Maastricht Art Fair – Top Sales roundup, diamond thefts…

March 11th, 2008

Willem de Kooning, ‘Untitled XV’ 1986 via bloomberg

The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), in Maastricht, South Netherlands, started off its festivities with a twist on Thursday, March 6th. The fair, which has been an annual event for over 30 years, was robbed at its VIP reception, which attracted 10,000 major collectors, before even opening to the public this year.

Collectors Forum [Hamilton FitzJames]
Million dollar diamond necklace stolen during Dutch art fair [Europe World News]
Maastricht Art Fair, Pollock sells for $8 Million [The New York Times]
TEFAF: Antiquities, Old Masters and Furniture sell [Telegraph]
Willem de Kooning’s painting sells for 5 million [Bloomberg]
Maastricht Fair Offers $1 Billion of Artworks to Collectors [Bloomberg]
Fair opens with a twist [ARTINFO]
Deutsche Bank sponsors 30 year old tradition in 2008 [Bloomberg]
TEFAF Roundup [Bloomberg]
Major collectors, dealers and artists [Wall Street Journal]

The police were able to act quickly after a UK dealer reported the diamond necklace stolen. The necklace was a 1948 William Ruser worth 1.2 million. Three of the guests, two women and a man, were apprehended by police that night. The diamond necklace was reportedly worn out of the building by one of the women, and not detected by security. However, it is thought that the other woman or man was able to smuggle and dispose of the diamonds before being arrested.

The theft happened prior to TEFAF’s public opening, when visitors were thoroughly checked before coming in and while leaving the exhibition. Other than the tense start, the fair was an astonishing success. 25,000 guests attended the fair, which was sponsored by the largest Dutch bank in the Netherlands (Deutsche Bank.) The Fair ran from March 5 – 9th, and over 15 countries were represented by 250 dealers.

The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) via Armory Show Archive

Koopman Rare Art of London, and Pelham Galleries of Paris and London both reported record sales. Other notable exhibitors were Geofrey Munn of Wartski Gallery, based in London, and Bernard de Grunne, a private art dealer from Brussels.

In the Contemporary and Post-War market, Jackson Pollock’s “The Magic Flame,” sold for $8 million. Willem de Kooning’s painting “Untitled” sold for $5 million at the invitation-only preview. Van Gogh’s “Portrait of a Child,” sold by an agency in London, went for $30 million. A Lucian Freud painting, “Ria, Naked Portrait,” was offered by Acquavella Galleries Inc., and sold for $15 million.

Other big sales included a 13th Century bronze aquamanile of a falconer sold for 2 million to a European collector, and a mid-15th Century walnut sculpture “The Flight Into Egypt,” which sold for 40 million to a Belgian collector.