Published: February 3, 2016
By Laura Beach
MAASTRICHT, THE NETHERLANDS – On the eve of its March 10-19 return to the Dutch town of Maastricht, the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) has announced that, in partnership with Artvest Partners LLC of New York, it will launch two new fairs at New York’s Park Avenue Amory in 2016 and 2017. Called TEFAF New York Spring and TEFAF New York Fall, the presentations, each featuring roughly 80 to 90 exhibitors, will replace Artvest’s Spring Masters New York, which returns to the armory for a final time May 6-9, and Anna and Brian Haughton’s International Show, closed in October 2015 after an influential 28-year run. The Haughtons, who are based in London, will continue organizing Art Antiques London, planned for June 24-30 in Kensington Gardens.
Anna Haughton told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that it was simply time for a change. The International Show debuted in 1989 amid pitched interest in part inspired by the 1986 exhibition “The Treasure Houses of Britain: 500 Years of Patronage and Art Collecting” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Haughton said, “We look forward to a bit more travel and time with our grandkids. Our gallery remains busy and I enjoy running shows in my own hometown. We will miss people, of course. It’s a very personal business. But we hope to see our many friends in London.” The International Show raised over $25 million for its sponsor, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Care.
Artvest co-principals Michael Plummer and Jeff Rabin brought the three parties together. Plummer said Artvest, the minority shareholder in the deal, was already in conversation with the Haughtons when it was approached by Patrick van Maris van Dijk, a Sotheby’s executive who was tapped to succeed Paul Hustinx as TEFAF’s CEO. Patrick van Maris van Dijk wanted advice on expanding into the American market.
Plummer recalled, “We had numerous conversations. It was our feeling based on hard experience that New York is the heart of the art market in the United States and in the world. Patrick was quick to see that TEFAF needed to come to New York. Over the late summer and fall, we negotiated a deal, structured the entity and signed the documents in recent weeks. A lot of people knew TEFAF was interested in expanding but we kept a tight lid on the particulars.”
Crucially, the partners negotiated a multiyear lease agreement with the Park Avenue Amory.
Plummer sees the marriage as a good one. He says, “Jeff and I will work closely with TEFAF to create and manage these fairs. TEFAF brings 30 years of fair management experience, vetting experience, great name recognition and institutional imprimatur. We have relationships with American collectors, have a working knowledge of the Armory, financial sophistication and expertise in marketing and branding in the American marketplace.”
Debuting in October 2016, TEFAF New York Fall will feature art from antiquity to the Twentieth Century. TEFAF New York Spring will premiere in May 2017 with an emphasis on modern and contemporary art and design. Tom Postma, who designs TEFAF Maastricht – unique in the world in its great scale, scope and quality – will create a signature look for the shows, which will fill the drill hall and adjacent period rooms.
Organizers will begin soliciting applications for the fall show this month.
Plummer said, “Dealers are depending on fairs. We are coming into New York not to displace anyone but to create a quality event that will be different and extraordinary, that will have its own role and constituency. It’s going to be transformative.”
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