Photo by Peter Madden.
MAASTRICHT - Visit an art fair anywhere in Europe, and you’re almost certain to run into Dutch collectors Carla and Pieter Schulting roaming amongst the booths, Pieter snapping photos (“to think about it later”) on his smart phone, their heads leaning in together as they discuss whether to add one or another work to their rapidly expanding collection.
Long avid collectors of Dutch Romantic and Dutch Impressionist paintings, the Schultings have recently extended their reach, adding works by Modern and Contemporary artists such as Jaume Plensa, Jan Schoonhoven, Gunther Uecker, Lucio Fontana, and Yves Klein to the mix. And a substantial number of those acquisitions were made at art fairs.
I asked Pieter Schulting, as an apparent expert in the art fair experience, for his thoughts on TEFAF 2013.
Abigail R. Esman: How did this year’s TEFAF seem to you?
Pieter Schulting: TEFAF is always a high point of the year for us. It’s a fair with an emphasis on Old Masters and classic Modern art, and this year the ‘60s were particularly well represented. You won’t see a great deal of contemporary art, but for the true art lover, it’s a feast for the eyes no matter where your interests lie. It’s through TEFAF, for instance, that we’ve become better acquainted with African and Oceanic sculpture.
ARE: What is particularly special about TEFAF for you compared with other art fairs?
PS: Its diversity. Personally, I’d rather see more contemporary art, though. Maybe that would also bring a younger public, which the fair could use.
ARE: Gagosian showed this year for the first time since 2006. What did you think of the stand?
PS: We didn’t actually pay particular attention, though we found the enormous security guard standing next to the enormous Jeff Koons sculpture pretty funny.
ARE: What were your favorite works this year?
PS: A photo of Picasso by Irving Penn (for $1 million), a number of Fontanas, several Calder sculptures, and we were impressed by some beautiful contemporary ceramics at Yufuku Gallery.
ARE: As someone who has recently been redecorating your home, what did you think of the design section? Is it a good fair for design buffs?
PS: There was a lot of brown design, you might say. But there are too few exhibitors.
ARE: Any purchases this year?
PS: We bought a top piece by Heinz Mack from his best period (1959) from Patrick Derom, a Belgian dealer. We dined with Mack once, and we’ve long been trying to find a work of his. So even though we came to TEFAF promising we weren’t going to buy anything this year, we couldn’t let this one pass.
ARE: Any thoughts for next year?
PS: More contemporary art, hopefully. And better weather!