The BRAFA entrance at Brussels Expo.

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Among them was d’Arschot & Cie, a local jewellery and silver specialist, who parted with six items in the first three hours. Among the sales was the firm’s highlight item, a chiselled and engraved silver coffee pot made in Namur, 1737, by Nicolas Wodon, which was offered for €40,000-45,000. A stalwart of the fair for more than 30 years, the dealership sold the piece to a returning client.

Silver coffee pot

A chiselled and engraved silver coffee pot made in Namur, 1737, by Nicolas Wodon, offered for €40,000-45,000 by d’Arschot & Cie.

The fair runs until February 4, hosting around 130 exhibitors. It orchestrates a steady build up, with top clients arriving for a dinner the first night, followed by two preview days. Finally, on Sunday, the event opens to the public.

Even so, several other exhibitors recorded day one sales.

Another local gallery, Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke, sold two pictures by Belgian abstract artist Jo Delahaut. One, a pastel, was offered for €950, and the other, a brush work, went for €5500.

Jo Delahaut

A picture by Belgian abstract artist Jo Delahaut, €5500 with Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke.

Meanwhile, Parisian exhibitor Jean-François Cazeau offered several editions of Picasso ceramics. Visage de profil (1953), one of an edition of 150, went to a returning client who had purchased several other Picasso ceramics from the gallery before and was looking to complete her collection. It sold for around €45,000.

Picasso vase

Visage de profil (1953), one of an edition of 150, by Pablo Picasso, €45,000 at Jean-François Cazeau.

Bronze fared particularly well during the opening two days. Several examples went from the stand of Antwerp dealership Victor Werner including one thought to depict Dionysus by Victor Rousseau (1865-1954), a bust of a man by Italo Amerigo Passani (1882-1963), and a pair of giraffes. The same was true at the stand of Thomas Deprez Fine Arts, which parted with at least two busts and a small figure. 

Thomas Deprez also found a new home for a display case by Gustave Serrurier-Bovy (188-1910), a likley-unique art nouveau piece in narra wood and copper mounts which shows the influence of the English Arts & Crafts movement. Though the dealer, who offered it for a price of under €50,000, speculated it could easily have gone to a museum, it was snapped up by an existing private client. 

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Display Case by Gustave Serrurier-Bovy (1858-1910) sold by Thomas Deprez Fine Arts, which offered it for a price under €50,000. 

Surrealism, which marks its centenary this year, is the fair’s theme for this edition. The “guest of honour” is the Paul Delvaux Foundation, dedicated to the Belgian painter who specialised in dreamlike scenes of nude women. Several galleries feature works by that artist.

Another notable offering is the recreation of a complete ground-floor interior by Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta, reassembled at the fair by first time exhibitor Marc Maison and ticketed all together at €12m.