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Installation view at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 2001 of Christo’s Three Store Fronts, 1965-66, galvanised metal, aluminum, wood, fabric, masonite, paint, plexiglas and electric light. The work will be on display at BRAFA. Property of the artist. Photo: Wolfgang Volz.

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One of the first international fairs of the year, this will be staged at the Tour & Taxis exhibition centre from January 27-February 4. It is always a spacious and elegant event which, while having grown in size, remains very accessible.

From its origins as the national Belgian Antiques Dealers Fair, which started back in 1956, BRAFA has successfully reinvented itself over the years.

Non-Belgian exhibitors were first admitted in 1995 and, as the number and range of exhibitors grew, the event moved from the central Palais des Beaux Arts to the spacious Tour & Taxis centre in the north of the city in 2009.

It changed its name from the Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique to BRAFA (Brussels Antiques and Fine Arts Fair) and in 2014 to the BRAFA Art Fair.

It now features over 130 exhibitors, more than half from outside Belgium. France continues to be a major source of exhibitors, with around 50 participants, but there are now a dozen from the UK. Other well-represented European countries include Switzerland (seven) and Germany (five). The roll-call this year includes 14 new exhibitors, 10 of them from outside Belgium.

The attendance has grown as well, rising to 61,000 in 2017. The cosmopolitan local population are keen visitors but the location means BRAFA is well placed to attract customers from further afield: particularly the other Benelux countries, Germany, France, the UK and Italy.

BRAFA’s long history means it has traditional strengths such as early works of art, antiquities and tribal art, all of which have high profiles, as our preview here demonstrates.

While these continue to flourish in terms of exhibitor strength and visitor interest, the organiser, the Belgian Antiques Fair Association, continually aims to promote other areas. As with many fairs, modern and contemporary art is on the agenda.

This focus will be helped this year by the presence of a high-profile guest of honour: Christo.

The artist is famous the world over for his wrapped historic monuments, created with his late wife Jeanne- Claude, including the Pont Neuf in Paris and Reichstag in Berlin, and he will be lending the largest work that has ever been shown at BRAFA for exhibition this year.

Three Store Fronts is part of the series of works on this theme that he created in varying sizes between 1963-68 and will be hard to miss – it measures over 46ft (14m) in length and 8ft (2.5m) in height.

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Read more about what's on offer at this year's BRAFA:

Antiquities at BRAFA 2018

Impressionist, modern and contemporary art at BRAFA 2018

Early works of art at BRAFA 2018

Tribal Art at BRAFA 2018

Curiosities at BRAFA 2018