BRAFA (BRUSSELS) 2023 – 68th Edition
The 68th edition full Beauty and a lot of Enthusiasm
BRAFA from January 29th to February 5th, 2023, at Brussels Expo. The decor has been filled with the signs of Art Nouveau, the theme chosen for its 68th edition, in a staging by Volume Architecture, which will be celebrating 20 years of collaboration with BRAFA this year.
BRAFA is renowned for the range of specialities it presents to collectors and art lovers from all over Europe and beyond. This year, once again, it promises more than 10,000 artworks dating from Antiquity to the present day. Thirteen new galleries will be joining the regular exhibitors at the Fair. Each of the 130 participating galleries will be displaying their finest objects, skilfully laid out on stands which compete for originality and elegance. A real journey of discovery! Below, we have selected some exceptional artworks from amongst the different specialties.
The enthusiasm has been palpable at this new edition of BRAFA. Since opening its doors on Sunday, January 29th, 2023, the Fair has won over many visitors from Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, England and the United States.
Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke:
“There is a real sense of general enthusiasm. We put all of our energy into the preparation of this 68th edition of BRAFA, to make it even more beautiful and interesting for the visitors. In light of the compliments we have received over the past few days, it seems we are on the right track.”
This 68th edition has been met with great appreciation by collectors and art lovers, for the quality of the 130 international participating galleries,the beauty of the stands, the juxtaposition of specialities in the aisles, the Fair’s carpet inspired by Victor Horta’s drawings and the pleasant atmosphere that reigns. This has been illustrated by the exchanges and contacts created by the galleries, and by the many sales which have already been made.
Art Nouveau, the theme of BRAFA’s 68th edition, will be addressed in several forms.
• Several BRAFA galleries will offer exceptional objects from this movement including Epoque Fine Jewels, Thomas Deprez Fine Arts, Florian Kolhammer, Galerie Cento Anni,
Dr. Lennart Booij Fine Art & Rare Items, Victor Werner, Galerie Mathivet, Galerie Montanari, Marc Emanheirs, Bernard De Leye Gallery…
• Two BRAFA Art Talks will be devoted to this theme, one presented by Benjamin Zurstrassen, Curator at the Horta Museum: “Brussels 1893, the birth of Art Nouveau” and the other by Professor Werner Adriaenssens, Curator of the 20th–Century Collections at the Art & History Museum: “The King Baudouin Foundation’s Art Nouveau collection.”
• Following a meeting with Benjamin Zurstrassen, Curator at the Horta Museum, Beatrix Bourdon, the Managing Director of BRAFA and Nicolas de Liedekerke – Daniel Culot (Volume Architecture) took inspiration from original designs by Victor Horta for the creation of the carpet, which has been produced for the second consecutive year by the Danish company EGE, the world’s first sustainable carpet manufacturer. These drawings can also be found on the invitation cards of BRAFA 2023 and on the cover of the
TO DISCOVER AT BRAFA 2023
One of the key artworks of this edition is undoubtedly the painting by Jacob Jordaens entitled “Study of an Evangelist,” dating from the 17th century. Collectors can find the artist’s work, which is comparable to a sketching on display at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, on the Klaas Muller (BE) stand 4. Jacob Jordaens, together with Pieter Paul Rubens and Antoon van Dyck, was one of the “three masters“ of 17th–century Flemish painting. Jordaens, who was strongly influenced by Rubens, nevertheless developed his own very characteristic style: realistic on the one hand, with a Caravaggesque style, and monumental and expressive on the other.
In classical sculpture, Desmet Gallery (BE), located on stand 31, will be exhibiting a beautiful bust by Luigi Valadier whose bronze work is exceptional. As a descendant of a dynasty of goldsmiths, he was a sculptor who was highly appreciated by influential families in Rome. His clients included Pope Pius VI, as well as Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. He also received commissions from churches around the world.
