Reporting from New York: TEFAF New York is Fabulous

The European Fine Arts Foundation debuted in New York City at the storied Park Avenue Armory, and it is a breath-taking affair 

Review by Teriha Yaegashi

For those of you who found Frieze Masters to be a bit of a bore this year (ahem, Guardian art critic) and also happen to find yourselves in New York this week, do check out the TEFAF art fair, also known as The European Fine Art Foundation. Originally based in Maastricht, this is the fair’s first debut outside of Europe – and it is extraordinary.

Bringing together 94 of the world’s specialist dealers in antiquities, museum-worthy fine art, design, furniture and jewelry, the fair carries an air of gravitas, glamour and history that fits naturally with the Park Ave Armory’s beautifully restored interiors.

In this context, it was quite obvious that the majority of New York dealers brought in to the fair had specialized in American antiques, and they looked shockingly new in comparison to the European dealers, who had brought forth some of the greatest treasures of Europe and Asia, each of which had an exceptional provenance. It is no wonder that the Manhattan art world has been abuzz, and many celebrities and serious collectors were quick to snap up these treasures on the opening night

Luckily, the pieces are still on view for a few more days, until Wednesday Oct 26.

Here are a few don’t-miss pieces:

As if you could miss them, the Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquity treasure at Cahn International (booth #13), just across from the main entrance, are breathtaking and each piece is beyond museum-quality. (Cahn himself is on the board of TEFAF, so you know he’s really brought out some of the best of the best.) Make your way into the main hall of the armory, and you’ll find yourself delighted by the Richard Green’s booth (#67), where there are paintings by masters like Monet, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Renoir, among others. Immediately to the right is an exceptional 18th century Italian stone inlay marble piece at Galerie Ferrin of Paris (booth #70).

Now, you’ve found yourself in a good corner – Gregg Baker of London (booth #72) has some delightful Japanese gold screen paintings from the 17th century that are prime examples of the medium, though they show their age. Around the bend, Jack Kilgore (booth #77) has a delightful mix of paintings by Mela Muter, the first professional female painter in Poland. A bit further down, Lowell Libson (booth #80) has smaller works by British master painters like J. M. W. Turner, Constable, Gainsborough that can’t be missed – your writer was particularly charmed by a very small Constable oil painting sketch (priced at $315,000). Further down, Shapero Rare Books (booth #88) offered glimpses at Matisse’s Jazz series, and Crouch/Forum (booth #95) had the most incredible world maps, including one from the dawn of the Dutch Golden Age by the famed 16th Century Portuguese cartographer Luis Teixeira (sold).

Upstairs, it would be impossible to miss the gorgeous room-turned-artist-atelier by living legend Axel Vervoodt (booth #9). Antiquities mixed with worn-in furniture and painter’s easels created an effortless, cozy, fantastically creative environment that was truly hard to leave. Finally, it would be recommended to pop over next door to Galerie Chenel (booth #10) to finish off your visit, with a meditation in this darkened room with perfectly spot-lit Egyptian and Roman marble statues – like a shrine to the ancient arts.

Americans are usually kings of casual, but this is an event to dress up for – and remember that the world is actually much grander, larger and more storied, and we are lucky to see them here, in the middle of Manhattan. riddle_stop 2



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