Newspaper article International New York Times

European Fair Looks Westward

Newspaper article International New York Times

European Fair Looks Westward

Article excerpt

The Dutch art fair plans to starting holding spring and fall shows in New York, giving its galleries the chance "to go where the market is."

During the 28 previous editions of The European Fine Art Fair in the Dutch town of Maastricht, its appeal has been straightforward. "It's like the Met museum, but everything is for sale," said Boris Vervoordt, a director of Axel Vervoordt, a gallery based in Belgium.

The gallery is again among the 275 dealers showing their wares at the 29th edition of Tefaf, which takes place March 11 to March 20 at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Center.

Though contemporary works from around the world are now part of the mix, the fair has also been one of the few places where older European pieces are available, like a head of Eros, a Roman work in marble from the first century B.C., at the Vervoordt booth.

The nonprofit European Fine Art Foundation, which runs the fair, made news this year by announcing a major expansion to the United States. It has joined with the art advising firm Artvest to stage two new fairs: Tefaf New York Fall, to take place in October, and Tefaf New York Spring, replacing two existing fairs at the Park Avenue Armory.

Anyone expecting that the westward focus means big changes at the fair Maastricht will be disappointed, according to its leaders: Tefaf will, as it always has, concentrate on the top tier.

But there will be structural tweaks this year, including a streamlined arrangement of aisles for better flow and accessibility, said Patrick van Maris, the fair's chief executive.

Willem van Roijen, Tefaf's chairman, said there were a few dealers who thought they were not getting enough traffic at their booths. "I think they won't complain anymore," he said. "At least I hope not."

Every year the fair welcomes some new galleries. First-time exhibitors in the fair's main sectors include the Buchmann Galerie of Berlin; Pearl Lam Galleries of Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong; and Waddington Custot, Burzio and Sydney L. Moss, all from London.

Another new feature is an early access event, which took place on March 10, fitting the trend of catering to V.I.P. buyers who like to make big purchases early -- a trend that galleries often prefer as well. "Some collectors want special treatment, so we gave them a special preview -- a preview before the preview," Mr. van Roijen said.

Each gallery got to put 10 collectors names on the Early Access list, which targets people who know exactly what they want. "They fly in, do business, and they're back in New York for dinner," Mr. Van Roijen said.

The fair's location in Maastricht -- sort of near everything, but not really close to anything -- is also part of its unique character. …

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