Quality, rarity and high end. This trio sums up the new edition of the BRAFA - the antiques fair held in Brussels until January 29, in the vast warehouse of Tour & Taxis - and undermines the discourse surrounding pessimistic weighed down by the economic crisis.
Over the stands, we perceive great potential customers through a selection that returns a high-end image quality, that the president Bernard De Leye wants. The fair has become the meeting point of beginning of this year, the first major test to take the temperature of the market even if some prefer the Biennale des Antiquaires! On opening evening, the red dots gave the tone of sold pieces.
A well balance fair
One highlight of the fair is to have managed to maintain a balance between the specialties, from archeology to modern art, through the Middle Age, furniture, arts outside Europe, the bibliophile and jewelry. The galleries of old paintings are less present, but the reason is simple: the shortage of goods requires professionals to make choices, already stretched by the new and shiny fair Paris Tableaux held last November in Paris, and busy preparing for the invincible Tefaf in March.
Stand galerie Guy Pieters, Bruxelles. De gauche à droite, George Segal, Pierre Alechinsky, Bernar Venet, Jan Fabre.
The share of contemporary art has been streamlined compared to the 2011 edition, not to forget that "BRAF is primarily an antiques fair," as recalled by Bernard De Leye. It is important to maintain this without this opening takes precedence. Originality is the place dedicated to comics galleries, with one caveat for the gallery Small Paper (Brussels) that seems to "pervert" in this exhibition presenting works mainly on canvas and not comic strips! Perhaps a foreshadowing of a mutation in the course of this market?
Also highlighted the work of art galleries around the non-European sector which shares its worth between Brussels and Paris, with a tribute to Jacques Germain and Patrick Didier Claes for pieces presented and the display .
Belgium artist on the spot
The BRAFA is always the opportunity to dive into the heart of the creation of the Nordic countries, starting in the sixteenth century with Florence de Voldere, until the twentieth century with Samuel Vanhoegarden. Florence de Voldere - which creates surprise as always for staging this year's spring stand - has some delicate little paintings, with particular attention to Jacob Savery (1545-1602), where the few paintings sold pass only rarely in France, or the small tondo (see main illustration) representing the Spring of Abel Grimmer. The heart of Belgian emphasized, however, focuses on the late nineteenth and twentieth century. The Lancz Gallery gathered intimate paintings of Georges Lemmen, preparatory work for frescoes by Emile Fabry , early works by Theo van Rysselberghe while Harold t'Kint of Roodenbeke devotes almost all his wall to Paul Delvaux, around drawings and paintings. Next century, Samuel Guy Pieters Vanhoegarden and share the consecration, with the hidden phrases and Fred Eerdekens Panaramenko for the first, and Jan Fabre for the second.
Art for everybody
Although the level of the show flirts with excellence, the prices are not all stuck on a slider in excess of six figures.
En bleu, l'amulette de l'oeil-oudjat montée à l'envers, Phoenix Ancient Art, Genève. Brafa 2012.
Many galleries have played the game having a broad range of prices, with drawings around 300 Euros or the frescoes of Fabry euros at 7000-8000 Euros , Egyptian faience amulets from 5000 Euros at Phoenix Ancient Art as drawings by Craigh H. Hanna at the gallery Laurence Esnol. A pastel by Hartung around 110 000 Euros at Vanhoegarden Samuel, an Egyptian faience amazing amphora for 450,000 Euros at Phoenix Ancient Art and Renoir Woman with turban just over one million Euros in Tamenaga.
Success and failure
Some treasures can be found in the 122 stands, as the poem of George Ondines Hugnet at Martin du Louvre, the museum project on the scale 1 / 7 inspired by Marcel Duchamp at Ronny Van de Velde, the animal paintings at Heim and Philip Marcilhac, Nativity inspired by a panel of Hugo van der Goes (fifteenth century) in Luc De Backk, to name a few. Disappointment side include galleries exhibiting artists mainly to display some names without offering key works: the drawing bu Soulages at the gallery Barès is overwritten by the majestic works on paper Marfaing. The gallery Harold t'Kint Roodenbeke makese a false note by displying a Spin painting by Damien Hirst, whose name alone satisfies a promise of media.
Astonishment at the gallery Phoenix Ancient Art, which brought together a collection of almost 100 pieces of pottery from Egypt and the Middle East, studied and published in a catalog foreword by Annie Caubet Honorary Curator of the Louvre Museum (Head of Department Oriental Antiquities from 1988 to 2005). An amulet representing an eye-wedjat was upside down when properly reproduced in the catalog. This error disorder unfortunately throws on the approach of the gallery, which brought together truly exceptional pieces.
Two galleries are always highly anticipated and did not disappoint, led by galerie Steinitz with a display that creates the event. The gallery Finch & Co is in turn equal to itself, whether the BRAFA or antique Biennale: it transports the visitor into the cabinet of curiosity of an amateur of the eighteenth century, combining ethnographic objects to objects of art, offering comparisons with finesse, and displaying all the details of each piece, and the price! Which in practice is very rare when we are at a trade show!
Historienne de l'art et journaliste, co-fondatrice du IAD (International Art Diary)
Each month, we organise auctions of fine continental furniture, antique clocks and works of art with our network of auctioneers. We invite you to contact us if you wish to include lots in our future sale. Valuations are free for auction.
If you need an appraisal for sale, insurance or inheritance, please contact us.
Informations pratiques :
Until the 29th January 2012.
Tour & Taxis
Avenue du Port 86 C
1000 Bruxelles - Belgique
Open every day from 11h to 19h. The 24 th and 26th open until 22h.
Main illustration :
Galerie Florence de Voldère : Abel Grimmer (Anvers, 1570-1610), Le Printemps, Huile sur panneau, D. 12 cm. Provenance: collection privée.