This March, TEFAF is the occasion for a host of outstanding exhibitions in and around Maastricht. While some are a little further afield, if you are visiting the city it’s worth extending your stay to take in some of the satellite events. Here is our pick of the best fairs and museum shows in the region.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Maastricht Antiquarian Book & Print Fair (MABP) returns to the intimate gothic church in the Vrijthof, the delightful medieval square in the centre of Maastricht (10–12 March). Thirty specialist dealers offer a selection of books and prints, including local antiquarian Paul Bremmers who presents a highly detailed manuscript map of the fortifications around the city, drawn up in 1794.
Guus Röell once again welcomes visitors to his annual Open House from 8–19 March. Alongside guest exhibitors Alvaro Roquette & Pedro Aguiar-Branco, Hansord Antiques and Hares Antiques, Röell presents an exhibition of furniture, colonial artefacts and Kunstkammer objects. Seats can be reserved at his collectors’ dinners, held at his historic town house every evening.
Fine Art Fair Eurantica returns to Mechelen, just outside Brussels, for its 36th edition (18–26 March). Some 115 exhibitors are taking part and the fair (which has a team of around 30 specialists vetting all exhibits) focuses this year on portraiture, examining the genre through painting, photography and the 21st-century phenomenon of the ‘selfie’. In Brussels, Almine Rech Gallery hosts an exhibition devoted to the sculpture of contemporary artist, Johan Creten (9 March–8 April).
In The Hague, the Gemeentemuseum celebrates the centenary of the launch of De Stijl with a year-long programme of exhibitions. Coinciding with TEFAF is the museum’s show dedicated to the movement’s two foremost painters, Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck (until 21 May). The Mauritshuis, meanwhile, explores the development of still lifes depicting prepared food – called meal still lifes – created in Holland and Flanders from 1600 onwards (9 March–25 June). This enticing exhibition is centred around Clara Peeters’ Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds, and Pretzels, acquired by the institution in 2012.
Teylers Museum, Haarlem
Until 14 May
This exhibition, organised with the Städel Museum, is the largest survey of Watteau’s work to be held in the Netherlands. Watteau was a leading figure in the development of the rococo style and his elegant scenes inspired a revival of interest in colour and movement. Around 70 paintings and drawings are on show here, as well as prints, medals, and costumes by his contemporaries and followers.
Mad About Surrealism
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
Until 28 May
This major exhibition of Surrealism is drawn from four renowned European collections, including that of British artist Roland Penrose, and includes a number of works that have rarely, or never, been exhibited publicly. The Boijmans is the only Dutch museum with an extensive Surrealist collection, and the show includes important pieces by artists such as Dalí, Magritte, Ernst, and Miró.
Cai Guo-Qiang: My Stories of Painting
Until 1 May
The Chinese-born artist won the Bonnefanten Award in 2016. This exhibition at the museum follows Cai Guo-Qiang’s early experiments with oil paintings and gunpowder drawings through to his ‘explosive events’ in Japan and his later period in New York. It also explores the influence of the artist’s family: paintings and drawings by his grandmother, parents, wife, and daughters are on display here.
Malta: Land of Sea
Until 28 May
More than 60 artworks and artefacts, from prehistoric times to the present day, are on display in this exploration of the 4,000-year history of Malta. The exhibition features work by Caravaggio and Turner as well as an interactive sound installation by Pierre Portelli. There is a particular focus on Malta’s strategic location at the centre of the Mediterranean and the confluence of cultures on the island.
Rik Wouters: A Retrospective
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
10 March–2 July
A major retrospective, organised with the Royal Museums of Fine Arts Antwerp, closes the series of events marking the centenary of the tragically early death of Wouters. A prominent figure in Brabant Fauvism, Wouters was celebrated for his rich palette and simple but touching ways of representing his subjects. The exhibition includes international loans from private collections and museums.
Blood & Tears: Albrecht Bouts and the Image of the Passion
Suermondt-Ludwig Museum, Aachen
9 March–11 June
Albrecht Bouts, son of Early Netherlandish painter Dirk Bouts, is the subject of this exhibition, which presents the devotional paintings of both father and son alongside those of contemporaries such as Hans Memling. The Bouts’ workshop, which Albrecht ran from 1475 to 1549, specialised in images of Christ, the Virgin, and John the Baptist.
From the March 2017 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.