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Friday, 11 March 2011 04:52

Americans, At Home and Abroad

The 260-exhibitor European Fine Art Fair is divided into nine sections. Elle Shushan of Philadelphia was selected for the Showroom section. She joins 36 other American exhibitors at the 2011European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht. The 260-exhibitor European Fine Art Fair is divided into nine sections. Elle Shushan of Philadelphia was selected for the Showroom section. She joins 36 other American exhibitors at the 2011European Fine Art Fair in Maastricht. TEFAF Maastricht, courtesy Loraine Bodewes.

It is show season again, after what seemed like the briefest of lulls. With the Palm Beach fairs a wrap, dealers are headed for Maastricht, New York and Philadelphia. Then it is on to London in June before the business takes a summer break. 

M is for Maastricht and Miniatures
An international cast of exhibitors began arriving in the Netherlands this week for the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF), on view at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre from March 18 to 27.
Though it is regarded as the Continent’s best venue for traditional art and antiques, the 260-dealer mega-fair, now in its 24th year, is responding to changing tastes by increasing its emphasis on modern and contemporary art and 20th century design. Last year, TEFAF added a section devoted to works on paper, from drawings and prints to books and photography.
Another innovation, now three years old, is the TEFAF Showcase, which introduces more than 70,000 visitors annually to the field’s freshest faces. For 2011, six Showcase exhibitors from France, the United Kingdom and the United States were selected for the one-time honor from a field of 80 applicants.
The only American in this year’s Showcase is Elle Shushan. The Philadelphia-based specialist in portrait miniatures fills a gap left when London dealer David Lavender retired from TEFAF several years ago.
Shushan calls herself “a scholarship kid” but she need not be so modest.  For her TEFAF debut, the dealer is bringing close to 50 likenesses, many of European notables. One highlight is a signed and dated portrait, priced around $35,000, of the Empress Josephine, newly divorced from Napoleon and painted from life by Bouvier in 1812. Of three known versions, one is in the Louvre in Paris.
The American delegation to TEFAF includes A La Vieille Russie, Michele Beiny, Blumka Gallery, Richard L. Feigen, French & Company, Hammer Galleries, Jack Kilgore, Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Barbara Mathes, Anthony Meier, Montgomery Gallery, Otto Naumann, Royal-Athena, Sebastian + Barquet, S.J. Shrubsole, Sperone Westwater, Lawrence Steigrad, Carole Thibaut-Pomerantz, David Tunick, Ursus Books, Van de Weghe, Adam Williams and David & Constance Yates.
A little more than a week after she returns home, Shushan will welcome collectors in town for Philadelphia’s top antiques shows to her annual by-appointment selling event, scheduled for April 7 to 11.
Who says good things do not come in small packages?
Moments and Moves in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Antiques Show, which gets underway at the Cruise Terminal at Pier One in the city’s Navy Yard from April 8 to 12, is known for mounting ambitious loan exhibitions rivaling those found in museums.  This year’s exhibit, “Celebrations: Antiques that Mark the Moment,” is more intimate than most. The gathering of rarely seen objects, many from private collections and small historical societies, commemorates private milestones such as birthdays and weddings, as well as parades, holidays and other public occasions. Organizers chose the theme with their own special occasion in mind. The Philadelphia Antiques Show, long a leading showcase for the American arts, turns fifty this year.
Coincidentally, the presentation also marks the event’s last time at the Navy Yard, its home since 2008. Urban Outfitters has purchased the Navy Yard building, forcing the show to find new venue space. Four years ago, the Philadelphia Antiques Show had to leave the 33rd Street Armory after Drexel University reclaimed the building.
Show manager Joshua Wainwright of Keeling Wainwright Associates flatly denies the widespread speculation that the Philadelphia Antiques Show will move to the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Arch Street in Center City in 2012.
“Nothing has been decided. No contract has been signed. The Convention Center is one of many options being considered,” Wainwright said from office in Maryland this week.
Ease of set up and proximity to transportation and other services make the Convention Center, which hosts both the Philadelphia Museum of Art Crafts Show and the Philadelphia International Flower Show, an attractive location. The challenge is keeping costs down at a facility that is known to be expensive.
“I wish them every success,” says Frank Gaglio, who has managed fairs at the Convention Center in the past. Organizer of the 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show, the Barn Star Productions chief says a move to the Convention Center would likely benefit all concerned by increasing traffic among events during Philadelphia’s Antiques Week. Planned for April 8 to 10, the 23rd Street Armory Antiques Show features 45 exhibitors across a range of specialties.
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