Bowman Sculpture’s stand in the new TEFAF Maastricht Focus section.

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This year’s TEFAF Maastricht produced a spectacular series of sales results.

It also featured several changes to its format. While many dealers left happy, not all are convinced by a shortened run time, or that healthy sales sheets mean that the market as a whole is on the mend.

Running from March 7-14 at Maastricht’s MECC, the fair hosted 272 exhibitors from around the world. Over that reduced eight-day run nearly 50,000 visitors and around 300 institutions attended.

And overall the results were positive. From the moment the doors opened, the fair started racking up seven-figure sales.

Rijksmuseum purchase

Among the earliest was the only signed painting by Gesina ter Borch, Portrait of Moses ter Borch as a Two Year Old, which was sold by Zebregs & Röell Fine Artto the Rijksmuseum with the support of the ‘Women of the Rijksmuseum’ Fund for a reported €3m.

It was followed shortly after by a lifetime cast of Giambologna’s Striding Mars, c.1580, which was ticketed at $4m at Stuart Lochhead Sculpture, and Van Gogh’s Tête de Paysanne à la Coiffe Blanche, which had an asking price of $5.5m at the stand of first-time US exhibitor MS Rau.

Other early sales in the seven-figure level included a gilded Augsburg helmet from the stand of Peter Finer, a pair of pen paintings by Willen van de Velde for €3m from Kunsthandel P de Boer and Femme au tablier by Pablo Picasso for almost €2m from Utermann.


Peter Finer sold this close helmet for tournament attributable to Conrad Richter of Augsburg, c.1555, from the ‘Golden Garnitures’ of The Emperor Ferdinand I and his sons to a New York collector for a seven-figure sum at TEFAF Maastricht.

In a statement following the opening weekend, TEFAF president Hidde van Seggelen said that the fair “is a barometer for the international art and antiques market since its inception in 1988”. But with many dealers citing uncertain political and economic times as reasons for a quiet market, could it simply be that the fair itself is on the up?

According to Massimiliano Caretto and Francesco Occhinegro of Italian firm Caretto e Occhinegro, there was a positive assessment of the market from exhibitors. Their sales included Beheading of the baptist, c.1520 by The Pseudo-Bles for a price in the region of €100,000-200,000 and a triptych by Pieter Coecke van Aelst offered for a price in the region of €900,000.

They told ATG: “We also had the impression, speaking with colleagues, that there were very strong and clear signs of a market that reacted actively to the international moment of crisis and fear. It really seems that the concept of ‘safe-haven assets’ has been fully embraced.”

However, the duo added, there was much to be said for the offerings of the exhibitors themselves and the platform on which they were presented: “It is worth emphasising that the great moment of uncertainty translated into exhibitors presenting very serious and highly curated stands.

“In short, demand and supply met in the best possible way, and TEFAF reiterated that it is the preferred venue for all this.”

Wolfgang Bauer of Vienna firm Bel Etage Galerie recognised the strength of the fair compared to a recovering market.

TEFAFhas really introduced us to different collectors and younger buyers who are also drawn to the clear, reduced lines of the Viennese Secessionist movement”, he said, noting his firm’s specialty.

All in all, we did most of the sales with our regular customers. My opinion: the unstable economic and political situation dampened the desire to buy.”

Series of disruptions

Over the past few years, there has been far more to say about the fair than robust sales. In 2020 it closed early with Covid cases soaring around the world. Several dealers and major institutions had not attended due to health concerns.

The event did not run in person the following year, and when it returned in 2022 it was in the summer to accommodate the jumbled calendar of a world re-opening. That edition was marred by an armed robbery at one of the jewellery stands.

Last year it returned to its normal slot.


Tête de paysanne à la coiffe blanch by Vincent van Gogh which sold from the stand of MS Rau at TEFAF Maastricht where it had an asking price of $5.5m.

This year, several encouraging factors do suggest that the historic event is back to full power: visitor numbers were up 20% year on year during the preview days and the number of institutions attending rose from around 250 to more than 300

The sales reported during last year’s run, though often strong, do not hold a candle to some of the stellar results from this year.

