TEFAF Maastricht 2022
A rich selection of French and Italian 20th century design, including masterpieces by Joseph-André Motte, Ercole Barovier and Eugene Printz.
25th-30th June 2022
‘EXQUISITE’ IS THE word that comes to mind when one thinks about the Design selection offered at TEFAF Maastricht this year. For this edition, postponed owing to Covid, the European Fine Art Fair had a difficult time slot, right after Art Basel and Design Miami/Basel, and therefore most of the design galleries had to choose between the two – except for the Manufacture de Sèvres, which presented a selection of limited editions in both instances.
As a result, the dedicated design section is limited to a handful of galleries, but their selection – mostly composed of French and Italian masterpieces of 20th century design – is of museum quality.
The stand presents a selection of rare works by French interior designers from 1950-1960s, including work by Maxime Old, Joseph-André Motte and Antoine Philippon and Jacqueline Lecoq.
Our eye was particularly drawn to Motte’s work, including the elegant and sleek lines of a ‘Directional Desk’ (1966) (of which only two examples are known), the superb proportions of a pair of tailor-made wall cabinets (c. 1965) and an avant-garde illuminated coffee table (1958).
Motte is a fascinating figure in the French design and architecture landscape. He designed and furnished more than a hundred Parisian metro stations, three airports and part of the Louvre Museum, which meant he rarely had the time to work on private commissions. Demisch Danant has been instrumental in his rediscovery and is currently producing a catalogue raisonné.
Renowned Murano glass expert Marc Heirmans has focused his TEFAF selection on the work of Ercole Barovier (1889-1974), a designer recognised for his inventiveness with techniques and innovative play with form and colour.
Elegantly laid out, the booth features works covering an impressive period of time and number of techniques: from the impressive ‘Laguna Gemmata’ vases (1936) and ‘Pezzato’ (1956), to the striking ‘Intarsio’ (1960). The gallery’s particular focus precedes the imminent publication of a long-nurtured catalogue raisonné of the Barovier glass firm.
Alongside these gems are also exhibited other Venetian masterpieces such as the stunning ‘Leandro’ vase (1952) by Dino Martens from the Oriente series, composed like a painting.
Alain Marcelpoil has dedicated his booth to the work of André Sornay, a Lyon-based Art Deco designer who the French gallerist rediscovered and has been championing for more than a decade.
This year Marcelpoil is uncovering two unique creations for the first time – what he describes as ‘meubles à systèmes’. These display Sornay’s incredible inventiveness and practical sense and his attunement to the social and economic changes of the time. The first is a sideboard/library that can be easily transformed into a partner’s desk and a side table which, through a brilliant but easy system can be transformed into a dining table.
The highlight of this booth is a magnificent dining suite by Eugene Printz, created for the Princesse Marguerite de Wagram in 1929.
Entirely made out of palmwood, it comprises twelve chairs, a dining table displaying a unique and luxurious bronze band, as well as two ceiling lights.
Galerie Félix Marcilhac
Exhibiting for the first time at TEFAF, Félix Marcilhac presents a selection focusing on early Art Deco, the specialty of the gallery, as well as later French masterpieces.
The collector’s eye is immediately drawn to the splendid and iconic celadon green sideboard by André Ardus and Vadim Androusov (1942), resting under a sky of Line Vautrin mirrors.
The magnificent ‘Fleur’ wall lights by Louis Süe and André Mare (1922) are also remarkable. They were designed for the fashion designer Jean Patou and formerly in the collection of his most well-known apprentice Karl Lagerfeld. It is also a delight to have the opportunity to revisit the ‘MB 1055’ desk by Pierre Chareau from the Maison de Verre (c. 1927).
This booth should not be missed. Situated in the ‘Antique’ section, the gallery features a group of splendid objects focusing on the turn of the century with no less than eight works displayed at universal exhibitions.
A poetic tapestry entitled ‘C’est ainsi’ by Norwegian artist Gerhard Munthe (1898) hangs close to a refined settee by Eugenio Quarti from 1900.
However, the highlight of the stand is the mesmerising ‘Hellebore’ vase by Lucien-Amédée Gaillard, the only silver vase known to have survived and the only one precisely dated to the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900.
Overall, the design enthusiast will leave Maastricht replete with high-end French and Italian design. Although it is always a joy to admire, or collect, these masterpieces, visitors might leave craving a wider selection of more diverse design.