Vetting at TEFAF

March 6 2017

Video: TEFAF

The annual 'TEFAF' art fair at Maastricht opens on Thursday (9th March). The above video shows you some of the gadgets that the vetting committees at Tefaf now use, including an amazing portable x-ray system. There's no doubt that the vetting at Tefaf, already the toughest in the world, has had to increase its diligence in the light of various fake scandals. I must say I've always been impressed enough with the vetting there, and the tales of woe I hear from dealers (some of which I know are justified) are if nothing else evidence of the very strict systems the fair has in place. I suppose you could say that 'safety first' is the approach. I do recall being extremely suspicious of one work, an Old Master, on a previous visit. But it was an exception. I was also once obliged to tip-off a vetter about a suspect picture heading for the fair. It was not exhibited.

In a new article on, Arjen Ribbens highlights that the terms and conditions at TEFAF remind visitors that ultimate liability for items lies with the exhibitors themselves, and not the fair. I suppose this is required in case visitors are tempted to think that the extensive vetting means there is a general TEFAF guarantee, which alas there is not. In the NRC piece, Ribbens mentions a possible fake Adriaen Coorte still life that was exhibited at TEFAF in 2009. The article also suggests this painting was linked to Giulano Ruffini.

I'll be at Tefaf on Friday & Saturday 10th & 11th, so hope to see some of you there. I've been invited to talk at a CODART 'salon' on the state of the Old Master market. This is a great privilege for me.  

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