TEFAF Online 2021, the digital offering replacing this year’s TEFAF Maastricht, opens its virtual doors next month with a focused array of top-tier art and antiques from an international roster of dealers.
The event is the second iteration of TEFAF Online and runs from September 9-13 with an invitationonly preview on September 8. Around 700 works of art from over 7000 years of art history, including plenty of Old Masters (the field still at the core of Maastricht), are available to buy from 255 dealers, 12 of them new to TEFAF.
Each exhibitor has been asked to present up to three artworks “that tell a single, compelling story when in conversation with one another”, the organisers said.
The online event will also launch TEFAF Collections, a feature containing objects selected by influential names in the art and design world, which are sorted by themes rather than exhibitor.
“These developments to the digital fair, together with a culturally rich itinerary, foster an intimate and educational experience for seasoned collectors and new buyers alike,” the organisers added.
It has been a challenging pandemic for TEFAF Maastricht. The 34th edition of the famous Dutch fair was originally planned for March but was pushed back to May due to the coronavirus pandemic, then postponed again until September, when it was scheduled to be held just before Art Basel.
While the latter is going ahead with an in-person event, TEFAF opted to play it safe and announced at the start of the summer that it would instead hold an online-only fair in September.
The organisers have good reason to be cautious following the early closure of last year’s fair, held in March, where at least two dozen people tested positive for Covid-19 according to The Art Newspaper. It turned out to be one of the last major in-person fairs held before lockdowns.
Among the UK exhibitors at the digital fair is antique jewellery retailer Wartski which presents three works by the famous Parisian firm of Boucheron. The London jewellers say the pieces – an enamelled gold bracelet, a carved dendritic agate vide-poche and a jewelled and enamelled gold brooch in the shape of an unusually large dragonfly with a 4in (11cm) wingspan – were made during the years 1880- 1900 and “demonstrate the range of techniques and materials employed by its founder Frédéric Boucheron”.
Old Master drawings gallery Stephen Ongpin Fine Art shows three Italian 16th century drawings each belonging at one time to Joshua Reynolds. The painter’s fame and success allowed him to assemble one of the largest collections of paintings, drawings and prints of his day. Largely comprising Italian works from the 16th and 17th centuries, the collection was inherited after his death by his favourite niece Mary Palmer and was eventually sold and dispersed at two auctions in London in 1794 and 1798.
Meanwhile, international dealership Colnaghi casts its net wide with a trio of works spanning classical antiquity to the modern era to reflect “the gallery’s commitment to cross-category presentations and collecting”.
The selection includes a 4th century BC marble head of a woman from Magna Graecia, a Renaissance sculpture in terracotta of John the Baptist by Benedetto da Rovezzano (c.1474-1552).
Kallos Gallery, which is named after the ancient Greek word for ‘beauty’, has chosen three pieces exemplifying the differing forms of idealised beauty in antiquity.
A Roman marble head fragment of a Polykleitan youth represents the physical ideal of a young man of mid-5th century BC Greece; a greywacke fragmentary figure of Takhibiat, the sistrum-player of Egyptian god Amun-Re, typifies the modest yet desirable depiction of the female form in the early Ptolemaic period; and an Attic white ground lekythos oil flask produced during a time of considerable warfare in Athens shows in its decoration the idealisation of male youth and beauty in funerary art.
Other highlights include an early 19th century pair of silver wine coolers and stands from Koopman Rare Art which originally belonged to Richard William Penn Curzon-Howe, 1st Earl Howe, and a Renaissance bust of a nobleman in Carrara marble descended through the Earls of Carlisle at Castle Howard in North Yorkshire, which is available to buy from sculpture dealership Tomasso.
TEFAF’s in-person fairs are set to resume with a hybrid event celebrating TEFAF’s 35th anniversary in March next year.