The 2020 edition of the TEFAF Maastricht art fair, which opened to VIPs on March 5th and to the general public March 7th, will close tonight at 7p.m.—four days before its planned closing—amidst growing fears regarding the COVID-19 epidemic. The Dutch art fair came to the decision in consultation with the city of Maastricht, the venue MECC Maastricht, and local health officials, and after it was revealed that an exhibitor who’d attended the fair last week had subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
Nanne Dekking, chairman of the board of trustees at TEFAF, said in a statement:
Given the recent developments in the regions around Maastricht and increasing concerns, we no longer feel it is appropriate to continue as planned. We want to thank our exhibitors, visitors and staff for their trust and support in this unprecedented situation. The TEFAF community has always excelled in bringing the best art in the world to Maastricht, we are proud to have witnessed how professional and how united our TEFAF family stood during this fair and unprecedented circumstances.
Last week, the fair announced that it had planned to continue as scheduled despite industry-wide cancellations. It even notched a blockbuster sale during its opening days, with London-based gallery Dickinson selling a Vincent van Gogh painting for about €12 million to €15 million ($13.5 million–$16.9 million). TEFAF Maastricht’s abrupt closure follows decisions by fairs including Art Basel in Hong Kong, Art Dubai, and Miart to postpone, modify, or outright cancel their upcoming editions.
Other sectors of the art world have followed suit: Sotheby’s rearranged its spring auction schedule; Italy and Austria shuttered all state-run museums; and Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art had to cancel a major exhibition of Genoese Baroque art.