Roxana Afshar of London’s Waddington Custot
said she’s seen fairs go “from regional to international back to regional,” noting that collectors in Paris at last October’s FIAC were mostly French, while at TEFAF she was seeing mainly Dutch and Belgian buyers.
“It’s a very strong base,” she said. “The Dutch and Belgian collectors are great collectors in Europe so we’re very happy to meet them.” But where are the Americans?
“I think they’re all recovering from Trump,” her colleague joked.
Clémence Krzentowski of Galerie kreo
, one of 13 exhibitors in TEFAF’s expanded design section, also saw her Dutch collector base grow. She stocked her booth with high-profile Dutch designers such as
, whose Dragonfly Coffee Table
(2013), one of a limited edition of eight, sold right off the bat, as did one of the lawn chairs Jongerius designed for the United Nations. The gallery also sold a vintage 1954
neon lamp, for between €50,000 and €100,000. Krzentowski said what struck her about TEFAF’s attendees was the seriousness of their interest, regardless of where they were from.
“The ambiance is really a collector’s ambiance, rather than a social one,” she said.
Anna Ostellari of Tornabuoni Art agreed. The VIP opening, while still full of clinking champagne glasses and trays of exquisite food, remained a collector’s affair. Last year, she joked that it was more “les amis des amis des amis,” people who had been given tickets by their friends who were in Maastricht “just for the fun.” This year, she said “it’s the more serious people.” As with other galleries, she had seen mostly a local crowd, and one collector from Buenos Aires. “Not many from the U.S.,” she mused. “I think they can find something good in Miami.”
By the evening of opening day, the gallery had already sold three works, including a raised and indented white canvas, Superficie bianca
for €800,000. A 1994 work by
, which sees a white swirl of PVC strips create an optical illusion, sold for €100,000. And yet another all-white work, an uneven terrain of plastic drinking straws by
, a young artist from Bologna, went for between €20,000 and €22,000.