There is, perhaps, a point or two to be made about BRAFA, or at least, my own take on BRAFA, either this year or any other. It is an event I have so long favored, and whose luxuries and elegance I’ve immersed myself in over the course of so many years, that it has come to feel a bit my own – the way a long-frequented neighborhood restaurant might, or a favorite book. When the fair is at its best, I boast of it. When it stumbles, I take its missteps personally.
But the truth really is that it remains one of the world’s best art fairs, and the experience – the atmosphere, the intimacy — unparalleled.
And this year, as in others, there is much to find here, and many pleasures to enjoy — from two particularly strong Arman sliced violins at Guy Pieters (who also showed an assortment of Bold Face Names such as Bernar Venet, Christo, Keith Haring and Wim Delvoye) to a 1965 Leger oil at Opera Gallery; from a Magritte Scheherazade, priced at €800,000, and another Leger, this on paper (which sold for an undisclosed price on opening night), both at Harold t’Klint de Roodenbeke, to the annual – but always delightful – pairings of Australian Aboriginal art with classic Art Deco furnishings at Galerie Mathivet. Added to this: a delightful pre-Columbian, terra cotta “seated dog” (dating from between 200 BC-300AD, which makes him some 14,000 years old in dog years) at Deletaille Gallery; at Didier Claes, always one of the best stands at the fair, an assortment of tribal treasures you can view in full here, and a sapphire, ruby, and diamond dragonfly brooch, circa 1905, at Epoque Fine Jewels.
Which brings me to the second point: that art fairs are best viewed more than once, to allow yourself – and your eyes – to reach beyond the first look, the sweeping overview, and find the exquisite details, the hidden treasures, that are always there, present in anything, really, if you only look long enough.
Here, then, is a sampling of what to look for when you go.
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