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.
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.
I always tell Diva Clients who are interested in learning about antiques to go to the museums. Study the art, study quality and then take that knowledge home with you and out to the flea market and apply it at prices that don’t rival the USA’s national deficit. This is why you go to TEFAF.
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!
The Antiques Diva ™
All Photos by Max-Nathan Punter
Both oil on panel, each approx. 113.2 x 86.3 cm. Estimate €80,000 – 120,000.
Dear Diva Readers,
With the May 5th Sotheby’s sale, here’s your chance to score an Old Master or at the very least examine one with the blue light. One of the things I love most about high-end antique sales is the opportunity to get up close and personal with museum pieces without the constraint of the museum security guard watching over my shoulder! I’m the girl you wonder about when you see her getting escorted out of the museum for pressing her face too close to a master-piece. I’ve been known to set off more than one security alarm over the years – most recently at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin when I was examining an 18th C painting done of the street in Berlin where I now live. In my defense, I come by it naturally – when my mom came to visit me in Paris she got us kicked out of the chateau in St Germain-en-Laye for opening a closed door to the dungeons. Like mother like daughter! That said, if you’re like me and want to see the reverse side of paintings, ask endless questions about the techniques used, it’s provenance, (who owned it/when) and learn the prices of museum-pieces, then you should definitely visit the May 5th, 2009 Old Master’s sale at Sotheby’s Amsterdam!
Raise your paddle for great landscapes, still-lifes, portraits, biblical and genre scenes by Dutch old masters from the 15th to 18th century. Given this is A’dam, the sale has a special focus on the Dutch Golden Age. One of the highlights is a stunning family portrait by the 17th century master Jan van Noordt which is remarkable for its quality, elegance, coloring and size. Also of particular interest (see image above) in the art community is a pair of portraits done by the Delft master Willem Willemsz van der Vliet, of the charming 17th C couple – Willem Reyersz. de Langue and his wife Maria Pijnaeker. Willem de Langue (1599-1656) was a notary in Delft who worked for several artists including Delft’s famous home-town boy Johannes Vermeer.
Should you not be able to make this Sotheby’s sale but are salivating over the thought of touching the masters, then plan ahead to attend TEFAF next year. TEFAF, The European Fine Arts Fair, is the crème de la crème of arts and antiques fairs – this is the best antiques show in the world. Here you rub shoulders with museum curators and jet setters (as well as mere mortals like me who can’t afford a master but love the opportunity to see their price tags). Next years TEFAF will be March 12 -21, 2010 – book your airfare and hotels now to insure you have a place to sleep! Beds book up early and airfares into Holland skyrocket this time of year! To read more about the 2009 TEFAF, click here!
The Antiques Diva™