Miniatures and jewels steal the show at TEFAF New York Fall 2017, open until Wednesday November 1 at the Park Avenue Armory.
New York’s poshest, most exclusive art show is back for its fall rendition, bringing special attention to the Old Masters and ancient works. Don’t let the centuries of history scare you off, TEFAF Fall is a thoroughly modern experience, with Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) tapping photographer Vera Lutter to present for the first time her works from a year-long residency at the museum (Booth 18).
Her negatives from a camera obscura (pinhole camera) setup are nothing short of remarkable in visual and execution – a number of her exposures took at least one month to complete. The result is a graceful middle ground between the old masters and today’s experimental interests. It’s invigorating to see these important works reimagined for the 21st century.
The pinnacle of this exhibit is Lutter’s image of Ludovico Mazzanti’s “The Death of Lucretia”, a large scale photograph of which one exists. It took 56 days to complete. Lutter’s approach is at once innocent and obvious, but in reality requires a remarkable amount of patience. Lutter will be subject to a large-scale exhibit at LACMA in 2019.
As for now, TEFAF Fall is a remarkably well-rounded show. Obsessively vetted for quality and prestige, you’ll find no junk, just juice. What’s trending? Think small: icons and miniatures- from portraits to jewelry to rare maps. Also, think color. Remember, in these early times, pigment was challenging and vibrant colors were achieved through innovative means.
Keen on remarkable jewels? Be sure to visit Veronique Bamps (Booth 22) for a look at a remarkable set of earclips and a brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels. No puncturing necessary! Accented by radiant sapphires and brilliant diamonds, there’s no question these will draw the eye with their fractal nature and organic arrangement. Wallace Chan (booth 36) also has some droopy haute joaillerie in some seriously funky tones- spirited pink and regal green. But these darling earrings aren’t elderly- executed in 2017, Wallace Chan has spoken at Harvard on his crafting of carved gems and has designed some of the most decedent jewelry of this generation.
New apartment? Don’t subject yourself to unchic moments of worry. Instead, step to Burzio (booth 47) for all your one-of-a-kind needs. Seriously, the very important cupboard in the gentle custody of Burzio will impress you. The provenance is swift: only one French private collection. But that’s not to say she hasn’t gotten the word out: The red and blue encaustic with gilt reliefs has been well documented through literature. The good sister stands on delicate and tasteful pyramid legs and has a rare and extraordinary single cupboard door opening to the left. Who dares make such a masterpiece? Leave it to Agostino Gerli of Milan, of the Giuseppe Maggiolini Workshop. You may be curious what makes this cupboard so expressive. It’s the painting technique! We’re sick of the Microsoft Paint! Bring on the encaustic technique; which necessitates heated beeswax and pigment added later. In this way, encaustics can be sculpted (need proof? look at the cupboard: the work features two female sculptures). Bottom line: luminous color and technical extremity.
Even though TEFAF Fall opened mere hours ago, the sales are striking already. Kevorkian (booth 56) sold a delightful tile work by an important manufacturer, remarkable for its orientally-inspired floral design and (ha!) exquisite color- vibrant blue and a rusty, punctual red.
Ah. Remember I said to” think small”? Be sure to take a peek (and a magnifying glass) at some works on display at Richard Green (booth 67). Here you can examine two uniquely scaled works by two unique artists. Eugene Boudin’s Scène de plage, Trouville is simply no joke despite coming in at a cheeky 5″ x 14″. Probably his most important work, the scene is like an arranged moment, with the composition suiting its compact and rare canvas size. Forced intimacy may be uncomfortable on the subway, here is a moment to grow close to this exquisite masterpiece.
The other piece of comparable size is Renoir’s “Arbres [paysage de Cagnes]”, executed in 1909. Renoir was getting older, and this is one of the most complex and robust examples of environmental study in his illustrious career. Give a moment to look at its washed colors and ghostly stillness; not easily achieved in the medium.
Elle Shushan (booth 34) is a salon of its own, a snug and opulent space loaded with miniatures, including a remarkable 1835 Daffinger. Note its lightness and grace in depicting mezzo soprano Maria Malabran, her rosy complexion and enthusiastic exposure. She’s not ready for the spotlight; she is the spotlight.
Our final petite piece is Lucas van Valckenborch’s The Farmer’s Feast (1569) shown at Mireille Mosler (booth 27) Circular in canvas and situated in an obsidian octagonal frame, this whimsical miniature displays a primitive scene of hunter life and is a testament to Valckenborch’s Flemish sensibilities and deft hand at creating compelling and cozy landscape scenes. Know that Valckenborch did not resist the temptation of figure painting; take a moment to examine the dexterity and detail of this tidy work. Oh, by the way, the earliest works by Valckenborch have been documented to 1567.
Honorable mention is Takeo Yamaguchi’s wise and forward-thinking “Kō (Suburbs)”, which is an early demonstration of immediate minimalism, on view at Gregg Baker Asian Art (Booth 72) as well as another Richard Green (booth 67) offering; a truly sensational mouthful: “Still life of a peony, poppies, an iris, a carnation, hollyhocks and other flowers in a vase, with fruit on a marble ledge”. Completed by Geogius Jacobus Johannes van Os around 1810; take a moment to examine the exquisite lightness in color and captivating presence of each individual item.
Prefer something bit more spare? Allow me to briefly mention a Jacob van Es’ “A glass vase with a bouquet of roses, a branch of Hawthorn flowers and three apricots on a wooden ledge” offered by Haboldt · Pictura (Booth 29). Well documented, this is a wonderful opportunity to get up close and personal with this skillfully arranged composition. With each item offering themselves to complete the scene, there is a degree of friendly competition here; not unlike TEFAF itself.
TEFAF NEW YORK FALL
OCTOBER 28 – NOVEMBER 01, 2017
PARK AVENUE ARMORY
Tickets from $25, click here.