Art Lovers: On the March to Maastricht and TEFAF
TEFAF—or as its self-styled, very un-Dutch in chest-thumping bravado but nevertheless true sobriquet states, “The World’s Leading Art and Antiques Fair”—rolls into the tiny, picturesque town of Maastricht in the southern Netherlands at the end of next week.
The fair runs from March 12-21, and with a record number of 263 exhibitors from 17 countries, and over 30,000 works of art and antiques for sale (including paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, furniture, classical antiquities, illuminated manuscripts, jewellery, textiles, porcelain, glass and silver), excitement and expectations are high.
Energy is further stoked by the addition of TEFAF on Paper, a new section devoted entirely to works on paper, and the impending release of TEFAF’s latest specially prepared reports examining how the international art market has fared during the economic recession.
TEFAF, of course, is the kind of fair at which exhibitors unveil their rarest and biggest wares, be that something recently discovered in an attic in Normandy or Antwerp, an auction house in New Orleans, or in their own vaults. Below is a press release detailing a major late Gaugin, which dovetails well with a concurrent exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam of Gaugin’s zincographs (information on this is also contained below).
GAUGUIN TAHITIAN MASTERPIECE
ON SALE AT TEFAF MAASTRICHT 12-21 MARCH 2010
Deux Femmesby Paul Gauguin, 1902, oil on canvas, 74 x 64.5 cm
Helvoirt, 4 February 2010 – One of Paul Gauguin’s last major works is to be offered for sale by the leading international art dealer Dickinson for a price in the region of €18 million (US$26 million) at TEFAF Maastricht. Gauguin created this painting during a final burst of creativity following his retreat to a remote Pacific island as far away from civilisation as possible. The 23rdedition of the world’s most influential art and antiques fairwill take place at the MECC (Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre) in the southern Netherlands from 12-21 March 2010.
The rare late Tahitian Gauguin will be one of the highlights of The European Fine Art Fair reinforcing its reputation for offering the very best works of art for sale. The picture was painted in 1902, a year before Gauguin’s death, while he was living on Hiva Oa in the remote Marquesas Islands 740 miles from Tahiti. Unhappy with what he saw as the increasingly European colonial atmosphere on the main Tahitian islands, he landed at Atuona, the capital of Hiva Oa, in September 1901.
Gauguin praised the Marquesas in a letter to his friend Daniel de Monfried. ‘I assure you from the point of view of painting it’s admirable,’ he told him. ‘Poetry emerges here of its own accord, and it can be evoked simply by allowing oneself to dream while painting. I ask for just two years of good health and not too many money worries, which now have excessive hold over my nervous temperament, in order to reach a certain maturity in my art.’
Unfortunately his wish for good health was not to be granted. His illness was probably partially responsible for the increasingly dream-like nature of his art and his late paintings from the Marquesas, such as Deux Femmes, are more self-referential. They are a composite of motifsdrawn from Western art, Gauguin’s collection of photographs and memories and symbols sourced from his own life and work.
The symbolism of Deux Femmes is obscure, and rests on an arcane vocabulary developed by Gauguin. However the mysterious nature of the painting, accentuated by the lush, intoxicating richness of the colours, brilliantly portrays the exotic primitivism at the root of Gauguin’s fascination with the inhabitants of the Pacific islands. The two female figures relate to the Biblical character of Eve, a key figure in Gauguin’s personal mythology, while the fox sitting outside the house has a long history in his oeuvreas a symbol of perversity. In the last months of 1902 and early 1903 Gauguin’s health declined and on the island of Hiva Oa on 8 May 1902 he died.
Deux Femmesis first recorded in the collection of Marie Paul Voûte (1882-1955), a member of a family of successful Dutch merchants. It is thought to have been the first Tahitian Gauguin to enter a Dutch collection and Voute is known to have also owned two paintings by Van Gogh.
Deux Femmes is being offered for sale through Dickinson by a leading British private collector who bought it at auction four years ago. James Roundell, a director of Dickinson, said: ‘The owner has decided to focus on pictures from later in the 20thcentury and is rationalizing his collection. Although the owner is still enthusiastic about the picture, the Gauguin does not fit in with the new focus and is the odd one out in the collection.’ Dickinson, based in London and New York, is a leading international dealer in Old Master and Impressionist paintings and Modern and Contemporary Art.
Gauguin exhibition – Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
During TEFAF there will be an exhibition on Gauguin’s zincographs at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. In 1889, during the Paris World’s Fair, Gauguin exhibited a series of prints he had made at the instigation of Theo van Gogh, which was to become known as the Volpini Suite. The exhibition is the first to examine in depth this series of lithographs, which played a crucial role in Gauguin’s development into a modern artist. A total of 60 works of art will be shown.
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