Amongst the tribal works on display, visitors will be able to discover a remarkable statuette on the stand 7 of Dalton Somaré (IT). The Milanese gallery will be presenting a perfectly geometrical sculpture. This is an early and classic example of a Kota guardian figure, which distinguishes itself from the corpus of Obamba reliquaries by the precision of its manufacture.
The face is a sharp ellipse cut across by two broad bands of brass, which give the figure a severe and dreamy expression. Besides its impeccable pedigree, this sculpture can be considered to be one of the most expressive and purest examples of this style.
Equally unmissable is an exceptional service in vermeil de Paris by Abel–Etienne Giroux and Charles–Salomon Mahler on the stand 42 of Bernard De Leye (BE), in the period Empire style, which belonged to the Aligre–de Pomereu families. It consists of 36 dinner plates, 8 square compote dishes, a large cutlery set composed of 234 pieces of serving cutlery and a ewer and basin completed by two pairs of coolers by Marc Jacquart in the same style and from the same period, and a large wine bucket by Martin–Guillaume Biennais from the service of Nicolas Pavlovitch Romanov, a future tsar. The set is completed by a teapot and a pair of five–branch candelabra by Martin–Guillaume Biennais, as well as a wine nef, the latter having belonged to the Grand Duke Mikhael Pavlovich, the brother of the tsar.
The set forms a very rare and homogeneous whole.
Jean Lemaire (BE), stand 44, will be presenting a superb service in Chinese porcelain, composed of fifty plates (40 plates, 4 dishes, 3 cups…) dating from the 18th century, with coats of arms of great European families including ones of Frederick II of Prussia (1755) and of Louis XV.
Röbbig München will allow Meissen porcelain lovers to admire (stand 50) a pair of large lions, mounted on gilt bronze (Paris, Louis XV period, circa 1750), by Johann Joachim Kaendler (1706–1775) dating from 1748, as well as a set of four porcelain wall lights by Christophe Jünger (1736–177), Vienna, circa 1750–60.
Simon Studer Art SA (CH), stand 57, based in Geneva and specialised in Impressionist, modern and contemporary art, will be presenting a watercolour on paper signed by Joan Miró. Dated May 2nd, 1942, it belongs to the artist’s last period of production in Palma de Mallorca, before he returned to his native Barcelona. The European political climate had a significant impact on his works, which are populated by monsters and bewildered figures. Nevertheless, the presence of these disturbing creatures is sometimes interrupted by the appearance of the carefree world of childhood, of which he was undoubtedly reminded by his daughter Maria Dolores, who was 12 years old at the time. Such is the case in this work, where we observe little girls playing with a skipping rope, their eyes raised towards the bird flying above them. The three figures are individualised, each with their own distinctive features. In addition to Miró’s famous stars, the composition is animated by various splashes of bright colours, reminiscent of the joy and vibrancy of childhood.
Also on the same stand is a work of museum quality by Johann Heinrich Füssli, also known as Fuseli (1741 – 1825), Lady Constance, Arthur and the Earl of Salisbury (from Shakespeare, King John, III, I) 1825. Oil on canvas 189 x 143 cm
In terms of Belgian art, stand (110) of Samuel Vanhoegaerden Gallery (BE) will be entirely devoted to one of the major artists of the CoBrA movement, Pierre Alechinsky. Approximately 30 works will be on display, dating from the 1960s to the present day. The centrepiece of the stand, and one of the artist’s most important works, is “L’or du rien,” which was first presented at the 36th Venice Biennale in 1972. It is the first time in 25 years that a panorama of this size and importance has been presented in a gallery.
Other galleries present at BRAFA will offer artworks by Pierre Alechinsky: Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke (BE), stand 32, with 10 works dating from 1950 to 1970, but also DIE GALERIE (DE), stand 78, the Maurice Verbaet Gallery (BE), stand 13, Galerie Boulakia (UK), stand 47, Galerie Jamar (BE), stand 91, Galerie Seghers (BE), stand 121, Rodolphe Janssen (BE), stand 36 and Galeries AB–BA (FR), stand 73
In the design section, Gokelaere & Robinson (BE/FR), stand 35, will be displaying a marvellous screen created in 1953 by the Italian designer Piero Fornasetti. The designer was strongly inspired by Art Nouveau and placed ornamentation at the heart of his creations.
