TEFAF is widely regarded as the world’s pre-eminent organization of fine art, antiques, and design. TEFAF, once known as The European Fine Arts Fair, has existed in Maastricht, the Netherlands, since 1988. Building on its history and success, the fair expanded globally last year, adding two New York editions: A fall fair focusing on art and antiquities up to 1920 and a spring edition that highlights the best art and design produced from the Modern era up to today. Besides attracting the world’s top galleries, what sets TEFAF apart from other leading art fairs is the great emphasis it places on quality through a rigorous vetting process in which each work is checked for quality and authenticity by experts.
As the world’s most buoyant art market, New York City provides the ideal location for the TEFAF Fair. The Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was home to the second edition of TEFAF New York Spring which ran from May 4 – May 8, 2018. The historic Armory provides the prime setting for the world’s leading art dealers to meet with curators and collectors. The Fair’s timing in early May is intended to coincide with auctions, exhibitions and other fairs in New York dedicated to modern and contemporary art and design, including Christie’s expansive sale of Peggy and David Rockefeller’s collection
The well- heeled crowd, including some of the biggest collectors in the world, streamed into the Fair on opening day. The aisles were jam-packed with people sipping Champagne and shooting freshly shucked oysters as gigantic cylinders of flowers hung from the ceiling above them. With about 90 dealers in attendance, the Fair brought out deeply blue-chip art.
Nahmad, whose booth right next to the entrance, presented works priced from seven figures on up: a Jean Arp at $1.5 million, a Max Ernst at $12 million, a Fernand Léger at $13 million, and a Joan Miró at $15 million.
David Zwirner had gone with modern masters, Josef Albers (two works by the artist sold by late afternoon, for $1.75 million and $750,000 and Giorgio Morandi, with two works also selling, for undisclosed prices.
Not far away, Hauser & Wirth was presenting pieces by Eva Hesse, Philip Guston, and Louise Bourgeois, and early in the day it had already parted with a late Guston—painted in 1979, the year before his death—for $5.5 million.
With the success of the auction business, art fairs have grown in size and number in recent years. While auctions create a pressured environment to buy, art fairs like TEFAF provide a more relaxed environment. TEFAF champions the finest quality art from across the ages by creating a community of the world’s top art dealers and experts to inspire lovers and buyers of art everywhere.
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