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TEFAF NEW YORK 2020

4 days, 280 objects, 7,000 years of history.

1st – 4th November

By TDE Editorial Team / 28th October 2020
Carlo Scarpa, 'Laccato vase', designed 1940, execution post-war COURTESY: Galerie Marc Heiremans

Carlo Scarpa, ‘Laccato vase’, designed 1940, execution post-war
COURTESY: Galerie Marc Heiremans

TODAY, TEFAF NEW York has launched online. Like so many fairs, The European Fine Art Fair, whose Maastricht iteration was forced to close in March when exhibitors were diagnosed with COVID-19, has gone virtual. We have learned much over the summer about the pros and cons of the online experience, about what it can do and what it cannot replace. For its first venture in the virtual realm, TEFAF has taken the decision to invite 280 exhibitors to present just one object. This object will act like an emblem, reflecting the expertise of the gallery, drawing the eye of visitors and providing a focus for wider-ranging online conversations between dealer and collector.

This elegant solution exploits the exceptional power of the internet to offer a shop window to 280 different dealers, dealing in objects dating across 7,000 years of history, in many different genres and media. It accepts, however, that online visitors tire quickly and have no appetite to prospect widely, without champagne and canapés to ease the journey between one specialism and another.

Without the costs of shipping to deter participation, there is a strong showing from collectible design galleries. Dansk Møbelkunst Gallery has selected an exceptional piece of textile design – one of Swedish designer Barbro Nilsson’s landmark Gobelin tapestries, designed for the Swedish hydropower company Sydkraft in 1966, featuring the mythological “Bäckahäst” or “River Horse”. Galerie Maria Wettergren, a specialist in contemporary Scandinavian design, offers by interesting contrast a magnificent contemporary textile work by Hanne Friis, ‘New Ornaments I’ (The Silk Series), 2015-2019.

Hanne Friis, 'New Ornaments I', (The Silk Series), 2015-19 COURTESY: Galerie Maria Wettergren

Hanne Friis, ‘New Ornaments I’, (The Silk Series), 2015-19
COURTESY: Galerie Maria Wettergren

As an example of exceptional post-war French furniture, New York-based Demisch Danant’s choice is a fine, burl wood veneered, plexiglass and stainless steel example of Guy de Rougemont’s ‘Nuage’ coffee table series (1972). This one was commissioned by interior designer Henri Samuel for his own home office – it could well bring happiness to someone else’s! Reflecting Italy’s post-war contribution, Friedman Benda is showing a rare, experimental totemic ‘Commode Column’ by Ettore Sottsass, from 1960, designed over twenty years before he founded the Memphis Group. Fellow New Yorkers R & Company, meanwhile, present a rare and characterful ‘Half-chair’, created by American designer Sam Maloof in 1993 during a summer workshop at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, in Colorado. Amongst many exceptional studio objects, Galerie Marc Heiremans, a leading twentieth-century Murano art glass expert, based in Antwerp, shows a richly coloured piece by Carlo Scarpa (designed 1940).

Ettore Sottsass, 'Commode Column', 1963 COURTESY: Friedman Benda

Ettore Sottsass, ‘Commode Column’, 1963
COURTESY: Friedman Benda

Between 1st and 4th November, with two preview days, online visitors will be able to talk directly to dealers about the object chosen. And if the objects themselves tire, there are various scheduled virtual visits to galleries and museums, as well as an impressive trio of talks organised by Apollo Magazine. It is a dignified presentation, by the world’s foremost dealers. Happy browsing.

TEFAF widely regarded as the world’s pre-eminent organisation for fine art, antiques, and design.

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