The sinuous lines, delicate drawings and trompe–l’oeil representation of panelling with architectural motifs give this screen a refined, decorative aspect, an essential quality of Art Nouveau artistic productions. The naturalistic decoration of this piece, with representations of birds and floral motifs, also evokes the English tapestries of the Arts and Crafts movement.
In the same section, a new exhibitor, Galerie Pascal Cuisinier (FR), stand 92, displays a remarkable desk, by Joseph–André Motte (Saint–Bonnet 1925–1990 Paris), from 1962, in Rio rosewood, leather and chromed metal. Another emblematic work on the same stand is a double pendulum wall lamp by Robert Mathieu, 1955, in black and yellow lacquered metal and polished metal.
A must–see at BRAFA : Stand 76 of Morentz gallery (NL) which is articulated on either side of a red spiral staircase by Georges Ferran, made for Axe, in polyester foam, steel and lacquer, France, 1971.
In the field of contemporary art, the Nosbaum Reding Gallery (LU/BE), stand 16, will be presenting a monumental work by Damien Roubaix inspired by Pablo Picasso’s masterpiece Guernica, which denounces the atrocities of war and fascism using the example of the bombing of the village of Guernica. In 1955, a first re–interpretation of the work was created: a tapestry woven by Jacqueline de la Baume–Dürrbach, which was acquired by the Rockefellers and is currently on display at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Two other versions followed: the 1976 version, acquired by the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar, and the 1985 version, acquired by the Musée d’Art Moderne in Gunma. Deroubaix discovered the tapestry preserved in Colmar as a teenager. This piece would remain one of his sources of artistic inspiration and go on to mark a large part of his work.
BRAFA welcomes for the first time this year, in the jewellery section, the Dutch gallery VKD Jewels (NL), stand 109, that will be offering a rare bracelet by René Kern in yellow and white 18 carat gold. The horse’s mane is composed of gold and diamond–set locks, whereas the forehead is carved out of lapis lazuli. Germany, circa 1960. Based in Düsseldorf, René Kern was the glamorous address for exceptional jewellery pieces in the 1960s and 1970s. His clients included German industrial giants, as well as the Shah of Persia and King Hassan of Morocco.
BRAFA 2023 NEW PARTICIPANTS
For this 68th edition, 13 galleries will be joining BRAFA for the first time.
1. Franck Anelli Fine Art (FR): antique paintings from the 16th to the 18th centuries (Flemish, Dutch and French), as well as rare inlaid furniture from the 18th century Parisian golden age.
2. Ars Antiqua (IT): antique paintings, furniture and sculptures
3. Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie (DE): modern and contemporary art
4. Nicolas Bourriaud Gallery (FR): 19th and early 20th–century French sculpture
5. Van den Bruinhorst Gallery (NL): 20th–century historical design and art objects
6. Galerie Pascal Cuisinier (FR): French design from 1951 to 1961
7. Gallery Delaive (NL): modern and contemporary art
8. Nicolas Lenté Gallery (FR): antique paintings and furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries
9. New Hope Gallery (BE): furniture from the second half of the 20th century, including works by American and Danish designers
10. Dr. Nöth Kunsthandel + Gallery (DE): French and German Impressionism, Expressionism, Fauvism and 1920s art
11. Librairie Amélie Sourget (FR): rare and valuable books, original editions
12. Van der Meij Fine Arts (NL): 19th–century European art, from North European Romanticism to Scandinavian Symbolism and Dutch painting
13. VKD Jewels (NL): fine and rare jewellery from the world’s greatest designers from the late 19th and 20th centuries
BRAFA ART TALKS
The BRAFA Art Talks will take place from Saturday, January 28th to Sunday, February 5th, 2023, at 4 p.m., on the stand of the King Baudouin Foundation, No. 131, except on Monday, January 30th.
