March 18 2016
I had an enjoyable time at Maastricht, which was looking better than ever (they've changed the layout). The vibe was good too, with many dealers reporting strong sales. Sometimes dealers tell you they've had a great fair, when you can tell by the gritted teeth they've sold nothing. But this year there has genuinely been some strong traction, which is a marked improvement on last year. I am glad for the fair and exhibitors, because recent performance was beginning to look like the beginnings of a decline.That said, the Old Master section felt a little smaller than previous years.
I saw many fine and beautiful things; highlights included for me a Houdon marble of Diana (above, at Daniel Katz's stand); the newly discovered Jordaens study of two men I mentioned below (at Talabardon & Gautier); a Van de Velde the Younger marine picture in sublime condition at Rafael Valls'; a delightful oil study by Mary Beale of her son, (one the best pictures by her I've seen), at Rob Smeets'; and a giant Ribera of Hercules at Fergus Hall's. The stand I most enjoyed was Lowell Libson's, who always has an array of fascinating works in excellent condition - an important discovery this year was a marble bust by Vincenzo Pacetti, The Hope Roma.
Apologies for the lack of photos, but as you can tell by the rubbish one above, the camera on my phone is bust. I also saw a questionable little picture which looked like it was 'of recent manufacture'. But that's for another day. Oh, and some of the mark ups for recently bought auction pictures were beyond silly.