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Are young collectors buying Old Masters? Dealers at TEFAF Maastricht bank on changing tastes
13 March 2023
Amy Shaw

The veteran British dealer Nicholas Hall noted how a growing pool of elusive cross-over collectors are being influenced by fashion designers such as Jonathan Anderson, Raf Simons and Vivienne Westwood, who have all appropriated Old Master motifs. Non-traditional collectors, he added, are attracted to “weird subject matter”, such as Hieronymus Bosch’s fantastical landscapes, skulls and witches, as well as “modernistic still lifes”—particularly 17th-century Dutch and Spanish pictures—portraits which are “direct and challenging” and works by “the very big names: Leonardo, Rembrandt etc”.

On the opening day of Tefaf, Hall reported selling a work by the German Baroque painter Johann Carl Loth for “under $500,000” to a European collector, who—along with those from the East Coast of the US—remain the main drivers in the Old Master market.

Hall said he has tried to put a “more contemporary twist” on his presentation at the fair this year, though he added that while “Old Master pictures look great with contemporary and Modern works, they don’t thrive in a white cube.” In 2018, Hall collaborated with the contemporary dealer David Zwirner on an exhibition titled Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art. Among the works Hall sold were a late Titian, to a contemporary buyer, as well as several pieces of Mediaeval sculpture and a Goya drawing. Future collaborations are reported to be in the pipeline. Hall would appear in good company. Last week, the Financial Times reported that the contemporary Saatchi Yates galley is launching an Old Masters division.

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Dealers expect discerning audience at Tefaf in tightening market for Old Masters
05 March 2023
Gareth Harris

New York dealer Nicholas Hall says that Tefaf is the best showcase for a triptych depicting the adoration of the Magi (c1525-30, price undisclosed) by Pieter Coecke van Aelst, a leading exponent of the Antwerp Mannerist school, because of the calibre of collector who attends. “The underdrawing establishes that the master himself was directly involved in the production of this beautifully preserved panel,” Hall says. The market for Old Masters — broadly covering the period from 1300 to 1800 — is seemingly in good health, buoyed by the avalanche of acclaim for the blockbuster Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Dedicated January sales in New York delivered mixed results, but there were some healthy headline lots, including Bronzino’s “Portrait of a young man with a quill and a sheet of paper” (c1527), which fetched $10.7mn with fees at Sotheby’s. At Christie’s, dual portraits of a mother and daughter by Goya set an auction record for the Spanish painter, selling for $16.4mn with fees.

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Medici Masterpieces and Chinese Camels
09 March 2023
Huon Mallalieu

Mr Hall’s painting by Franz von Stuck (1863-1928), Listen­ing Fauns (Fig 4), measures 47in by 44in including the frame, which was designed for it, and his fauns are far from demure. Carl Jung noted that many of Stuck’s works drawn from mythology perfectly express a ‘mixture of anxiety and lust’. He influenced such avant-garde painters as Klee and Kandinsky, but his own art came to be thought old-fashioned and his reputation suffered because Hitler admired him. Since the 1960s, he has come back into favour.

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A Grand Old Art Fair Returns, to a World That has Changed
27 June 2022
Scott Reyburn

The presence of curators, conservators and donors from museums in Europe and the United States is a key draw for dealers to exhibit at TEFAF Maastricht. Representatives from some 20 U.S.-based institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, attended the fair, according to the TEFAF media office.

“American museums are primed to buy,” said the New York-based dealer Nicholas Hall, who specializes in high-end old master pictures. Hall was showing a superb “Virgin and Child With Saints Cecilia and Ursula,” from about 1495, by the Venetian painter Vittore Carpaccio. Consigned for sale from a private collection in the United States, it had been reserved by another American collector before the fair, Hall said, priced between $10 million and $15 million.

Since TEFAF’s equivalent sister fair in New York in the fall has been scrapped (though it still holds its spring fair for modern and contemporary works), TEFAF Maastricht was now “the one opportunity for dealers to put together a group of pictures to rival the auction houses’ old master sales,” Hall said.

Certainly Hall’s Carpaccio, an Artemisia Gentileschi self-portrait as Cleopatra with Heim of Basel at around $8 million and the late Goya canvas “St. Paul,” with the London-based Stair Sainty at $6 million seemed to represent a more impressive offering than Sotheby’s and Christie’s thin old master auctions in London in July.

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Galleries bring out the ‘big guns’ for Tefaf Maastricht—but sales are slower than usual
27 June 2022
Jane Morris

Nicholas Hall has brought a Vittore Carpaccio not seen in public since 1987, which will be included a major Carpaccio exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. in November. Madonna and Child with Saints Cecilia and Barbara, painted in the 1490s and showing the influence of Giovanni Bellini, is “an eight-figure sum”, Hall says, (believed to be between $10m and $15m). It was reserved by a private collector on the preview day. Dickinson, meanwhile, brought what is probably one of the most expensive modern works at the fair, an unusual double-side painting by Giorgio de Chirico. Mercurio e i metafisici, 1920, on one side and Il Ritornodel figliol prodigo, 1924, on the other, the price was undisclosed but believed to be around €12m….

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