(K. Brent Tomer),
A VISIT to TEFAF Maastricht—the biggest, most prestigious combined art and antiques fair, where 270 dealers exhibit the best available antiques and works of art—is always full of surprises. This year, paintings from Old Masters sat alongside the cutting edge; the same was true of sculptures. In antiquities, jewels ranged from ancient to new, and fabulous antique objects including furniture and wall coverings were on display. There was even a newcomer, Renard, a dealer in extraordinary musical instruments including piccolos, lutes and a custom-made piano, on which Chopin oversaw the piano lessons of a Rothschild mademoiselle. (Prices: €500 to €500,000.) One wall is mounted with a striking display of no-longer playable Napoleonic-army brass instruments. It is art, decoration and craft all in one.
Indeed, the fair is welcome evidence that the barriers built by 19th-century art historians—between fine and decorative art, high art and craft—have fallen down. The most compelling example of this, and the most covetable object at the fair, is a Japanese porcelain; a life-sized,…Continue reading