There are hundreds of exceptional artworks adorning the stands at TEFAF Maastricht this year. Everyone will have their own favourites, but we urge any visitor to seek out these works, which happen to be some of ours…Digby Warde-Aldam selects the first set of TEFAF Treasures
The Beach at Lacco Ameno with the ‘Mushroom’ at Casamicciola, Ischia
Lancelot-Théodore Turpin de Crissé
Oil on canvas, 40 x 61 cm
Giacometti Old Master Paintings, Rome
On a visit to Ischia, Lancelot-Théodore Turpin de Crissé sketched out an image of a bay dominated by a distinctive, mushroom-shaped rock formation. When he returned to Paris, he completed the rest of the painting in minute detail, but deliberated on how to paint the rock. Then, stuck at an artistic impasse, he laid down his brushes and declared the picture ‘finished’. Quite accidentally, the result is a fascinating work, a statement of economy that calls to mind the blank spaces in Katsushika Hokusai’s most famous images.
Le Corbeau (The Raven)
First edition of the French translation by Stéphane Mallarmé with illustrations by Édouard Manet
Edgar Allan Poe
Librairie Thomas-Scheller – Bernard & Stéphane Clavreuil, Paris
Mallarmé’s translation of Poe’s uncanny masterpiece is a work of monumental importance to French literature. As if that wasn’t significant enough, he roped in Manet to provide the illustrations, which are just as spectacularly disturbing as the tome itself. This first edition, with the plates of Manet’s drawings in two states, is as rare as ravens’ teeth, and it’s just as lugubriously beautiful as you’d hope.
Egyptian fragment with profile of god or pharaoh
30th Dynasty – Early Ptolemaic Period, c. 350–300 BC, grey fine-grained granite
Charles Ede, London
The outline of the mysterious fragment is oddly perfect, like an upturned map of South America. A near-immaculate right angle running along the brow of the head it depicts draws attention to the face. The figure’s mouth seems to be curling into a smile, the head leaning forward as if to contribute to a conversation. We can only wonder as to what story it once told.
TEFAF Maastricht is at the Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Centre from 13–22 March.