Tefaf in New York

October 31 2016

Image of Tefaf in New York

Picture: Otto Naumann

I hear good things so far about the new Tefaf venture in New York. Tefaf runs the world's largest Old Master fair in Maastricht in Holland, but concerns about declining numbers of US collectors making it all the way to Maastricht - which is not exactly easy to get to - prompted them to think about moving the mountain, so to speak.

Here's an overview of some OMP sales from Sarah Hanson in The Art Newspaper:

Many Europeans cited unmet demand in New York for quality works from pre-modern eras as a main reason for signing up, and their hopes appeared validated by sales rung up in the opening hours. Among the biggest tickets was at Richard Green Gallery, which sold Bernardo Bellotto’s Venice, a view of the Grand Canal looking east from the Palazzo Loredan Cini on the Campo San Vio, circa 1741-42, for about $5m to an American collector. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, better known as a collector of contemporary art, snapped up Anton Raphael Mengs’s mid-18th-century eerily incomplete Portrait of Mariana de Silva y Sarmiento, Duquesa de Huescar [above], for $275,000 from Otto Naumann. (The painting, which was featured in the Met Breuer’s inaugural exhibition Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, earlier this year, sold for £39,650 with premium at Christie’s London in July 2012.)

The Mengs referred to above is a fascinating example of how a work of art can gain in reputation (and value) through appropriate exposure. When it surfaced at auction in London in 2012, the picture had never been known before, and might have struck some as, well, weird. The estimate was just £12k-£18k, and it made £39k. But four years later, having been a star of the Metropolitan Museum's recent exhibition on unfinished paintings, and regularly reproduced, it seems now to be firmly established as one of Mengs' best known works. And in its unfinished state it fits happily into a contemporary aesthetic. 

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