I just reread the blogs I wrote about TEFAF in Maastricht over the last two years and I am not sure what to say anymore. I been fortunate to have had many great experiences in my life and I feel I have been able to aptly express my thoughts and emotions about those times, but I seem to have some difficulty clarifying my impressions of this phenomenon known as The European Fine Art Fair.
Maybe it stems from my fervent fascination with art and the relationship we humans have always had with it. Mostly, I just enjoy looking at it in all its forms with the pleasurable anticipation of what it does for me emotionally, but my curiosity always leads me to want to know more about the who, when, where and why and that’s what you can find in Maastricht at TEFAF.
Maybe I should just tell you about just a couple of the encounters I have had here this year.
I feel like I have always been a fan of Auguste Rodin and his great sculptures like “The Thinker”, “The Kiss” and my favorite “Balzac”. Bowman Sculpture of London has a booth here and they are the foremost gallery in the world for sculpture by Auguste Rodin.
I was admiring the bust Rodin did of Victor Hugo and Willoughby Gerrish approached as I turned to “The Kiss”. This famous embrace of Paolo and Francesca is a story from Dante’s” Inferno” and it tells of this young couple being stabbed as they embraced by Francesca’s husband Giancotto, who was Paolo’s brother, but I had some questions and Willoughby turned to a young Italian gentleman standing nearby and mentioned that Mateo was the one we should ask because he had actually studied Dante’s Inferno from the Divine Comedy along with Rodin’s frequent references to it. Mateo then told me the rest of the story.
Before you know the tale you just see this beautiful young couple in a romantic embrace and then you find out that Francesca is cheating on her husband Giancotto with his brother Paolo. You now know why they were killed by him and condemned to hell. Then you discover that Francesca was forced to marry Giancotto, Paolo’s older, ugly and crippled brother and you feel sympathy for her and Paolo.
You can look at a beautiful sculpture like Rodin’s “The Kiss” cast in 1905 in France and see a beautiful sensitive work of art by one the world’s most famous sculptors. Then again you can understand the story and see so much more.
The “Galerie De La Presidence” in Paris is owned by mother and daughter Francoise and Florence Chibret-Plaussu and they have some beautiful watercolors by Paul Signac in their booth. I have seen several of these small watercolors and always admired them. Florence told me the wonderful story of this neo-Impressionist and his associations with Van Gogh, Monet, Pissarro and Seurat. She told me all about the series of watercolors he did of the boats and harbors of France mainly because of his love for boats. He had owned over 30 in his life and it was the main reason he bought a house on the Mediterranean in St Tropez. I told her about my upcoming trip to the south of France and how I would be driving from Aix to Nice and she told me I could not go that close to St Tropez without stopping by and visiting the small, but beautiful Musee de l’Annonciade there and I quickly agreed to take her advice and alter my route.
Here are a few more pictures from around the show. Do not forget that you can click on them to enlarge and then click again to make the even bigger.
This visit to Maastricht has gone by so quickly and I am heading for Paris tomorrow.
March 12, 2018
Great reading, Paul, thank you. A question, however, do you have a feel for who the buyers may be for all that art? Are they genuine collectors or mostly just investors who will store the art in a vault?!
March 12, 2018
Gavin, The only people I have ever known who bought art and put it in a vault were part of an art fund and they were public Wall St investment instruments like mutual funds that you could buy shares in, but they bought art instead of stocks. I am not sure any still exist. The people in Maastricht and at the big auctions may have motivations other than pure love, like wanting to show it off and probably a little of both, but you can bet that 8 million dollar Monet is going on the wall in the living room. These are smart people and they do know they are buying art that has a strong secondary market and the chances are good that they will be able to at least get most of their money back and they may very well make money if they ever decide to sell. This is great stuff that can enrich your life and beautify your home and as long as you have insurance their would be no reason to ever hide it away. If I was a “gozillionaire” I would be sending home a shipping container right now and calling you to tell you I needed house with more wall space. I would not be looking for secure storage. I hope that answers your question.