For ten days in March, TEFAF, the world's leading art and antiques fair offers you a unique chance to rub shoulders with art dealers, academics, art critics and collectors from across the planet in Maastricht, Holland.
Even it you aren't actually planning to acquire that Le Corbusier chair or the Willem de Kooning painting that would look so good back home in your living room, nobody can deny you the art collector's pleasure of strolling around admiring the objets d'art the dealers at TEFAF Maastricht have on display.
From the 12th to the 21st of March, the Convention and Exhibition Centre of the Dutch town will host the 23rd edition of this international event, which, despite the recession, is all set to break records with a list of 263 high-class exhibitors from 17 countries, each offering their very best pieces with authenticity confirmed by a veritable army of experts.
Over 30,000 works, from classical antiquity to the twenty-first century will be on display for visitors and potential buyers: paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, furniture, manuscripts, jewellery, textiles, porcelain, glass, silver and even the latest in design.
The list of pieces "with pedigree" that will be on sale includes such highlights as, The Courtenay Compendium, a long-lost collection of historical tracts that includes the first major manuscript about the travels of Marco Polo, an exquisite Gothic altarpiece by Giovanni Di Paolo, an 1822 Portrait of George Washington by the American artist Gilbert Stuart, an exceptional carved Chinese seal from the Kangxi period and a rare handcrafted seventeenth-century Indo-Portuguese casket from Goa of which only two other similar examples are known in the world.
Last year, when the world was already in the grip of economic gloom, the strong sales at the fair to both private collectors and museums showed that the market for great art continues to enjoy good health. So it is that the global economic situation has not prevented a new section being incorporated into the fair this year: TEFAF on Paper will be devoted entirely to the exhibition of watercolours, Japanese prints, antiquarian books and manuscripts, photography, limited edition prints, and Old Master and modern drawings.
A total of 19 dealers will be exhibiting in the TEFAF on Paper section, which marks the final expansion of the Fair. The exisiting Paintings, Drawings and Prints section is second only in size to the Antiques and Works of Art section, which brings together nearly a hundred of the best art galleries in the world.
Last year the Design section was introduced to the Fair and its success will be repeated this year with such well known names from the field as Frank Lloyd Wright, Gio Ponti, Otto Wagner and Le Corbusier. An older element of the Fair is the TEFAF Showcase, an initiative that offers the opportunity of one-off participation to recently established galleries. The Showcase gives young dealers the experience of taking part in a major international art event, as well as offering visitors the chance to peek into the most interesting emerging galleries in the world.
Tips & suggestions:
TEFAF will take place from March 12th to 21st at the MECC (www.mecc.nl), the Convention and Exhibition Centre on the outskirts of the city of Maastricht in southern Holland.
Opening hours are from 11 am to 7 pm except on the final Sunday, when it will close at 6 pm.
Entry is 55 € per person per day, which includes a catalogue or 90 € for two people also including a single catalogue; a ticket giving access for all days costs 110 €; young people aged 12 to 18 20 €. Accompanied children under 12 admitted free.
Tickets can be purchased on-line directly from TEFAF