Home City Guide: Maastricht Shopping in Maastricht Maastricht’s world class showcase for art and antiques
Last update on January 09, 2020

The Antiques Diva tells us what Netherlands-based Tefaf is about—and why any serious antiques collector shouldn’t miss this leading European fine arts fair, which runs from 10 – 19 March 2017.

You won’t only find the cream of Dutch treasures at this prestigious arts and antiques fair, vendors and buyers alike come from the four corners of the world – 82 percent of the participants are non-Dutch with 220 art and antiques representative checking-in from 15 different countries.

Showcasing the best antiques dealers

For antiques dealers, making the fair is a professional coup, as only the best of the best are allowed to participate in the event.

Tefaf recognise that it is difficult for new dealers to achieve a placement into the show when competing against buisnesses which have been around longer than many nations. Thus, Tefaf has recently added ‘The Tefaf Showcase for recently established vendors’ which gives debutantes an opportunity to participate in this major interanational fine art event on a one-off basis. This gives young up and coming dealers a chance to show their flare in a competitive and costly arena.  Tefaf stall rentals typically run for rates equal to buying an ownership share in an NFL football team, but these debutantes are allowed to participle for peanuts.  With their Tefaf costs lower than the big boys fees, their “needed profit margin” isn’t going to be as high.  My advice is to watch these newcomers.  If you like their inventory, get their names and contact information, and six months after the fair–once the post-Tefaf euphoria wears off and their prices have floated back down to reality–give them a call about the item you’re interested in.

As you walk about the carefully decorated stalls, look around — not just at the items for sale, the great floral arrangments and the innovative décor, but at the other visitors to the fair.  You’re as likely to hear English spoken as you are Russian, Chinese, Aarbic, French, Portugese, German, Dutch or Italian.  It’s as if you’ve taken the worlds wealthiest citizens, thrown them in a Baccarat martini shaker and added copious quantities of cologne, silk ascots, and mink. What people, and goods are worth is clear, which is why I send you to the show.

When you go to a museum you can’t touch the art, you don’t get to see the reverse of the painting and you certainly don’t get to hear how much a Monet costs.  But at Tefaf, you can do all these things.

Entrance to the fair for two costs more than I spent on the pair of brass turn-of-the-century-Polish candlesticks I bought at a flea market in Gdansk, but the cost is worth it. At EUR 55 per person, which includes the fair catalogue –  pure eye candy –  you might be wondering why I’m sending you there.  Unless your budget is a whole lot bigger than mine you most likely won’t be doing any buying at the fair.

Window shopping for inspiration at museums

I always tell Diva Clients who are interested in learning about antiques to go to museums.  Study the art, study quality and then take that knowledge home with you and out to the flea market and apply it at prices that don’t rival the USA’s national deficit.  This is why you go to Tefaf; to educate your eye so that you recognise quality.  The worlds best antiques have been gathered in this one location and I cringe to think what insurance for the fair must cost.  No where else, includng the world’s best museums – the Louvre, Rijksmuseum, Uffizi or the Met– will you find a collection of art and antiques this good in one locale.  that is, until next year.  For the fair has been held every March since 1975, recession or no recession.

Ben Janssens, Chairman of Tefaf’s Executive Committee assures, “There is no evidence that the jittery financial markets have discouraged art buyers and in fact the reverse seems to be true. Visitors said to me that they see no point in investing in stocks at the moment and prefer to put their money into art and antiques. What has also been encouraging is the increase in visitors from Asia including, for the first time, two groups totalling 20 people from mainland China.”

TEFAF posts the next year’s dates within weeks following the current fair.  This information, my friends, is key for you.  It might be too late for you to catch a train or book a flight to this years TEFAF, but you will certainly want to add TEFAF to your calendar and while you’re at it go ahead and book the hotel.  Hotels for 30 miles around book up a year in advance.

The Antiques Diva ™

By The Antiques Diva, an expert in scouting for antiques in Holland, Belgium and France. For more information, visit: www.antiquesdiva.com or www.antiquesdiva.blogspot.com