The European Fine Art Fair – better known under the acronym TEFAF – is the fair of all superlatives. Since its creation in 1988, it has grown to become one of the most important art shows. TEFAF Maastricht is highly attended. About 70,000 visitors indeed abound every year to admire thousands of “museum quality” pieces that cover 7,000 years of art history. Thus collectors, curators, art dealers come to purchase exciting artworks. As the quality is outstanding, the price range is high. Thus, those who cannot afford to buy something, can at least admire and sometimes even touch these treasures. For 10 days, the small city of Maastricht, Netherlands, becomes the beating heart of the art market. Since October 2016 and May 2017, TEFAF runs two other fairs: TEFAF New York Fall, covering fine and decorative art from antiquity to 1920 and TEFAF New York Spring, focused on modern and contemporary art & design.
Charlotte van Leerdam shares her views!
Managing Director of TEFAF
TEFAF Maastricht 2022
6229 GV Maastricht
10-11 March: 11am – 7pm
12-21 March: 11am – 7pm
12-18 years: €20
Under 12: Free
Season ticket: €150
Insights TEFAF Maastricht
Charlotte van Leerdam
Managing Director of TEFAF
What would you say is the DNA of TEFAF Maastricht?
To understand the DNA of TEFAF, we must go back to its beginnings. TEFAF was formed by the dealers of two art fairs, Pictura and De Antiquairs International, who joined forces to best showcase their expertise and offer a truly buying experience. This collaboration between dealers and dedication from our community is still at the core of TEFAF’s foundation. Featuring art in all its forms from across the ages and around the world, the vast diversity of TEFAF Maastricht’s offerings sets us apart. Our varied selection is more relevant than ever, as the trend in collecting moves toward combining unique pieces of different eras and styles. Another pillar of our DNA is the unmatched quality of the artwork presented at TEFAF and our meticulous vetting standards. To ensure that only the best works reach Maastricht’s floor, our team of over 180 individual museum experts, researchers and academics judge each piece of art before we open to the public. Together, these elements of TEFAF’s identity create a Fair where collectors, institutions and museums are confident to buy.
What type of galleries are chosen to exhibit, and why?
The scholarship and expertise of our participating galleries across their respective fields is one of the key items that set TEFAF apart. Every year, hundreds of galleries apply for participation and only the best are selected to showcase in Maastricht. Our dealer specializations range from Old Masters to Haute Joaillerie, from ancient statues to contemporary art and design. Together, our community of dealers creates a playing field in which a collector can find the best of what the art market has to offer over seven millennia of art history. Our galleries exhibit at TEFAF Maastricht because the Fair is unparalleled in its appeal – no other fair covers the breadth and depth of the art market in the same way. It is because of this combination of excellence and variety that we attract private and institutional collectors from around the world – it provides a successful selling platform for exhibiting galleries.
What is the price range of pieces? Who is the average buyer?
TEFAF Maastricht does not have an easily defined price range. At the Fair, museum-quality pieces are offered for sale in the thousands, as well as the multi-millions. Like our dealer community, collectors who visit the Fair are varied in their areas of interest and expertise. Every year, we welcome individuals looking to add to private collections, as well as museums and institutions. Art lovers, experienced and new collectors alike, come from across the globe to attend TEFAF Maastricht.
“To ensure that only the best works reach Maastricht’s floor, our team of over 180 individual museum experts, researchers and academics judge each piece of art before we open to the public.”
TEFAF Maastricht 2020 ©Mark Niederman
Who is the typical attendee of TEFAF Maastricht?
TEFAF Maastricht attracts visitors with deep personal and professional interests in art, including individual collectors, connoisseurs, curators, designers, and institutions from around the world. These attendees savor quality, variety, and scholarship. They choose to gather at TEFAF Maastricht for its unique buying experience and exceptional selection. With our variety and high standards, TEFAF Maastricht fosters a community of ture art lovers.
What strategy – physical as digital – will you adopt in the short to medium term?
As we have seen the world changing dramatically in the last year, TEFAF has focused on creating opportunities for our community to share its expertise. In November 2020, we launched the inaugural edition of our digital Fair, TEFAF Online, where every member of our community was invited to showcase a single, masterpiece highlight. As we look forward to in-person fairs, this digital component of TEFAF will remain. In 2021, we plan to offer an in-person Maastricht Fair, alongside an online fair.
What are two other art fairs you would suggest?
TEFAF New York, of course! The New York edition of our flagship Maastricht Fair in Maastricht embodies all of our core values of quality and variety, set at the heart of the American art market.
I would like to suggest our Dutch sister fair PAN Amsterdam. We have been connected for decades and last year made the decision to both focus on our own futures. It is a fair focusing on the Dutch market, but shares the same value in presenting different kinds of work from classic antiquity to contemporary art. As it is a much smaller fair, it provides the opportunity to see everything and discover these amazing pieces.
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