Museums Go Shopping at Maastricht

Written on March 19, 2013 by Administrador de IE Blogs in Arts & Cultures & Societies

TEFAF_MaastrichtEvery March museum directors and curators from around the world flock to the European Fine Art Fair, held in a soulless convention center here. They come to look at the art, gauge the market and network with colleagues, collectors and trustees. But this year, barely 24 hours after the preview on Thursday, there were reports that more museums than usual were among the serious shoppers.

The quality is “better than last year,” said George Wachter, chairman of Sotheby’s old master paintings department worldwide.

Many dealers said that they believed that American museums in particular were feeling more flush than they had in past years because their endowments had been well invested in today’s rising stock market. Moreover, institutions like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague, which are poised to reopen after major renovations, have been evaluating their collections, making an effort to add a few new acquisitions before inviting the public in.

“There’s a new crop of curators, and they recognize gaps in their collections,” said Richard L. Feigen, a New York dealer and exhibitor, explaining that soon after the fair opened, he sold a marine painting by the 18th-century French artist Eugène Isabey to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

“Museum board members have realized that this fair is a real opportunity that has to be seized,” Mr. Feigen added. “Or they’ll miss out.”

Despite the proliferation of art fairs from Dubai to Dallas, there is no event quite like the European fair because of the sheer breadth of what it has to offer. It is packed with about $5.2 billion worth of art and objects being offered by 265 dealers from 20 countries, representing every collecting category from antiquities to the 21st century. By the time the fair ends on Sunday, about 70,000 visitors are expected to have flocked to this small Dutch city.

Continue reading in TheNewYorkTimes


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