The London dealership Trinity Fine Art was among those hailing the return of the event which ran for the first time since 2020. The gallery sold a posthumous depiction of Antonio Canova surrounded by many of his sculptures by Pompeo Calvi (1808-84) within the first minutes of the fair opening. Described as “almost a catalogue raisonné” of the artist’s most important works, it was ticketed at €180,000.
Despite a date change that moved the event from March to June for this year, visitors flocked to the MECC for doors to open on June 24.
“It’s good to see people here an hour earlier than usual”, said a representative of Colnaghi, which offered one of the fair’s top pieces – a Willem van de Velde the Elder pen painting offered for €10m-15m (unsold at the time of going to press).
Other galleries making early sales were Day & Faber, which had three red dots up in the first hour of the fair and Rome’s Galleria Carlo Virgilio & Co, which sold a portrait of a young man, possibly the Italian revolutionary Masaniello by Charles Mellin (1597-1649), for a six figure sum. It was one of three sales it made in the fair’s opening minutes – “so we can say the fair started well”, the gallery said.
TEFAF Maastricht runs until June 30, overlapping with BRAFA in Brussels (June 19-26) last week and Masterpiece London (June 30-July 6) this week.
Steady sales at Olympia
Also taking place in London was The Art & Antiques Fair Olympia. With train and travel delays and ongoing economic concerns, exhibitors at Olympia had lowered their expectations ahead of the event. However many were relieved at how well the fair started on its preview day (June 22).
Now running in Olympia Grand, the largest of the halls (rather than Olympia National where it has historically taken place) it is staged alongside Spirit of Summer, also organised by Clarion Events.
Many dealers reported steady sales on opening day including 15 large pieces of blue and white from Sue Norman, tables at Hansord Antiques, Peter Bunting, Anthony Fell, Mark Goodger Antiques and Jeroen Markies, and chairs at Justin Evershed Martin.
Mary Cooke sold 10 pieces of silver including items to an Australian collector on his first trip out for three years.
John Hansord said: “The fair has been busy and buzzy with interesting visitors and good sales, especially considering the transport challenges this week, and we have heard plenty of American accents.”
Fell, who sold a number of pieces on the first day, said he was “pleasantly surprised at the quality of the visitors”.
Bunting also sold to US decorators as well as English visitors and said it was “nice to be back in the grand hall – the home of the antiques fair”.
David Hickmet added: “We have had a good response with a surprising number of clients, considering the rail strikes, through the door. We have had strong sales of Lalique particularly with four collectors visiting.”
The fair ran until June 26.