Fuchsia and White Peonies for a Grand Tenth Edition of TEFAF New York

by | May 21, 2024 | Columns

TEFAF New York 2024

The 2024 edition of TEFAF New York 2024. © Laura Lati for artfairmag

With the May Auction season around the corner, including the Rosa de la Cruz collection offered for sale at Christie’s, unprecedented gallery shows such as Maurizio Cattelan’s stainless steel walls with gunfire at Gagosian’s Chelsea location, the New York art scene is restless this month. At the Park Avenue Armory, TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) New York is key to that period, in that it upholds its position of tradition, bringing over 90 galleries of antiquities, jewelry, design and art under one roof, yet keeps innovating and attracting new collectors and connoisseurs from all over the world.
It is the one fair in New York City where, especially on opening day, you almost hear more French than English. Emblematic of this tenth edition were the fresh peonies and the acrylic glass of Aljoscha’s Bioism, a utopian biology theory imagining new forms of life, presented by Düsseldorf’s Beck and Eggeling. Wondrous among all were the structures by twentieth-century icon Alexander Calder, whether it be the large one, Antraigues from 1966, at Eykyn Maclean, which sold quickly (asking price, around USD 3m) or the smaller ethereal metallic ones exhibited at Di Donna Galleries from earlier in Calder’s career. The latter gallery’s booth was exceptional with multiple of these precious sculptures (each nearing USD 900,000) next to Yves Klein’s sculpture Éponge Bleue guarded by two marvelous Yves Tanguy paintings from 1945, and works by Paul Klee that complemented Di Donna’s current exhibition at their Madison Avenue location, two blocks away.
Alexander Calder at TEFAF

Alexander Calder, Antraigues, 1966, . Featured by Eykyn Maclean at TEFAF New York 2024© Laura Lati for artfairmag

The most graceful “Egyptian” Lamp by Alberto Giacometti produced for interior designer Jean-Michel Frank and reminiscent of Pharaohs art, was standing at the Parisian Galerie Marcilhac, a TEFAF NY first-timer. A staggering Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painting, Three Nude Young Men, was glowing at Wienerroither & Kohlbacher across Franz West’s remarkable works on paper. David Zwirner showcased Giorgio Morandi and George Ohr still lifes of important provenance. Antiquities Gallery Charles Ede had a glorious booth including an Egyptian sandstone relief from the Ptolemaic Period (USD 45,000) and an Egyptian bronze statuette of Neith from the Late Dynastic Period (USD 30,000).

Alberto Giacometti, Galerie Marcilhac

Alberto Giacometti, Galerie Marcilhac at TEFAF New York 2024.  © Laura Lati for artfairmag

Fast forward a few centuries, my curator’s pick award goes, unquestionably, to Sprüth Magers gallery for their presentation of a fascinating Barbara Kruger tall work (USD 850,000) behind a Jenny Holzer Sichuan Deep White Marble bench (USD 400,000), with the currently onpoint political inscription Freedom is a Luxury not a Necessity. Holzer is the subject of the upcoming major solo show opening in a few days at the Guggenheim Museum, in New York.
At Mignoni, in the same tone, the Two Figures One Laughing at One Hanging (listed around USD 1.3 million) by Juan Muñoz attracted fairgoers, framed on each side with aluminum Donald Judd wall-reliefs.

Nara Roesler was exhibiting a vibrant textile work by Sheila Hicks that sold (USD 250,000) in the early hours of the fair. Edward Tyler Nahem brought museumworthy works such as a lilac George Condo nude, listed for USD 3.6 millions, and a dark 1988 Julian Schnabel, sold around USD 350,000.

Sprüth Magers gallery at TEFAF New York 2024
Sprüth Magers gallery’s booth at TEFAF New York 2024 featuring  Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer Sichuan © Laura Lati for artfairmag
In design, for their first TEFAF participation, Salon 94 presented a dreamy, American modernism, reverse painting on glass, by Rebecca Salsbury James (Shells on the Sand) and sold the ornate Serpantine Jungle Mirror by Los Angeles artist David Wiseman (USD 185,000) among other works and is looking forward to a show with similar works by the artist in the Fall. Galerie Mitterand put forward François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne works with center-stage a large steel and copper rocking bird by Francois-Xavier, while Friedman Benda highlighted Kristin McKirdy ceramics and trendy light fittings by Jonathan Trayte.
David Wiseman at Salon 94

David Wiseman’s mirror presented by Salon 94 at TEFAF New York 2024.

Friedman Benda highlighted Kristin McKirdy ceramics and trendy light fittings by Jonathan Trayte. They were enhanced by an intricate, cast bronze, with black patina, mirror by Estúdio Campana, from an edition of 25. The gallery also presented a ceramic by the en vogue and Architectural Digest Selects Carmen D’Apollonio. Another exciting AD Selects on the second floor of the fair, at the bicoastal American Gallery Hostler Burrows, were the wood Glacier Shapes by Egevaerk Studio. Behind these hanging sculptures were reclaimed oil barrels, painted following several layers of resin, by Tehran artist Taher Asad-Bakhtiari. At the Carpenters Workshop, a superbly constructed table, with three travertine slabs by Lebanese designers duo David/Nicolas, struck me, with legs rotated to represent the different phases of the lunar cycle (Constellation, USD 158,000). The table was surrounded with dining chairs by Venetian architect and designer Mario Gottardi and delicately lit from above by a Nacho Carbonell organic-shaped, fantastical chandelier.
Carmen D’Apollonio at Friedman Benda

Carmen D’Apollonio at Friedman Benda, TEFAF New York 2024 © Laura Lati for artfairmag

Not to leave out the two masterpieces I admired at Van de Weghe. The intriguing lady trapped in a bottle depicted by René Magritte, listed for USD 5.5m and the Figure with Banner hanging at the end of the fair’s top floor hallway, with disparate elements on a sandy background, by Roy Lichtenstein. A few important jewelers were present including Boghossian and Hemmerle, along with the newcomer Ana Khouri who was creating a buzz amidst millennials and Gen Z clients. Finally, Venus over Manhattan had a notable inaugural participation at TEFAF New York with a howling large-scale 1987 painting by Robert Colescott (USD 2m), an impressive Peter Saul work Humble Cowboy (USD 650,000) and Bay Area artist Joan Brown’s Let’s Dance artwork being deaccessioned by the Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art (USD 425,000).
Robert Colescott at Venus overs Manhattan

Robert Colescott at Venus over Manhattan at TEFAF New York 2024 © Laura Lati for artfairmag

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