Published: November 20, 2018
Review And Photos By Madelia Hickman Ring
NEW YORK CITY – The third edition of The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) New York Fall opened on October 27 at the Park Avenue Armory, following a glittering preview party on Friday that was hosted by the Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering. Proceeds from Opening Night will support the society’s patient care, research and education programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as well as cultural programs produced by the Park Avenue Armory.
One of the social events of the New York art world, the show attracts a host of luminaries. Those spotted throughout the fair included collectors and philanthropists Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis; fashion designer Mary McFadden; Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen; actor Steve Martin; Carolina Herrera; architect Peter Marino; Denise LeFrak Calicchio; Jerry Lauren, Debra and Leon Black, Hilary Geary Ross and Wilbur Ross, Jerry Hall, Anne Bass, Bunny Williams and Martha Stewart, to name but a few.
Representatives from several international institutions attended throughout the run of the show, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), the Louvre, El Museo del Barrio, Art Gallery of Ontario, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Dulwich Picture Gallery (UK), Washington DC’s National Gallery, the Detroit Institute of Arts, LACMA, The National Trust (UK) and the Frick Collection.
A feature of the armory that TEFAF employs exclusively is the use of a mezzanine level balcony bar that overlooked the drill hall floor and the second-floor paneled rooms for dealer booths. The dramatic lighting in the paneled rooms created a seductively different atmosphere for viewing works than many of the booths on the main floor of the show. There were a few monumental artworks placed in some of the public spaces of the armory, a new and innovative move by TEFAF that created both a place for monumental works for sale and also utilized some of the vast spaces of the armory.
The fair, which continued through Wednesday, October 31, featured 93 of the world’s leading art and antiques dealers. New exhibitors were Antonacci Lapiccirella Fine Art, UK and Italy; Galerie Cybele, France; Giacometti Old Master Paintings Srl, Italy; Sebastian Izzard LLC, United States; Bruce Kapson Gallery, United States; Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, UK; Frascione Arte, Italy; Benjamin Prouse Fine Art Ltd, UK; Librairie Amelie Sourget, France; Stoppenbach & Delestre, UK; Galerie Florence de Voldere, France; and Wildenstein & Co., United States.
Early sales were reported from Carlo Orsi-Trinity Fine Art (Milan and London), who sold Guiseppe Maria Mazza’s “Portrait of a Young Nobleman” to a private collector for a seven-figure asking price and likely one of the higher-selling items in the fair. Carlo Orsi of Carlo Orsi – Trinity Fine Art said, “TEFAF New York is a great window into the US market. This is our third year in a row, and we really believe that the success of these first editions is only the beginning. Sales have been strong since the first day, but what really keeps us coming back is the number of great new contacts we’re making each year.”
Another exhibitor reporting significant sales was New York City gallery Hirschl & Adler, who sold Gilbert Stuart’s (1755-1828) George Washington, the Munro-Lenox portrait, in the final days of the fair. It hung on the center of the back wall of the booth and was flanked by a pair of Klismos chairs that sold on the first day.
Philadelphia-based portrait miniatures dealer, Elle Shushan, had a jewel-like booth that beautifully showcased the miniature treasures in which she specializes. She had brought American, English and Continental works to the show, and there was interest across the board. Flanking her booth were a series of archival pigment prints by Maxine Helfman (b 1953) titled “Historical Correction,” which were part of a larger grouping; all those she brought to the show sold. Shushan also sold a miniature of Jane, Duchess of Gordon by Henry Bone, R.A. (British, 1775-1834).
For bling, one need not look farther than the booth of New York’s A La Vielle Russie, which specializes in jewelry, Russian works of art, gold boxes and vertu. Among the sales the dealer reported was a pair of aquamarine and diamond earrings, set in platinum, made by Cartier in Paris around 1945. The booths of other jewelry dealers, Veronique Bamps, Monaco; Michele Beiny, New York; Munich’s Hemmerle; and London’s Koopman Rare Art all attracted showgoers on opening night, and throughout the show.
