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Art News

TEFAF Maastricht’s Unique Blend of Art History, Contemporary Art, and Design Is Its Great Differentiator

Original article written for Art News

In a cozy booth across the one of the six restaurants at TEFAF Maastricht, the art fair organized by the European Fine Art Foundation, BIll Rau, a New Orleans-based art, antiquities, and jewelry dealer, was talking about his most recent sale. The buyer, he told ARTnews, was considering Head of a Fisherman, an 1883 pencil and black lithographic crayon work by Vincent Van Gogh

“The gentleman was trying to get me to lower the price, he said ‘well, you know, it’s not that good’…then the director of the Van Gogh Museum walked up and started talking about how good the drawing was,” Rau explained. The man didn’t negotiate any further.  

That’s the kind of thing that happens at TEFAF. Multiple dealers said that, while people often focus on big money sales at Frieze or Art Basel, the Maastricht fair is where you are most likely to find top brass from institutions from across the globe.

Rau’s booth alone could have been a room in the Metropolitan Museum. The highlight, which had been put on hold by midday on Friday, the second VIP day, was another Van Gogh, Tête de paysanne à la coiffe blanche (1884), which was priced at $5.5 million. A dynamic pastel work by Degas that not long ago was given its own room while on loan to the J. Paul Getty Museum, Ukrainian Dancers (1899), was priced at around $20 million. Seven of the works Rau brought had sold by the second VIP day.

Continue to the full article here.


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