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Design now included in TEFAF

For the first time, twentieth century design will be included in one of the world's most prestigious art fairs, Tefaf in Maastricht, The Netherlands. chats with local dealer, Frans Leidelmeyer.

By Gabrielle Kennedy / 19-03-2009

Tefaf, dubbed the world’s leading art and antiques fair, for the first time decided to include twentieth century design and applied art.

Long-term participating dealer, Frans Leidelmeyer says he and his colleagues have been trying to persuade the organizers for years to include design.

Though no firm explanation was given, the fair is clearly evolving to reinforce its position and reflect the changing and younger profile of its collectors and museum curators.

“It is definitely not about price,” Leidelmeyer says of the decision.  “The contemporary pieces can attract as much and even more as the more historical art items.  I think they are doing what the market is asking.”

Tefaf clients have always been interested in design, but rather stuck to the galleries of New York and London for their buying.  To have art and design interests satisfied together makes good sense.

And despite the financial crisis, this year’s fair has done surprisingly well.  “Of course I can’t deny the effect,” Leidelmeyer says.  “There have been some very big sales, but people, especially the Americans who are always the best buyers of art and design, seem more reserved.  I think European sales have been less affected.”

Design objects included this year date from 1990 and earlier.  It is hoped that from next year twenty-first century objects will also appear. “The inclusion [of design] has proved very popular so I see no reason why twenty-first century objects won’t also be included soon,” says Leidelmeyer.

Alongside Kunsthandel Frans Leidelmeijer of Amsterdam, usual Tefaf participants Galerie Downtown-François Laffanour of Paris and Philippe Denys from Brussels are a part of the design section.   New to Tefaf and also included in the deisgn section are Sebastian + Barquet from New York and London, Galerie Eric Philippe from Paris, Galerie Ulrich Fiedler of Berlin, L’Arc en Seine from Paris and Bel Etage Wolfgang Bauer of Vienna.

Tefaf runs until March 22.

Images: top page - Pair of lounge chairs by Poul Kjaerholm and Jorgen Hoj, Denmark, 1952 exhibited by Philippe Denys. Main image: Beehive lamp by Alvar Aalto, Finland, 1950 exhibited by Philippe Denys. Dining room suite in the Amsterdam School style by Michel de Klerk, Holland, exhibited by Kunsthandel Frans Leidelmeijer. Conoid Bench by George Nakashima, 1974, exhibited by Sebastian & Barquet Gallery.

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