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TEFAF Maastricht Highlights
March 15, 2013  | 

TEFAF Maastricht, the world’s leading event of its kind, is renowned for its commitment to excellence, expertise and elegance. This is reflected in the magnificent range of rare works of art that will go on sale at the Fair, which will be held in the MECC from 15 to 24 March 2013. They will include a spectacular Tibetan figure which was one of the highlights of the acclaimed recent exhibition Bronze at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, a superb portrait by the Dutch master Jan Lievens, a New York restaurant guest book containing the signatures of many of the most famous names of the 20th century and a powerful 1992 painting by Gerhard Richter.

Rossi & Rossi, the London-based specialists in classical Indian and Himalayan works and contemporary Asian art, will be returning to TEFAF Maastricht for the first time since 1995, and will celebrate this with a spectacular exhibition. One of the highlights of their stand at TEFAF will be the beautiful eleven-headed Tibetan Avalokitèshvara dating from c1400. The 120cm high bronze figure with silver and copper inlay and inset with semi-precious stones is the largest recorded early Tibetan bronze of the iconic form of this Buddhist deity and was recently on loan to the internationally-praised exhibition Bronze at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. It has also been on public display in important exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. After more than 40 years in a European private collection, the bronze will go on sale at TEFAF Maastricht for a price in the region of €6 million.

Old Master paintings are a traditional strength of TEFAF Maastricht and this year Bernheimer-Colnaghi of Munich and London will be exhibiting A Bearded Old Man with a Brown Cloak by Jan Lievens , one of the most brilliant members of Rembrandt’s circle. This very fine Tronie, or character study, was painted about 1631 shortly before Lievens moved to the English court and has been described by the distinguished art historian Professor Werner Sumowski as “among the greatest works executed by the artist.”

One of the many superb pieces of furniture shown at TEFAF Maastricht will be an English George II green lacqueur bookcase decorated throughout with gilt chinoiseries on a green ground. Exhibited by Mallett of London and New York, the 250cm high bookcase is attributed to Giles Grendey (1693-1780), who is regarded as the most accomplished English cabinetmaker of his age. Grendey exported many pieces to Spain, Portugal and Italy, where the King of Naples was one of his clients. His most celebrated export order was for a suite of approximately 80 pieces of scarlet japanned furniture for the Duke of Infantado’s castle at Lazcano, near San Sebastian in northern Spain.

The 265 dealers from 20 countries who will exhibit at TEFAF Maastricht 2013 constantly search for rare pieces to bring to the Fair that defines excellence in art. Galerie Harmakhis from Brussels will be exhibiting a ushabti, a funerary figure placed in a tomb, made for Pharaoh Taharqa, an important figure in the history of Egypt who pursued an ambitious domestic and foreign policy. The 19.2cm high figure, which dates from the 25th Dynasty c690-664BC, came originally from the royal pyramid at Nuri in the Sudan and was excavated by the American Egyptologist George Reisner in 1917. An unusual exhibit will be a royal food pounder or penu from 18th century Polynesia on the stand of Galerie Meyer – Oceanic Art of Paris. Although used as a kitchen tool, the ‘T’ bar type pounders were the exclusive property of the Tahitian royal families. Years of acquired skill and effort were used to produce an object of deceptively simple elegance from the hardest volcanic stone on the islands. It is both a perfectly balanced tool and a beautiful piece of sculpture. A unique document highlighting the social life of New York in the 1950s and 1960s will be brought to TEFAF Maastricht by Thomas Heneage Art Books of London. It is the guest book of Lüchow’s, a renowned Manhattan restaurant which was patronised by famous people from the worlds of entertainment, literature, art and politics. On the market for the first time, the book covers the years 1950-1963 and, among others, contains the signatures and comments of the dancer Fred Astaire, the film star Humphrey Bogart, the movie director Cecil B. DeMille, the father and daughter acting dynasty of Henry and Jane Fonda, the comedian Groucho Marx, and the future US President Richard Nixon. The artist Joan Miro ate there with his wife Pilar, his New York art dealer Pierre Matisse (the son of Henri Matisse), Pierre’s wife Patricia and the Spanish arts promoter Joan Prats, who was a great friend of Miro. The Duke of Windsor, formerly the British monarch Edward VIII, simply wrote ‘Edward’ in the book. ‘Duke of Windsor’ has been added underneath in another hand. His wife Wallis, the cause of his abdication, signed herself as ‘Wallis Windsor’. 

Pol Bury’s work was deeply rooted in the Surrealist movement and in the 1960s he began a new series of sculptures which bore a loose resemblance to furniture. But by the time he made 49 spheres of the same colour on an inclined, raised plane in 1966 he had abandoned references to furniture and focused on pure, geometric forms. This work, in which Bury uses an echo of an object from the real world to evoke the unreal, will be exhibited at TEFAF Maastricht by the Patrick Derom Gallery of Brussels. Jewellery specialists Didier Ltd of London will be bringing a Meret Oppenheim gold necklace which had a special significance for the German-born Surrealist artist. Its form was taken from a picture that she had painted in 1934 for her lover Max Ernst which was left behind in Paris when he escaped from the Nazis in 1939. More than 30 years later it turned up in a Paris flea market and Oppenheim subsequently acquired it. She designed the necklace shortly before her death in 1985. TEFAF’s tour of the history of art will be brought right up to date by Galerie Odermatt-Vedovi of Brussels, which will bring Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild 780-04, signed and dated 1992, and Sperone Westwater of New York which will exhibit Jan Worst’s huge 2012 painting Dream of Drowning, which measures 180x290cm.

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