Last Minute Diva – TEFAF

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Don’t forget TEFAF starts today – Friday March 13 – and runs through next weekend March 22, 2009.

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top:2px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>TEFAF is more than an arts and antiques show. It is THE EUROPEAN FINE ARTS FAIR – the most prestigious arts and antiques fair in the world. Dana Micucci writes in Veranda magazine (March/April 2006), “The Netherlands may be one of Europe’s smallest countries, but when it comes to art and antiques it leaves a big foot print. This industrious nation of seafaring merchants gave the West some of its first art dealers, auctoneers and affluent collectors. It claims some of the world’s finest museums, and it was the birthplace of many illustrious artists – Vermeer, Rembrantdt and van Gogh – to name a few. It is also home to The European Fine Arts Fair – the prestigious art and antique fair that takes place in the small Dutch border town of Maastricht. Beyond The Netherland’s historical, cultural and commercial prowess lies a distinctive Dutch character – rooted in a subtle combination of the cozy and cosmopolitan, the intimate and urbane, which permeates its ancient cities, Old Master still lifes and genre paintes as well as it’s deocartive antiques such as Delftware, pewter and glass. There is no better place than TEFAF to find such a stunning array of treasures so clealy imbued with the Dutch spirit”.

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to 10px; WIDTH: 244px; CURSOR: hand; HEIGHT: 320px; TEXT-ALIGN: center” alt=”” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_kcTb8DnPVW4/Sbq7bbtdOKI/AAAAAAAACtk/fOk8t2qrQSA/s320/tefaf+(1).jpg” border=”0″ />Competition for a stall at the fair is fiercer than Olympic figure skating (and behind-the-scenes stories make Tonya Harding seem tame). For an antiques dealer, making the fair means they’ve made it! Only the best of the best are allowed to participate in the event. But this year TEFAF is doing something new. They recognize that it is difficult for new dealers to “make it’ into the show when competing against buisnesses which have been around longer than many nations. Thus, TEFAF has recently added The TEFAF Showcase for recently established vendors. These debutantes are allowed to participate in the Showcase strictly on a one-off basis, thereby giving young dealers the exposure of being part of a major international fine art event. TEFAF stall rentals typically run for rates equal to buying an ownership share in an NFL football team, but these debutantes are allowed to participle for peanuts. Their TEFAF costs aren’t as high as the big boys fees, thus their “needed profit margin” aren’t going to be as high. In my opinion, these are the dealers to watch. If you like their inventory, get their names and contact information and 6 months after the fair (once the post-TEFAF- euphoria wears off and their prices have floated back down to reality) give them a call about the item you’re interested in!

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As you walk about the carefully decorated stalls look around – not just at the items for sell, the great floral arrangments and the innovative décor, but at the other visitors to the fair. See that guy over there – he’s a private buyer who just flew in on his private jet. Of course, unless you are a polyglot, you might find eavesdropping on the rich and famous to be a bit difficult. You’re as likely to hear English spoken as you are Russian, Chinese, Aarbic, French, Portugese, German, Dutch or Italian. It’s as if you’ve taken the worlds wealthiest citizens, thrown them in a Baccarat martini shaker and added copious quantities of cologne, silk ascots, and mink. The cocktail comes out tasting a tad Fitzgeraldesque, but with price tags included.

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Photo above by tos/20375562@N02/sets/72157615400184536/” target=”_blank”>Max-Nathan Punter

It’s this latter reason that I send you to the show. When you go to a museum you can’t touch the art, you don’t get to see the reverse of the painting and you certainly don’t hear how much money a Monet costs. But at TEFAF, you can do all these things. Entrance for 2 into TEFAF costs more than I spent on the pair of brass turn-of-the-century-Polish candlesticks I bought at a flea market in Gdansk which grace my table, but the cost is worth it. At 55E per person (it does include the stupendous fair catalog – eye candy itself) you might be wondering why I’m sending you there. Unless your budget is a whole lot bigger than mine you most likely won’t be doing any buying at the fair. Consider it a day out window shopping. But, oh honey, the window shopping is good. Down right Divalicious.

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e Uffizi or the Met) will you find a collection of art and antiques this good in one locale… that is, until next year. For the fair has been held every March since 1975, recession or no recession.
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Ben Janssens, Chairman of TEFAF’s Executive Committee, said: “There is no evidence that the jittery financial markets have discouraged art buyers and in fact the reverse seems to be true. Visitors said to me that they see no point in investing in stocks at the moment and prefer to put their money into art and antiques. What has also been encouraging is the increase in visitors from Asia including, for the first time, two groups totaling 20 people from mainland China.”

Dates for March 2010 are not yet available but typically TEFAF posts the next year’s dates within weeks following it’s current fair. This information, my friends, is key for you. It might be too late for you to catch a train or book a flight to this years TEFAF, but you will certainly want to add TEFAF to your 2010 calendar and while you’re at it go ahead and book the hotel. Hotels for 30 miles around book up a year in advance.

Just as TEFAF has vetting committees to guarantee the quality, authenticity and condition of the work (taking works of art that do not meet their high standards out of the dealers possession until the fair is over), I have a Diva Guarantee that will be the finest fine arts fair you’ll ever attend!

