“The fair has been a triumph,” said veteran TEFAF dealer Dino Tomasso of London’s Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, as the fair headed toward its close this week. Tomasso was one of 12 dealers to have the privilege of showing in the more residential environment of the period rooms on the Armory’s first and second floors, and said that both new and returning clients had been astonished at what TEFAF had managed to achieve in just eight months since announcing that it would buy the The International Show, which previously held down this week on the calendar. (In May, TEFAF New York will also host a spring edition using the former dates of Spring Masters.)
As did many dealers across the fair, Tomasso noted that opening a New York outpost has seemingly allowed TEFAF to branch out to Americans who otherwise hadn’t had the opportunity to travel to or fully understand what this fair is all about. “It’s been a nationwide audience,” said the dealer. “We’ve had museums and institutions here that we’ve never seen be able to make the trip. And therefore, this should be a stepping stone for them to be able to visit the mother fair, Maastricht.”
As of Tuesday evening, Tomasso had sold Swedish
sculptor Johan Tobias Sergel’s terracotta A Nymph and a Satyr crowned by Cupid
(c. 1770–80) for $200,000. The piece was created in Paris while Sergel was traveling back to his homeland from Rome, and shows the great influence of the Eternal City’s ancient reliefs as well as that of the Flemish sculptor François Duquesnoy, who worked in Rome in the early 17th century. Red dots indicating sales also graced the placard of a 16th-century Italian model of a pacing horse; a limestone sculpture, Funeral stele for Apion, son of Bion
from 2nd- to 1st-century B.C. Greece; and a Portrait bust of young Commodus
from 18th-century Rome.
Of particular surprise to Tomasso amidst what he described as a strong market at TEFAF was interest among younger collectors. “We sold something we didn’t even expect to sell, to a contemporary collector,” said Tomasso. “You might expect a contemporary collector would fit something like a vanitas skull. That seems to be the trend these days with their appreciation of antiquity. But it was an extremely elegant object from the 18th century,” presumably the aforementioned Roman bust.