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The 2017 staging, the 30th, takes place at its usual venue, the Palazzo Corsini from September 23-October 1.

That alternation of the Florence and Paris fairs in the past meant dealers could stand at both on consecutive years.

The gap is much smaller now of course – less than a week separates the closure of one and the opening of the other – but some galleries are still doing both. The Galerie Sarti and Robilant and Voena are among those hot-footing it from the Grand Palais to the palazzo this month.

Around 80 exhibitors are standing at the BIAF this year. The list is mainly composed of Italian art and antiques dealers, but among the dozen or so from other countries the UK is to the fore. London galleries taking part include Colnaghi, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, Charles Beddington and Lullo Pampoulides.

The fair’s organisation is headed by Fabrizio Moretti, the Old Master dealer with galleries in Florence, New York and London. He took over as secretary general for the 2015 edition with the aim of re-energising this longstanding fair.

Changes this year include a new designer, the Venetian interior decorator Matteo Corvino, and a dateline move up to the 1980s.

The dateline change, says Moretti, “reflects the trend we are seeing at all the major sector events around the world… a type of collecting that has shown a clear preference for mixing works of different eras, from archaeological finds to contemporary pieces”.

This year the BIAF is linking up with the Palazzo Strozzi’s exhibition, The 16th Century in Florence: From Michelangelo to Vasari, which opens in Florence on September 21 and runs until January 21, 2018 (palazzostrozzi.org).

Visitors have the opportunity to visit both events at a special reduced price.


Tomasso Brothers’ stand


A late 17th century bronze figure of Charity by Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi, offered by Tomasso Brothers Fine Art at the Florence ‘Biennale’, priced in the region of €1m.

Tomasso Brothers Fine Art has assembled a themed stand devoted only to Florentine artists for its participation in this year’s Florence Biennale.

The selection will include a polychromed stucco bust of the Madonna and Child attributed to Lorenzo Ghiberti and a terracotta roundel of the Madonna and Child with attendant angelic choir from the Studio of Luca della Robbia, that was once in the collection of John Pierpont Morgan.

Also, they will offer a late 17th century bronze figure of Charity by Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi. The warmly red-gold patinated 18½in (47cm) high bronze with its central figure surrounded by three putti is a model first conceived by the Roman Baroque sculptor Alessandro Algardi that was quickly regarded as a masterwork.

It is one that Soldani-Benzi described in correspondence with his client Johann Adam Andreas, Prince of Liechtenstein (1657-1712), offering to create it in bronze.

It later belonged to the late Professor Michael Jaffe, former director of the Fitzwilliam and was on loan to the Cambridge Museum until 2014.

The bronze is priced in the region of €1m.