The focus of English furniture dealer, Ronald Phillips, London, was cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale, befitting as this is the 300th anniversary of Chippendale’s birth. Research by the dealer has unearthed a few pieces that can be confidently documented to Chippendale’s commissions: a giltwood mirror made for Harewood House and a plate-warmer pedestal made for Newby Hall. During the fair, the dealer sold a giltwood eagle as well as a George III ormolu-mounted white-painted oval wine cooler. Speaking after the show, Simon Phillips said, “The show was beautifully presented with some amazing items for sale in a wonderful central location. The Armory has never looked so good.”
While the fair leans a bit more towards fine art, the decorative arts were out in force and many dealers reported sales. A pair of delftware polychrome groups were sold to a private collector in the range of $100,000 by Aronson Antiquairs, the Netherlands. Another Netherlandish dealer, A. Aardewerk Antiquair Jewelier, sold Adam van Vianen’s “Galatea Salt,” while London dealer Burzio sold Georges Jacob’s “Etruscan Chair” to a private collector of Jacob’s work.
A strength of TEFAF New York is the number of antiquities dealers and collectors come to this show looking to buy. Among the sales reported were the Roman bronze lion head handles (First-Second Century CE), a Roman bronze lamp stand (First-Second Century CE) and an Egyptian terracotta rippled bowl (early Third Millennium BCE) from London dealer, Charles Ede. Tomasso Brothers Fine Art had brought a mix of antiquities and later works. Among several sales the London dealer made was a white marble “Foot of Mercury” dating to the First-Second Century CE that had been priced in the region of $350,000. New dealer Benjamin Proust Fine Art Limited, London, sold a Cycladic Head (2600-2500 BCE).
Not to be outdone by Western art, TEFAF features several dealers of Asian art to give the selection of offerings visual and contextual balance. Hong Kong dealer Maria Kiang Chinese Art reported several sales, including a Zitan “lotus leaf” tray, an agate mallow-shaped cup with handle and a rootwood scrollrest to contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. Soaring displays of Chinese export porcelain characterized the booth of Lisbon and London dealer Jorge Welsh Works Of Art. By the time the show wrapped, the dealer had sold a Chinese export porcelain Qing dynasty, Qianlong dinner service with Kangxi underglaze blue porcelain, Chinese famille rose porcelain and examples of Chinese painted enamel on copper varying from five- to six-figure prices. New York City dealer Sebastian Izzard LLC, who was making his TEFAF debut, sold “Actors in a theatrical scene on a riverbank” by Katsukawa Shun’ei and “A full-length portrait of the actor Ichikawa Danzo IV” by Ryukosai Jokei.
New exhibitor, Antonacci Lapiccirella Fine Art, Rome, had a good show, selling three works, with sales pending on three additional works. One of the works on hold by the end of the show was a highlight of its booth, “The Self Portrait of Giorgione” by Antonio Canova, the last of Canova’s paintings still on the market. Commenting after the show, Damiano Lapiccirella said that one benefit from doing the show for the first time had been meeting new collectors and curators from American museums.
Other exhibitors making their TEFAF debut also fared well. Wildenstein & Co. Inc, New York City, sold Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun’s 1828 “Portrait of the Duc de Riviere,” and Stephen Ongpin Fine Art, London, sold Andres-Jean Le Brun’s “An Allegory of the Arts Vanquishing Time, Surmounted by a Medallion Portrait of King Stanislaw August of Poland as Patron of the Arts.”
Armory show veteran, antique arms and armor dealer, Peter Finer, London, occupies the same corner of the armory that he does at the Winter Show. Among his sales, the dealer sold a parade shield for the Trabantenleibgaride, Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg.
TEFAF now runs three fairs internationally: TEFAF Maastricht, TEFAF New York Fall, which focuses on historic works made from antiquity to 1920 and TEFAF New York Spring, the franchise’s modern showcase for modern and contemporary art and design. For information, www.tefaf.com.
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