Fair  May 10, 2024  Brook Mason

Art Collectives: Top 10 Pieces To See at TEFAF New York 2024

Created: Fri, 05/10/2024 - 13:10
Author: abby
Courtesy TEFAF New York, 2024

Interior, TEFAF New York, 2024

The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), a Dutch import, debuted its 12th New York edition on May 9, 2024 at the turreted Park Avenue Armory– a National Historic Landmark to a frenzy of early sales with droves of collectors and museum curators. The fair, which runs until May 14, 2024, is crammed to the gills with 89 dealers hailing from 15 countries spanning four continents. 

What distinguishes this fair from that of Frieze New York, the Armory Show, and even the Winter Show is the mélange of cutting-edge contemporary art along with outstanding antiquities, 18th century and later paintings, sculptures, and prized French Mid-Century design by the likes of Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand. Not to be overlooked are the sumptuous jewels of Otto Jacob and jewelry by some 20th century greats, such as Salvador Dali.

This year’s rendition is even more extraordinary in that art dealers are hardly restricted to featuring their offerings in the Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall, whose lofty dimensions are akin to a football field. Elsewhere in the Armory, a bevy of dealers have taken over 16 period rooms on the first and second floors, some 656 square feet with impressive wood paneling and fireplaces. Ultimately, viewing art in a rather grand domestic setting could not be more intimate and elegant. 

For those who happen to be in town, TEFAF has organized truly outstanding programming right in line with its stance as a “global collecting community.” Not to be missed is a presentation by collectors Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu who founded the private museum, Magazzino Italian Art, in Cold Spring, New York. Dedicated to their lifelong passion for Italian art, they will share their insight into collecting and launching their extraordinary museum. Other panels are dedicated to new initiatives in art philanthropy, as well as The Frick Collection and the New York Historical Society.

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Courtesy Osborne Samuel
Lynn Chadwick, Beast (Old Leather Head), 1958, iron and composition
"Beast (Old Leather Head)"

British sculptor Lynn Chadwick is hardly a household name on these shores. However, his work was showcased at no less than two Venice Biennales, in 1952 and 1956. London dealer Osborne Samuel is featuring Chadwick's 1958 Beast (Old Leather Head) composed of iron and composition and close to two feet in height. The rather forbidding animal-like monster is perched on three rather thin, distorted limbs.

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Courtesy Galerie Jacques Lacoste
Alberto Giacometti, Oblong cup, 1948, bronze
"Oblong cup"

Alberto Giacometti’s sculptural oeuvre has long reached lofty multi-million dollar price levels with renown collectors, like Lily Safra. The Paris Galerie Jacques Lacoste is spotlighting Giacometti’s 1948 bronze, somewhat surreal Oblong cup

Spare and sinuous in shape, the cup is more than two feet across and sits on a small bulbous base. The soft green and pale tobacco patina is sublime. Giacometti knew the distinguished French interior designer, Jean-Michel Frank, and that friendship enabled the sculptor to not only turn out vases, but also lighting. 

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Courtesy of R & Company
Wendell Castle, Cabinet, 1975-2017, laminated and stacked wood

The late American designer and sculptor, Wendell Castle (1932-2018), has long been revered as the grandfather of American design for his oeuvre which frequently blend function and sculpture, while imbued with whimsy. 

The Tribeca design gallery, R & Company, is featuring Castle’s 1975 oak Cabinet, towering close to seven feet tall and comprised of stacked laminated wood in a variety of blond hues. The drawers and doors pull out in a number of quixotic shapes, rendering it Castle’s most monumental-shaped piece. Castle completed it in 2017, only one year before his death.

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Courtesy of Adrian Sassoon. Photo credit: Sylvain Deleu.
Hiroshi Suzuki, Miyabi-Fire Vase, 2023, hammered and chased silver
"Miyabi-Fire Vase"

The market has been flooded with contemporary craft, but London dealer Adrian Sassoon offers rarities in silver, ceramics, and glass of such quality that they are truly rooted in the fine art world. Especially captivating is the Japanese gold and silversmith Hiroshi Suzuki’s Miyabi-Fire Vase which was completed only last year. 