Until next time,

The Antiques Diva ™

All photos except for the one indicated are property of Art – das Kunstmagazin

The Diva’s Dish on Naarden’s Art and Antiques Weekend

top:5px;float:left;color:white;background:#781300;border:1px solid darkkhaki;font-size:100px;line-height:90px;padding-top:1px;padding-right:5px;font-family:times;”>When I went to the Kunst & Antiek Weekend in Naarden-Vesting a few weeks ago, I had such a good time that I decided it would be downright criminal to neglect to divulge the details of my diva-licious day! Plus, you know me… I love to share shopping secrets and on that particular day, my pocketbook was stuffed to overflowing as I collected business cards, pamphlets, brochures and magazines.

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This fair is a great source for antique shops, art galleries and boutiques

While the Art and Antiques Weekend is great to visit, in my opinion it is even better to use as a resource for compiling your own personal database of shops, galleries and boutiques you would like to visit in the future. Going to this show is much like enjoying a wine tasting – it tempts your taste buds for more. All this to say, I didn’t spend one euro more than the 12.50 Euro entrance fee – however that fee might end up costing me thousands in the long run as I revisit all the stores and websites on my list!

While I can’t share a full list of all the shops servicing the show, I will share a few of my favorite finds – the best of the best of Naarden’s Art and Antiques Weekend. First off is the eponymously-named Anouk Beerents Antiek Spiegels, whose owner is as exceedingly charming as her inventory of 18th and 19th C gilt and silver-leafed antique mirrors. I was immediately bewitched upon entering her stall and her laughter was delightful as I danced around the many mirrors, unable to take my eyes off my reflecting reflections.

“You should see my atelier” she enticed as I pirouetted past one mirror and into another. Her studio in Amsterdam, located on the Prinsengracht, is so big that she has more than 300 mirrors in inventory. Although the warehouse is only open by appointment, she does offer an incredible perk, saying “just drive into Amsterdam, and pull your car directly into my studio!” Now that is what I call on-site parking!

Just next to Anouk’s stall was another shop bearing the name of its owner — Robert Schreuder’s Antiquair. Robert charmed me immediately by commenting on my new purse and regaled me with a tale of his recent visit to the Louis Vuitton museum outside of Paris, a place I hadn’t realized existed. His stall was beautifully decorated with an assortment of antiques and he spoke with a friendly and engaging smile that encouraged me to linger. Unfortunately, Robert doesn’t have a shop address you can pop into and visit at will, as he is, in fact, a hobby-antiquaire while keeping his day job as a high-powered attorney. He spends his weekends assembling a remarkable collection of furniture from the Neoclassical, Empire and Biedermeier periods and amassing an assortment of antique Grand Tour souvenirs. You can visit him at one of the many upcoming fairs where he’ll be displaying pieces from his collections. Better yet, make an appointment to visit him in his private atelier in Amsterdam nearby tos/ig/Top-5-Amsterdam-Parks/Photos–Amsterdam-s-Best-Parks.htm” target=”_blank”>Sarphati Park. I have half a mind to give him a call to make an appointment and take a second look at his French mahogany writing desk (dated around 1830) and priced at 5,700E.

Perhaps more in my price range was the English Davenport Desk (complete with secret drawer right out of a Sherlock Holmes novel), also from the 1830’s, selling for 3,600E at S. Van Leeuwen’s. S. Van Leeuwen’s is located in the north end of The Hague, nearby the Royal Palace, in a beautiful 18th C mansion. For almost 100 years they have been selling a delicious inventory of high-quality 17th and 18th C antiques as well as collectibles from the 19th C.

Another vendor from The Hague who caught my attention was the Galerie Het Cleyne Huys, a modern art gallery specializing in Dutch artists. A significant amount of their wall space was devoted to the works of Corry Kooy who simply stole the show with her portraits and travel impressions. The prices on her pastels and oil paintings were such a good deal that I considered purchasing one on the spot. Ultimately, I decided to wait and attend one of her upcoming shows at the gallery so that WG could have a say in the decision.

Amsterdam’s Dolf D. Van Omme’s 19th – 21st C European Fine Arts dazzled me with their collection of high-end art. Prices started around the 2,000E price point and moved judiciously towards the teens and twenties as the pedigrees improved. Of particular interest was the work by Leo Gestel and Piet van der Hem. While I know Antiek de Eikelhof more for their 17th C Dutch, English, Spanish and French commodes, armoires and bureaus, it was their paintings at the fair that caused me to pause for more than an instant. A well-versed clerk explained the difference in the paintings and informed me which artist was undervalued and what was a good investment piece. While I’ve never visited their store in Marienheem, I’m certainly adding them to my list of “Must See’s” in the future.

Last, but not least, I cannot neglect mentioning two of my favorite jewelers at the fair – Le Camee and Ans Hemke Kuilboer (Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 67, Amsterdam). Anyone who knows me well knows that I love Ans Hemke Kuilboer, and an afternoon in Amsterdam’s Spiegelkwartier is not complete without trying on a few baubles in her shop. I was delighted to find her at the fair! Sadly, Le Camee doesn’t have a shop in town. They only “do the fairs” but I’ve been assured that they’ve already signed up to have a stall at InterEvent’s next fair, Authentiek, held in the Paleis Het Loo on April 17 – 20.

At the end of the day I was exhausted from all that hard-core Antiques Diva research. You must know it’s hard work being a diva! In fact, I was so worn out from all that window-shopping I had half a mind to rush over to Het Arsenaal to check out the services in their day spa – Beauty Results.

After all, a Diva’s work is never done!

Until next time, Happy Shopping!

The Antiques Diva™