Saturday, January 28th, 2023: Aller–Retour. Dutch artists in Paris 1789–1914, by Mayken Jonkman, Senior Curator of 19th–century art at the RKD – Institut néerlandais d’histoire de l’art
Mayken Jonkman will immerse us in 19th–century Paris and give an overview of the strategies adopted by Dutch artists at the time in order to succeed in the City of Lights.
Sunday, January 29th, 2023: Theodoor Rombouts. A virtuoso of Flemish Caravaggism, by Dr. Frederica Van Dam, Curator of Old Masters at the Fine Arts Museum in Ghent. In partnership with CODART, the international network of curators of Dutch and Flemish art.
On the occasion of its 225th anniversary, the Fine Arts Museum in Ghent will be organising the very first monographic exhibition devoted to the Flemish Caravaggist painter Theodoor Rombouts (1597–1637). Curator Dr. Frederica Van Dam will shed new light on Rombouts’ artistic personality and discuss the specificities of his work.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023: Brussels 1893, the birth of Art Nouveau, by Benjamin Zurstrassen, Curator at the Horta Museum.
The talk will analyse the reasons for the birth of Art Nouveau, an unprecedented artistic and architectural form of expression in Brussels around 1893: its identity, its contradictions and how it differed from the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain.
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 : Art and Money. Round table discussion chaired by Amid Faljaoui, director of the economic magazine Trends Tendance and Guy van Wassenhove, curator of the Baillet Latour Fund.
The panel will present the financial aspects of the art world by addressing new technologies such as the Web or NFTs, the internationalisation of the market, the contemporary boom, wealth management, tax, expertise, insurance and claims, public heritage and museum management.
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023: The King Baudouin Foundation’s Art Nouveau collection, by Werner Adriaenssens, Curator of 20th–Century Collections, Museum of Art & History, Brussels
In the space of 20 years, the King Baudouin Foundation has built up an important collection of Belgian Art Nouveau masterpieces. Each artwork has a fascinating history that
will be explained in the historical context.
This talk will be followed by: Why heritage protection is a public/private story, by Sabine Taevernier, vice–president of Topstukkenraad Vlaanderen. In order to better understand the functioning of ‘Topstukkenraad’ and to eliminate any misunderstandings regarding the protection of movable cultural heritage, the board responsible for the classification of exceptional movable property will explain its operations in a brief presentation.
Friday, February 3rd, 2023: Creativity in leadership, presented by Miluska van t’Lam, editor–in–chief of Harper’s Bazaar (NL) in conversation with Carmen Willems, Director– General of the Musée Royal des Beaux–Arts d’Anvers (KMSKA) and Christiane Struyven, art historian and lawyer Miluska van’t Lam, the editor–in–chief of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, will speak with two women entrepreneurs from the art world about how to connect art and entrepreneurship to develop a project, brand or business.
Saturday, February 4th, 2023: Diamonds: time for clarity, by Eric Hemeleers, Chief Executive Officer at Eeckman Art & Insurance, in conversation with Cédric van den Abeele, Partner & Key Account Manager at Anglo Belge and Ellen Joncheere, Chief Executive Officer at HRD Antwerp (Antwerp Diamond High Council).
In this talk, Eric Hemeleers, together with Ellen Joncheere and Cedric van den Abeele, will identify all the risks and facets of the diamond business.
Sunday, February 5th, 2023: Building a digital collection: risks and opportunities for the collector, by François Toussaint, CEO ARTTS with Sari Depreeuw, IP lawyer and partner in Crowell & Moring’s Brussels office and Elie Auvray, co–founder of the logion blockchain network.
Following in the footsteps of ‘La dame au Pantin,’ a major work by Félicien Rops, François Toussaint, Sari Depreeuw and Elie Auvray will propose an educational discovery of the potential of NFTs in the creation of a digital collection.
BRAFA (BRUSSELS) 2023 – 68th Edition
January 29th to February 5th, 2023,
Brussels Expo – Brussels. Belgium