The fair temporarily closed for that morning (June 28) and roads closed for investigations.
According to local police, four men took part in the armed robbery.
In a statement, organisers said: “The fair’s stringent safety procedures were followed and all visitors were successfully evacuated. TEFAF has robust procedures in the event of a security breach. These were precisely followed, and all visitors, exhibitors and staff were safely evacuated.”
It was a blow for the European fair which had returned for the first time since March 2020 when it closed early amid mounting reports of positive coronavirus cases. This year it ran in a temporary summer slot (June 24-30), overlapping with both BRAFA in Brussels (June 19-26) and Masterpiece London (June 30-July 6).
Despite this setback, there were robust sales reported across the event. Old Master paintings, for which it is best known, fared well with Luca Giordano’s Triumph of Galatea, c.1675, selling for a seven-figure sum from the stand of Colnaghi. The Old Shepherd by Flemish painter Michael Sweerts, c.1646-48, sold from Antonacci Lapiccirella for a six-figure sum.
Other highlights included a rediscovered early French Renaissance alabaster sculpture of the Virgin and Child offered by Stuart Lochhead Sculpture.
Executed by an artist in the French city of Troyes, the work dated to the 1530s and was bought by a US institution. According to an expert the price was $5m.