Taking over the cavernous halls of the Park Avenue Armory, The European Fine Art Fair, better known as TEFAF, has returned to the Big Apple for another year, bringing a sense of balance and focus to the broad selection of fairs spread across the city. The fair, which is now in its second year in the city of New York, has become one of the more noteworthy additions to an already crowded week of sales and fairs, with its focus towards high-end blue chip artworks in conjunction with classic design, artifacts and other fields, a focus that makes it both a concentration of the focus of many fair proceedings around town, and an elaboration, seeking buyers new to the field of collecting fine art, furniture, or otherwise, through a more organic mode.
Yet that note doesn’t drive home the impressive depth and focus of the fair this year, which has dug deep to present an impressively-scaled and tightly-curated iteration this year. With early market analysis pointing to a resurgent Modernist market, the dealers at TEFAF seem well-situated for a strong week. The neighborhood galleries, among them Hauser & Wirth and Lévy Gorvy, performed particularly well, with marquee works selling quickly to strong results. Even with the fair’s broad focus, recent blue-chippers were still a strong draw. Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Extra Cigarette sold promptly at the latter at a $5 million price tag, while Hauser moved a powerful Philip Guston for a similar price of $5.5 million. Over at Gagosian, works by Brice Marden and John Currin could be had, adding a more contemporary edge to the fair’s offerings.
Also of note was a body of works by Cindy Sherman at Skarstedt, her work exploring Renaissance modes of portraiture that offered a fitting balance between the masters paintings nearby and more contemporary fare. A similar feat was accomplished by Amy Sillman and Andrew Lord at Gladstone, with sculptures and paintings playing on more classical modes of depiction.
This same sense of cultural conversation was perhaps one of the reasons why the atmosphere seemed so lively at the fair, with works enervated by unique juxtapositions and perspectives. More contemporary paintings found easy connections with nearby Picassos, like a striking series of pieces at Edward Nahem, and both ends of the 20th Century art spectrum seemed right at home placed next to a series of furniture pieces at Paris’s esteemed Galerie Downtown. It was almost as if these works, placed back into their clear collaboration with the language of modernism in all of its forms (architecture, design, etc.), made for a more unique, and refreshing perspective, on the practice of art-making more broadly.
The fair will continue through May 8th.
— D. Creahan
TEFAF NY [TEFAF]