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Summer art fair highlights

18 July 2016

The sixth edition of the European Art Fair Monaco (known previously as Point Art Monaco) comes to the Grimaldi Forum from 20–24 July. This eclectic fair features museum-quality pieces from across the fine and decorative arts, and spans antiquity to the modern period. Once again, the event is partnering with Jewels of the World and shining a spotlight on fine jewellery – look out for displays from Sabbadini, D’Joya, and DeWitt. The event runs alongside the Grimaldi Forum’s summer exhibition, ‘Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture’ (2 July–4 September).

The fair brings together some 30 dealers, all with strong links to major international cultural institutions. This year’s line-up includes Monaco-based Maison d’Art and Galerie Adriano Ribolzi, alongside De Jonckheere (Paris/Geneva), Robilant + Voena (London), Moretti Fine Art (Florence/London/New York), Lampronti (London/Rome) and Hélène Bailly (Paris). There’s a strong display of Italian works this year. While fine Italian views by Bernardo Bellotto and Gaspar van Wittel can be found courtesy of Moretti and Lampronti respectively, modern Italian art is the focus at M.F. Toninelli Art Moderne, which offers a bright green Fontana slashed canvas from 1962. Monaco-based A. Pallesi Art Gallery shows a portrait of a lady by the 19th-century painter, Giuseppe Molteni. Molteni was known for his luxurious depiction of costumes, and this work, with its fine pastel pink detail, is no exception. Elsewhere, Maison d’Art offers The Blessing Christ by Alvise Vivarini, who was regarded as one of the leading proponents of gothic painting in Venice during the mid 15th century.

The Blessing Christ

The Blessing Christ Alvise Vivarini. Maison d’Art at European Art Fair Monaco

There are a number of other well-established European fairs worth visiting. Now in its 41st year, Art Nocturne Knocke, located on the Belgian coast, presents everything from ancient art and antiques to modern and contemporary design (6–15 August). Expect to find a dazzling array of objects, from silverware and watches to Asian ceramics and pre-Columbian art. This year also marks the 23rd edition of Sculpture Link Knokke, a sculpture trail that takes over the length of the Zeedijk (boardwalk). The HAN Collection, London specialists in Korean art and antiques, presents a decorative 17th-century lacquer box inlaid with mother-of-pearl, alongside a more simply finished Korean moon jar from the 18th century, which would have been used for storing foodstuffs such as rice.

The medieval town of Bamberg welcomes the 21st Bamberg Art and Antiques Festival, which runs from the 22 July–19 August. Among the painting highlights is a chaotic still-life by Frans Snyders, known for his paintings of animals and hunting scenes (courtesy of Senger Bamberg Kunsthandel), and a work, inspired by the commedia dell’arte, by the 18th-century painter Philippe Mercier (Kunstauktionshaus Schlosser). Alongside a fine selection of furniture – including an imposing dresser dated to around 1740 – Kunsthandel Dr. Schmitz-Avila offers a late 15th-century polychrome Mondsichelmadonna. For silverware and a rich selection of decorative art objects head to Christian Eduard Franke Antiquitäten.

Late summer in the UK sees the 13th Edinburgh Art Festival take over the Scottish capital with its vast programme of 43 exhibitions across 30 venues (28 July–28 August). Large art-historical surveys include a major Impressionism show at the Scottish National Gallery, which traces the interactions and mutual influences between Charles-François Daubigny, Monet and Van Gogh; a celebration of the art of the garden at the Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse; and a display of surrealist works drawn from four private collections at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. There’s also a strong focus on portraiture, with a solo show of works by Alice Neel (Talbot Rice Gallery) and a large-scale exhibition charting the history of self-portraits across six centuries, from Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei (Scottish National Portrait Gallery). Mexican artist Damián Ortega unveils new sculptures at the Fruitmarket Gallery, while Inverleith House marks the gallery’s 30th anniversary with the exhibition ‘I still believe in miracles’, which features 30 artists, including Louise Bourgeois, John McCracken, William Eggleston, and Cy Twombly. Elsewhere, Open Eye Gallery presents a major solo show of acclaimed Scottish painter Barbara Rae.

In London, Tribal Art London heralds the start of the autumn season (1–4 September). This is the third edition of the event, which runs at the Mall Galleries, and which features 22 dealers (including five newcomers) specialising in ethnographic art from Oceania, the Americas, and Africa. A lecture series accompanies the event, with subjects ranging from Aboriginal art to West African bronzes and the art and history of Fiji.

Untitled (Boy asleep)

Untitled (Boy asleep) (1970–73), WIlliam Eggleston. Inverleith House, Edinburgh. © Eggleston Artistic Trust. Courtesy the artist

Among the exceptional objects on offer at David Malik are a number of masks dating to the early 1900s. These include a Fang Ngontang mask from Gabon, a wood and metal We/Guere mask from Ivory Coast, and an unusual vivid helmet mask from the Democratic Republic of Congo. A Teke dance mask, also originating in the present-day Democratic Republic of Congo, can be found at Bryan Reeves. The Teke people are well known for such round wooden masks, which feature abstract patterns and are traditionally used in dancing ceremonies. Other highlights include a c. 19th-century Burmese ritual wall mask at Adam Ethnographic Art; a display of tribal and contemporary Aboriginal art at the joint stand of Arjmand Aziz and Kapil Jariwala; and a rare Yombe sleeping mat dating to the 1930s from the Democratic Republic of Congo at newcomer Marcuson & Hall.

From the July/August issue of Apollo: preview and subscribe here.

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