British dealer Dino Tomasso has joined the TEFAF board of trustees.

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New faces in TEFAF board shake-up

The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF), the organisation behind the TEFAF Maastricht and TEFAF New York fairs, has restructured its board of trustees and executive committee. Ben Janssens and James Roundell will step down from both the executive committee and the board of trustees as well as from their respective roles as chairman Antiquairs and chairman Modern following TEFAF Maastricht in March.

New appointments to the board of trustees comprise dealers Christian Hemmerle, from Munich-based jewellers Hemmerle; Christophe de Quénetain; Dino Tomasso from Tomasso Brothers Fine Art; Paul Smeets, director of Geneva’s Rob Smeets Old Master Paintings gallery; and Dulwich Picture Gallery curator Peter Kerber.

De Quénetain will take over from Janssens as chairman Antiquairs from March, while current board member Christophe Van de Weghe will replace Roundell as chairman Modern.

Sotheby’s buys AI high-tech boost

Sotheby’s has purchased an artificial intelligence company that specialises in image recognition and ‘recommendation’ technology.

Thread Genius was founded by two software engineers – Andrew Shum and Ahmad Qamar – both of whom have now joined Sotheby’s. The AI process they have developed allows for the matching of three elements: images and objects, individual’s preferences and price points.

The acquisition follows Sotheby’s purchase of the Mei Moses Art Indices in 2016 – a database of repeat auction sales in eight collecting categories.

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China Guardian’s new Beijing base

Auction house China Guardian is to open a new flagship building in Beijing this spring with saleroom and museum space.

The Guardian Art Center will be the first purpose-built art centre for auctions in the country. Designed by German architect Ole Scheeren, it includes nearly 20,000 sq ft of column-free exhibition space and is close to the Forbidden City and opposite the NAMOC (National Art Museum of China).

Seminar outlines data protection law

The implications of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect from May, will be discussed at a BADA event for members on February 7. ABA members are also welcome.

Law firm Collyer Bristow will run a two-hour seminar from 4-6pm at its London offices on Bedford Row.

For more on GDPR see p33.

Museum heist info deadline extended

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has extended the deadline of its $10m reward offered for information regarding works stolen in a famous heist at the Boston gallery 28 years ago.

The reward was set to run until the end of December but the museum has chosen to keep it open following a number of people making contact shortly before it was set to expire.

The works taken in the robbery on March 18, 1990, included Vermeer’s The Concert, Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee and A Lady and Gentleman in Black, Édouard Manet’s Chez Tortoni and Edgar Degas’ Leaving the Paddock. It remains the largest art heist in history, with the combined value of the works estimated at $500m. The original reward offered was $1m but that was raised to $5m in 1997. The reward was then doubled to $10m in May 2017.

Renoir nudes step out at the art fair

Sales reported at the 30th London Art Fair in Islington included an original drawing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) sold by Fairhead Fine Art for £30,000 titled Etude de Nus (Nudes study).


‘Etude de Nus (Nudes study)’ by Pierre-Auguste Renoir which sold for £30,000 at the London Art Fair. Image courtesy of Fairhead Fine Art.

The London dealer also sold a Roy Lichtenstein (1923-97) screenprint for £18,500. Fellow London gallery Piano Nobile sold a sculpture by Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi (1924- 2005) for £165,000. Castlegate House Gallery from Cumbria sold a Grayson Perry (b.1960) embroidery titled Britain is Best (2014) for £45,000.

Dunbar early work sells for £19,000

Works by Evelyn Dunbar (1906-60) rarely occur on the market but an early work emerged from a descendant of the artist at a Cheffins of Cambridge auction.

Thought to have been produced while studying at Rochester School of Art in c.1926, likely as an exercise set by her tutor Harold Shimmell, the 14 x 18in (36 x 46cm) oil on canvas depicts a scene near the Dunbar family home in Strood, Kent.


Evelyn Dunbar oil on canvas – £19,000 at Cheffins.

Uncharacteristic of her later style that developed in the 1940s during her time as the only officially commissioned female war artist, it was one of only two other urban scenes in Dunbar’s known oeuvre, according to the artist’s nephew and biographer Christopher Campbell-Howes.

Bidding began slowly at the sale on January 25, but the £3000-5000 estimate was eventually eclipsed before it was taken to a final £19,000.

In Numbers


The number of new exhibitors participating at the BRAFA fair in Brussels that opened last week. A total of 134 dealers are exhibiting at the event with 16 countries represented.