TEFAF Maastricht – A Return to Elegance

Nestled in the southern tip of The Netherlands lies the city of Maastricht. The name “Maastricht” is derived from the Latin term ”Trajectum ad Mosam” which means crossing at the Meuse, as the city itself is geographically located on the banks of the Meuse River. While the city is located just shy of 125 kilometers east of Brussels, it has a significant history dating back to the 1st century BC when it served as the epicenter for trade connecting several major trade routes. In its most recent history, the Maastricht Treaty was signed here in 1992, giving rise to the modern European Union. Since 1975, it has also been home to one of the most prestigious art fairs in the world, TEFAF, or The European Fine Art Foundation. This fair, which is adorned with over 270 exhibitors from over 20 different countries, attracts collectors, curators, and art enthusiasts from all around the globe. Now, after a two-year hiatus and the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, it has returned to Maastricht with elegance and equanimity. Below is a snapshot of the fair and the city it inhabits:

Words and Images by Veesh Swamy – Maastricht Images: 35mm Film

TEFAF is not only a showcase of extraordinary art but also a hub of social and cultural activity. The fair attracts many influential figures from the art world, providing an opportunity for networking and collaboration. In the past, Kanye West and Brad Pitt were in attendance. The fair itself has an impeccable selection process, and it is typically carried out by a team of over 175 historians, curators, conservators, and general art experts. Structurally, the fair is divided into distinct sections by category of artwork and includes “Antiques”, “Old Masters”, “Classical Antiquities”, “Design”, “Modern”, and “Contemporary”.

One of the highlights of TEFAF is the opportunity to see and acquire works of art that are rarely available on the market (take for example the Rodin sculpture, pictured below, as part of a private collection). Many of the exhibitors bring works that are not only of exceptional quality but are also unique or of great historical significance. For instance, the fair featured a rare portrait of Rembrandt by his contemporary, Jan Lievens, in 2019. 

Another key feature of TEFAF is its commitment to education and research. The fair hosts a series of lectures and talks by leading experts in the art world, providing visitors with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the works on display. The fair also hosts a range of events, including cocktail parties, gala dinners, and private viewings, creating a vibrant and convivial atmosphere that celebrates the beauty and diversity of the world’s art and culture.

The fair also has a division based in New York City which returns May 12-16.

Tailor Haven - Firenze, Italy

Florence, Italy. We are now in the grand haven - the elusive mecca. You tie your half-windsor and weave the laces of your brogues (you regret not wearing your penny’s). Linen or cotton is most likely the more appropriate choice. You join the rendezvous of sartorial enthusiasts and artists coming together to exchange knowledge and passion.

There is nothing comparable to the vibrancy within the Fortezza da Basso in Florence during these four days. Once you habituate to the blaze of the summer Tuscan sun, the oasis of global style will crystalize your stare. You will attempt to navigate the maze of brands, publications, and various exhibitions only to discover that it may be impossible to engage with everything that fills the Fortezza da Basso. You return each day only to redefine your personal definition of dandy and witness the wealth of intersectionality that each individual holds. In the afternoon, you have an expresso. In the evening, you have a glass of red near the Duomo with your newly minted friendships.

This is Pitti Immagine Uomo told through my photographic eye.

Photography and Writing by Veesh Swamy.

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