Get out the jet - it's Maastricht

March 16 2011

Image of Get out the jet - it's Maastricht

Excitement is building ahead of The European Fine Art Fair, which opens tomorrow in Maastricht. Last year, 171 private jets landed at the local airport. The event is a major showcase for Old Master dealers - but can they withstand the pressure from major auction houses? 

Scott Reyburn of Bloomberg has highlighted the growing battle between dealers and auction houses: [More below]

Works by Rembrandt and Renoir will be among 30,000 items worth more than 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) offered at the world’s biggest art and antiques fair as dealers vie with auction houses to lure wealthy buyers.

Old Master dealers have been the mainstay of Tefaf. With auctions now usually the starting point for the limited pool of new buyers drawn to historic paintings, the event gives traders a chance to see fresh faces. 

“People go to the auctions first, then come to dealers when they feel more confident,” the London-based Old Master specialist Jean-Luc Baroni said in an interview. “If we’re going to meet new collectors, we’ll meet them at Maastricht.”

Recently, Sotheby's and Christie's have seen their own private sales grow enormously. In 2006, Sotheby's acquired one of the world's major Old Master dealers, Noortman Master Paintings, which exhibits at Maastricht every year. I'm going tomorrow (by train), and will report back on any excitements. 

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