For example, as the fair went on Lochhead pulled in multiple six- and seven-figure sales including Françoise de la Rochefoucauld by Prosper d’Epinay (€120,000), which went to a private collector in the Netherlands, and François Ladatte’s Reclining Lion, bought by a private collector in the US for €165,000.

Several dealers almost sold their stands out in the opening days including Pauline Pavec, Ben Hunter and A Lighthouse Called Kanata.

Antiquities specialist Charles Ede parted with nearly half its stand including three six-figure sales and several pieces going to new clients, and Charles Beddington made 10 sales in the preview days alone including two between €400,000 and €500,000 (for more TEFAF sales see ATG No 2635).

Showing a drive to keep the fair fresh, organisers constantly tweak and adapt it - sometimes to the chagrin of the more traditional dealers. This year’s raft of initiatives included the TEFAF Insider’s Collecting Guide, which highlighted items priced under €20,000 in a bid to bring in new buyers.

One success from this came on the stand of Alessandra di Castro, which sold a Murano glass vase originally presented at the 1934 Venice Biennaleto a female collector from the US.

There was also the launch of the TEFAF Summitas well as the new Focussection, which united artists of different media and periods in individual displays.

Most notable, however, was the reduced run time, three days shorter than its traditional length. Fairs always put the pressure on clients to buy - illustrated best at this event by David Tunick who sold a Edvard Munch lithograph to a Scandinavian buyer for a six-figure sum. The buyer did not attend the event, but called up once doors had opened, concerned that it would be snapped up by another client.

Whittling the run time down may have sharpened intentions in some cases, but certain exhibitors reflected that it had mixed results.

Sandra Hindman of Les Enluminures said it “maintained a good dynamism, with important collectors and institutions present every day”.

According to sculpture dealer Robert Bowman, “the attendance at the fair was definitely stronger than last year. The shorter run was popular with the art dealers, unpopular with the works of art and antiques dealers who traditionally enjoy sales over the second weekend.

“We will see what happens next year. As art dealers we generally find the longer programme less productive but we appreciate the antique and ancient art dealers’ viewpoint.”

And for Bauer of Bel Etage, the shorter run was a drawback: “Personally I’m facing the same transportation costs, insurance and so on for my exhibits. This year we showed two complete room interiors, heavy solid wood furniture, one from Otto Wagner and one from Mauritius Herrgesell. That’s a huge amount of effort for a shorter run.”

Varied highlights

Other notable sales from the event included a 17th century Safavid mirror which went from São Roque to the Aga Khan Foundation in Toronto for around €200,000.

Landschaft mit Baum, c.1893, by Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler, was picked up by a European collector with a public exhibition space for €200,000 from Galerie Karsten Grève. A vase-shaped mantel clock, one of 15 sales on the stand of La Pendulerie, was bought by a US collector for a high six-figure sum.

Meanwhile, a 16th century wrought iron and painted iron St Dominic processional cross was snapped up for a five-figure sum from the stand of Deborah Elvira; a portrait of Sir Edward Turner by 17th century English painter John Michael Wright found a new home with a private collector for a six-figure amount from the stand of The Weiss Gallery; and from Dickinson, a trompe l’oeil Laughing Boyby Henri-Guillaume Schlesinger went to a European private collector for €120,000.

Showcases offer a new approach


St Francis receiving the stigmata by Cenni di Francesco di Ser Cenni was among the works sold at TEFAF Maastricht made by FG Fine Art.

Flavio Gianassi of FG Fine Art was among the exhibitors in this year’s TEFAF Maastricht Showcase section, dedicated to newer dealerships. He said: “One of the things that struck me was seeing how some collectors, when visiting TEFAF, gave priority to the showcases, with the idea of finding something different, interesting and new.”

Among his standout sales was a painting by Cenni di Francesco di Ser Cenni (active 1369-1415), depicting St Francis receiving the stigmata. This was part of the same predella as two panels at the Stibbert museum in Florence. It was offered for a price under €250,000.