TEFAF, Artvest Launch Two New York Fairs

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The eponymous art, antiques, jewelry, and antiquities fair run by the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) is expanding to New York in a joint venture with Artvest Partners, an art advisory firm, the organization announced today. Two distinct annual art fairs are planned for New York’s Park Avenue Armory, taking place in the fall and spring and focused on works from antiquity to the 20th century and Modern/contemporary art and design, respectively. The inaugural edition of  TEFAF New York Fall is slated for October 22–27, 2016, while TEFAF New York Spring will run May 4–9, 2017, according to a TEFAF release. The fairs will each host an international cohort of approximately 80-90 dealers.

The three-decade-old nonprofit cited New York’s status as the “world’s most buoyant art market” as a motivator for the move.”Our fair has also established itself as the leading showcase for introducing fresh works to the marketplace and is further distinguished by its rigorous vetting process for both participating galleries and works of art,” TEFAF chairman Willem van Roijen said in a statement, adding that it will bring this approach to its US venture.

Officially, the twin TEFAF efforts will succeed two existing Armory fairs: The International Fine Art & Antiques Show, which has been acquired by TEFAF and Artvest, according to the New York Times, and Spring Masters New York, acquired and “rebranded” by Artvest in late 2013.

The Dutch stalwart’s arrival at the Armory also follows the recent ouster of the Palm Beach Show Group’s short-lived New York Art, Antique & Jewelry Show from the venue. That fair ran at the Armory in 2014 and 2015 before being notified in December that it would not be allowed to return. The New York Post’s Page Six attributed the “eviction” to Armory director Rebecca Robertson’s apparent focus away from commercial events and toward art and performance following a recent $65 million donation to her institution from the Thompson Family Foundation.

“What they’re saying is, they want to push all these shows out of the Park Avenue Armory. The goal is only to have performances,” Palm Beach Show Group CEO Scott Diament told Page Six.

Though it remains to be seen what kind of “performance” TEFAF delivers, the new fairs will sprawl beyond the Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall previously occupied by the fairs they replace and into “both the ground and first floors of the Armory’s period rooms.”

The period rooms, per a 2015 release from the Armory, are to be renovated by the architects Herzog & de Meuron “[a]s part of the ongoing transformation of its historic building into an unconventional cultural institution.”

 — Mostafa Heddaya (@mheddaya)

(Photo: Crowds storm the opening of TEFAF in Maastricht in 2015, by Mostafa Heddaya.)