The vessel is hardly minute, but rather seventeen inches in height. Enormous skill in hand hammering is required to complete the vessel with its undulating rivulets. His work is held in the permanent collections of prominent institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and London’s V & A Museum.

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Courtesy Axel Vervoordt
Kazuo Shiraga, Funkei, 1993, oil on canvas

Belgian dealer Axel Vervoordt has long built a formidable clientele, including style luminaries like the late fashion designer Givenchy. Vervoordt highlights classical antiquities, contemporary art by A-listers like Anish Kapoor, as well as introduces collectors to overlooked artists. 

Pride of place on his stand is a compelling painting by the Japanese artist, Kazuo Shiraga (1924-2008), a member of the Gutai avant-garde movement celebrated for their gestural brushstrokes. Shirago’s oil painting Funkei is ablaze with flaming red, vibrant brushstrokes. As the painting stretches more than eight feet across, this monumental art work is the ultimate wall power.

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Courtesy of Mazzoleni
Mazzoleni: Alberto Burri, Bianco Plastica, 1965, plastic, acrylic, Vinavil on Celotex
"Bianco Plastica"

Italian artist Alberto Burri (1915-1995) was the ultimate Renaissance man. Painter, sculptor, and physician, Burri turned to unconventional materials to craft his outstanding creative endeavors. A prime example is on view with Turin and London dealer Mazzoleni– Burri’s Bianco Plastica from 1965. While he is hardly a household name, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art headlined a celebrated retrospective, “Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting,” in 2015.

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Courtesy Charles Ede
Hellenistic male head, c.2nd-1st century BC, bronze
"Hellenistic male head"

London antiquities dealer Charles Ede, formed more than 60 years ago, always brings superlative examples from the past. Prominent on his stand is this small bronze head of a bearded male, possibly a Triton, deemed the son of the god Poseidon. The head with its thick, curling hair caps a highly expressive face with its teeth inlaid with silver.

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Courtesy of Didier Ltd.
Walter Wellington Quirt, gold framed enamel brooch
Gold Framed Enamel Brooch

Craft fairs are flooded with contemporary jewelry, however, London dealer Didier spotlights rarities like jewels by such celebrated artists as Man Ray, Joseph Cornell, and even Larry Rivers. Especially fetching, although hardly a textbook name, is a delicate gold brooch inset with surrealist painting on enamel by the American surrealist and abstract expressionist artist, Walter Wellington Quirt (1902-1968). 

Interestingly, when the Museum of Modern Art staged its first surrealism exhibition, FANTASTIC ART, DADA, AND SURREALISM 1937, the museum hosted a discussion on those styles, with Quirt and Salvador Dali as lecturers.

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Courtesy of Tina Kim Gallery
Pacita Abad, Looking Glass, 2000, oil paint and glass on canvas
"Looking Glass"

Contemporary Asian art is highly in demand among discriminating collectors, and the Tina Kim Gallery is a showstopper. The late Filipino-American artist, Pacita Abad, whose work is the subject of a major North American traveling retrospective, is currently front and center at MoMA PS1 and included in the 60th Venice Biennale, Foreigners Everywhere, through November 2024. For his Looking Glass, the artist takes the notion of mixed media to a new dimension in that he stitched small mirrors onto his painted canvas.

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Courtesy White Cube
Jackson Pollock, Untitled, c, 1947, Brush, spatter, graphite and black and colored inks on paper

Abstract expressionist artist Jackson Pollock is top of the heap when it comes to leading that style, with noted collectors including David Geffen. The London dealership White Cube, which recently opened a commodious gallery on Madison Avenue, is spotlighting Pollock’s distinctive style on paper filled with his distinctive brushwork in graphite, as well as black and colored ink.

About the Author

Brook Mason

Brook S. Mason is a 20-year veteran journalist covering the art market, design and the business of art fairs in New York, Paris, London, Basel, Dubai and Moscow. Her reportage can be found in The New York TimesThe Art Newspaper, Financial Times Weekend, artnet News, Architectural Digest online and AD PRO, Le Quotidien de l’Art and Bloomberg. Her focus includes the auction world, fairs and collectors in the US, Europe, Russia, Asia and Latin America along with pivotal architects and interior designers.

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