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Monday morning at TEFAF Maastricht 2020.

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Although many dealers reported their major clients had not attended due to concerns around the spread of the coronavirus, a number of significant sales were recorded.

Dickinson reported the sale of its Vincent Van Gogh painting for around €12m-€15m to a private collector.

Peasant Woman in front of a Farmhouse (Paysanne devant une chaumière) from 1885 has a fascinating back story having been bought for just £45 in the 1960s in the UK.

The sale value is thought to be the highest yet at this edition of the fair.

Emma Ward, Dickinson's managing director, said the deal had been agreed subject to the usual AML (anti-money laundering) due diligence and contracts. She added: “We have seen some US musuems and collectors here. We are pleasantly surprised, given all the concerns, with how well the fair has gone thus far.”

Although there were a handful of other sales above the €1m mark, such as from Nicolás Cortés Gallery (see list below), many dealers were just relieved the fair was able to go ahead at all.

Art dealer Charles Beddington said: “We have had a very satisfactory fair. It could have been so much worse. The fact that it has gone ahead is a tremendous relief.”

The reduction in the number of US museums and collectors visiting the fair was felt differently depending on the gallery. Some art dealers heavily reliant on these clients reported a very challenging time, with sales significantly impacted.

Others however, who are traditionally less reliant on this section of buyers, reported a reasonable performance so far.

Some exhibitors felt the fair remained strong due to its pan-European focus. 
Simon Franses of textile and tapestry dealership S Franses argued that the importance of the fair is that it is a meeting place for experts. 

He discovered a number of key facts about tapestries on his stand that he is in the process of researching. Visitors to his stand helped identify the origin of a German artwork and the history behind a pair of tapesties by artist Florentin Damoiselet (priced at the seven-figure level) made for Le Grand Dauphin, not in fact for his father Louis XIV.

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A detail from one of a pair of gold-thread tapestries depicting royal children designed by artist Florentin Damoiselet offered at ‘TEFAF Maastricht’ by S Franses, priced at the seven-figure level.

He said: “TEFAF Maastricht is a meeting point for connoisseurs and art experts. Ideas come out in this venue that can’t come out anywhere else – nowhere else can we debate and discuss at this level. This is still very much a European fair, and compared to others which are more consumer fairs, this is for collectors. They are so knowledgeable that us exhibitors learn things.”

Here is a selection of further sales at TEFAF Maastricht. For others read more on Antiques Trade Gazette’s TEFAF coverage here.

Among seven sales on opening day at Nicolás Cortés Gallery was wings of an altarpiece, depicting Saint Jerome and Saint Clare, which with an asking price of €3m was bought by a private foundation in the Low countries. 

Dr Jörn Günther Rare Books sold its oldest piece, a decorated manuscript in Latin made in Southern England c.800. Offered for €350,000, the work is a bifolium from the important text by early English author St Aldhelm of Malmsbury and includes Anglo-Saxon glosses. It was bought by an private collector in Europe on the fair’s preview day on Friday.

Over the weekend, the dealership also sold one of the highlight pieces from its exhibition on Albrecht Dürer. A private collector from Europe bought one of the artist’s famous ‘three large books,’ Life of the Virgin, which is the most extensive woodcut sequence in the trilogy. It was ticketed at €250,000.

The Dutch Kröller-Müller Museum bought self-portrait by Alexander Bogomazov (1880-0930) ahead of their exhibition on the artist planned for 2021. It was offered on the stand of Russian and Ukrainian art specialist James Butterwick.

A diamond cluster ring with a locket, c.1670-80 was among the sales at Les Enluminures. The gold, enamel and diamond piece, offered for a price in the low-six figures, is believed to be a special commission as the interior lid is engraved with a portrait of a young man with long hair and jabot. Also within is a little figure of a man with a rope across his shoulders and an oversized rose at his knee. It has been interpreted either as a memorial or a wedding ring.

The Nationalmuseum in Stockholm bought Waterfall in Eidfjord, Norway (1824) by Wilhelm Maximilian Carpelan. It was offered for a price in the region of €28,000 on the stand of Day & Faber.