While TEFAF deservedly steals the limelight for the next few weeks, it’s worth remembering that some outstanding satellite shows are also staged alongside the fair, both around Maastricht and throughout the Low Countries. Below is a round-up of some of the region’s highlights.
In Maastricht, this weekend sees the seventh edition of the Maastricht Antiquarian Book & Print Fair (14–16 March), which promises 30 antiquarian book and print sellers from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, and the UK. Antiquariaat FORUM presents a rare first edition depicting portraits of 16th-century artists from the Low Countries, accompanied by laudatory verses in Latin by the Flemish writer Dominicus Lampsonius.
Nearby, along the banks of the Meuse, is the Bonnefantenmuseum, whose exhibition ‘Beating Around the Bush # 1’ continues until 13 April. Exploring the collection in dialogue with new acquisitions, this first of four thematic ‘episodes’ includes Camille Henrot and Mark Manders.
In the Dutch capital, the Hermitage Amsterdam allows visitors to travel along the legendary Silk Road which ran from China to the Mediterranean, exploring its network of trade and cultural links. ‘Expedition Silk Road’ (1 March–15 September) features over 250 objects from the museum’s own collection, the fruit of 19th- and 20th-century Russian expeditions.
While in Amsterdam, be sure to visit the Van Gogh Museum and its display dedicated to the Franco-Swiss artist Félix Vallotton (until 1 June). A member of Les Nabis in the 1890s, Vallotton established his reputation with innovative prints and bold, enigmatic paintings. 60 paintings are combined here with 40 woodcuts from the museum’s holdings.
Also worth seeing are the 70 highlights from the Mauritshuis currently on display at the Hague’s Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Featuring Vermeer’s atmospheric View of Delft (c. 1660–61), the collaboration extends until mid 2014 when the renovated Mauritshuis is due to reopen. See Apollo’s March issue for an interview with the museum’s director Emilie Gordenker.
Further afield, Rotterdam‘s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen hosts the major spring exhibition ‘Brancusi, Rosso, Man Ray – Framing Sculpture’ (until 11 May), which combines the sculpture and photographic works of these artists in order to offer new insights into their working processes.
Further north in Groningen is the Groninger Museum‘s exhibition ‘Natural Beauty: From Fra Angelica to Monet’ (until 25 May), which displays landscapes and still lifes spanning the 17th to the 20th centuries from the collection of Gustav Rau.
Belgium is also a hub of artistic activity this spring, with Brussels – only a few hours west of Maastricht – catering for all tastes. Zurbarán, one of the most important artists of the Spanish baroque, is the focus at BOZAR (until 25 May), whose naturalism is complemented by the suggestive paintings of the contemporary Belgian painter Michael Borrëmans, also on show (until 3 August).
Antique collectors should head to Eurantica – The Brussels Fine Art Fair which is specifically organised around TEFAF. Attracting over 125 antique dealers from across Europe, the fair includes everything from modern painting to jewellery and furniture. A 30-minute walk away, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium exhibits ‘Disegno & Colour’ (until 18 May), a chance to showcase its diverse ensemble of Italian and French drawings.
Finally, in Ghent, the Museum of Fine Arts stages a moving display of works by Géricault (until 25 May). More than just a consummate painter of madness and tragedy, this exhibition reveals how Géricault captured the humanity of his subjects, evident in his Study of Joseph (1818–19).