchère de Vaux (1727-1805), appointed postmaster of Versailles by the Duc de Polignac; a second example of this design was part of the Robert de Balkany collection. It will be presented by Galerie Léage at this year’s show, along with other 18th century furniture and art.

Pendulum representing Neptune and Diana

Pendulum representing Neptune and Diana (circa 1796) Jean-Simon Bourdier. Léage Gallery, €200,000 – €300,000

Shafran (vs. 1525), Attr. workshop of Koloman Helmschmied
Peter Finer, price on request

A shaffron, or muzzle, was usually worn by horses in battle to protect their face and ears; this year, London antiques dealer Peter Finer is bringing one of these extraordinary objects to TEFAF. Dating to around 1525, the steel armor is attributed to the Augsburg workshop of German metallurgist Koloman Helmschmied, whose pieces – known for their exquisite craftsmanship – are in the British Museum and the Met in New York. They are rarely seen in the market.

Shafran in steel and leather from the Augsburg workshop

Shafran (around 1525), Attr. workshop of Koloman Helmschmied. Peter Finer, price on request

Enclosed garden with animals (early 16th century), Southern Netherlands
De Wit, price on request

Renowned for the conservation and restoration of tapestries, De Wit presents a large fragment in wool and silk representing the motif of the hortus concludeus, or walled garden, typically used in medieval art to designate the purity of the Virgin Mary, or as a reference to the Garden of Eden. This example dates from around 1500-1525 and shows animals – mythological and real – surrounded by a red brick wall and a dazzling array of flowers and fruit trees.

Tapestry Enclosed garden with animals

Enclosed garden with animals (early 16th century), Southern Netherlands. De Wit, price on request

Excerpt from the June 2022 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.

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