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March 2011 - At the 24th edition of TEFAF the standard of the exhibits is breathtaking. Exhibitors put their finest works of art to one side to bring to the world's most influential art and antiques fair. The Fair opens to the public today and continues until 27 March.
Masterpieces at TEFAF
Among the many highlights of this year's Fair are three works by the great Dutch painter Frans Hals. Noortman Master Paintings has a pair of portraits of a married couple by Hals dated 1637. Otto Naumann is showing Portrait of a Gentleman, a striking portrait of an unidentified sitter painted in 1630 and showing Hals at the height of his powers. Another important Old Master is Mankind's Eternal Dilemma – the Choice between Vice and Virtue which can justifiably be called Frans Francken the Younger's greatest masterpiece. Johnny van Haeften is asking $14 million for this great work.
Modern and contemporary highlights
A startlingly contemporary work by Johnny Swing is on the stand of Sebastian + Barquet. All the King's Men is a sculpted sofa made in 2010 from half dollar coins and stainless steel and was acquired directly from the artist. Landau Fine Art presents a Miró exhibition with paintings, drawings and sculptures. Among the latter is the olive wood work Oiseau lunaire, dating from 1945, which is one of Miró's earliest sculptures. Hamiltons Gallery exhibits erotic scenes by the famous photographer Helmut Newton. These include Charlotte Rampling at the Hotel Nord Pinus, Arles, a 1973 nude portrait of the international film star.
Rarity and astonishing artistic skill are recurring themes at TEFAF. A suit of South German Stechzeug jousting armour dating from c1490-95 is the only authentic example of its kind remaining in private hands. Exhibited by Peter Finer it is on sale for €1.9 million. Cohen & Cohen has a very important pair of Chinese leopards dating from the reign of the Kangxi Emperor c1720. These magnificent enameled porcelain figures, with an asking price of £3.5 million, are believed to have been made for the Emperor himself.
A rediscovered imperial writing desk
The expertise that exhibitors bring to TEFAF is exemplified by the magnificent 1825 secretaire exhibited by Kunsthandel Peter Mühlbauer. A present from Queen Charlotte Auguste Mathilde of Wurttemberg to her stepson Wilhelm I this writing desk by Johannes Klinckerfuss descended to a prince who lost his title when he married a commoner. The couple moved to Britain where they died in a car crash. Because they were childless the desk was put in storage and forgotten. It eventually ended up in a small country auction where Peter Mühlbauer discovered it and unearthed its royal pedigree.
Visitors can download the free TEFAF Mobile Guide, an application for Android and iPhone. The application has been developed to help visitors get the most out of their visit to TEFAF. It offers a virtual tour, videos, an interactive floor plan, an overview of the Fair's sections, exhibitors and restaurants at the Fair and other information. It can be downloaded at www.tefaf.com/mobile and from the iTunes AppStore and Android Market. More information
TEFAF supports international cancer research
Since 2004 TEFAF Maastricht has supported international cancer research by a TEFAF Chair of Oncology at Maastricht University Medical Centre