The Wall Street Journal / 13th Mar 2014
EVERY MARCH, art-world insiders accustomed to the frenetic party feel of Frieze London and Art Basel Miami Beach descend on the small Dutch city of Maastricht for The European Fine Art Fair. Even the organizers admit that getting to Tefaf, which opens today and runs through March 23, can be a test of motivation. Unless they travel by private jet, visitors arriving from Amsterdam or Brussels can expect at least two train changes. Dining venues are scarce. Yet with more than 35,000 works on offer—strictly vetted by 175 experts—and 70,000 visitors, it is Europe’s largest fair by number of works and boasts the world’s highest attendance for a fair not solely focused on contemporary art. Since its 1975 launch as a meeting point for Old Master specialists, Tefaf has expanded to include design, jewelry, modern art and works on paper while remaining the one fair where high-priced Old Masters continue to sell well. “Tefaf is the kind of fair where people can see the value in a Rembrandt only slightly bigger than a postage stamp,” says Manhattan-based dealer David Tunick, who is selling a 6.5-centimeter by 6.1-centimeter Rembrandt self-portrait circa 1629 for €162,000. Here, our highlights from Tefaf’s top five sections.
Van Gogh windmill
‘Moulin de la Galette,’ by Vincent van Gogh, April 1887 ENLARGE
‘Moulin de la Galette,’ by Vincent van Gogh, April 1887 DICKINSON GALLERY
This $20 million Vincent van Gogh, from New York- and London-based Dickinson gallery, is one of the fair’s most expensive works. Though windmills became a classic theme for Van Gogh, he painted “Moulin de la Galette” in April 1887, before developing his signature late-period style.