On 1 October 2020, the members of the not-for-profit organisation the Foire des Antiquaires de Belgique (organiser of the BRAFA Art Fair) held an Extraordinary General Meeting during which they decided to postpone the 66th edition of BRAFA to January 2022.
The uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic in Europe is the main reason for the postponement.
BRAFA, which is traditionally the first top international fine art fair of the year, showcases 130 exhibitors on average, of which two thirds come from abroad. Last year, the fair welcomed a record number of 68,000 visitors, collectors and professionals, including a significant number from neighbouring countries. The current health situation and its potential evolution this autumn and winter have caused serious concerns. New restrictions on intra-European travel and the safety measures imposed by the authorities have only added to our fears.
‘This was obviously a tremendously difficult decision. Our priority was to avoid any unnecessary risks for our visitors and exhibitors. We therefore took the time to consult representatives of local authorities, scientists, organisers of other major public events and, last but not least, our exhibitors and partners. While there was plenty of enthusiasm for the event – almost all exhibitors had confirmed their attendance – the risk of a forced cancellation just a few weeks prior to the opening was equally real.
Organising an event like BRAFA takes several months of preparation. It also means working with many different stakeholders. Making this decision now seemed the most reasonable path open to us. I would like to thank all our exhibitors, our partners and in particular our main sponsor Delen Private Bank for their understanding and support’, said Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke, the President of BRAFA.
Everyone is now focusing on BRAFA 2022, which will take place from 23 – 30 January 2022.
“Art Without Frontiers” – because never before has Brafa hosted so many foreign galleries. Numbering 84, these now represent 63% of the total number of exhibitors.
And this is to be applauded, as it confirms both the stability of the national market, where the myth of the Belgian collector is clearly still seductive, and the increased international power of the Fair, which grows with every edition.
This is an ideal start to the year, when the geographic position of Brussels at the centre of some of Europe’s wealthiest regions and its great connectivity with them, the quality of the Brussels hotels and the organisation of the Fair, as well as the relaxed Belgian style atmosphere of the event are probably all criteria which contribute to its attraction.
“Art Without Frontiers” – because Brafa has always aimed for a mix of styles, eras, and origins, and has made eclecticism and cross-collecting its real trademark.
This trend is particularly popular with today’s collectors and art lovers, who like to put together collections where old, modern, and contemporary live side by side; where an antique bust may be happy sitting cheek by jowl with an African mask or a 20th Century sculpture, showcased on an 18th Century chest of drawers under a designer mirror or framed masterpiece.
This is a reflection of our contemporary era, where we exchange, consume, buy, sell and travel well beyond our own frontiers and continents.
Brafa 2018 will open its doors on Saturday 27 January, inviting visitors to discover a panoply of works of art which include a recently re-discovered masterpiece by Peter-Paul Rubens!
The painting, entitled ‘Diana and Nymphs Hunting Deer’, was known from photographs, but no-one was sure of its exact location until the artwork suddenly appeared in 2015 at an auction in Paris. Extensive analysis was of course immediately undertaken to prove it to be an authentic work by Rubens (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp).
According to the expert Arnout Balis, Rubens painted the figures himself, but called on two specialised artists to contribute to the other components of the large-scale painting (155 x 199 cm): Paul de Vos (an animal painter) and Jan Wildens (a landscape painter). Dating from between 1635 and 1640, the painting is a typical example of Rubens’ work during this period, for it is lyrical, with a light pictorial touch and a predominantly pale palette.
The artwork was most probably commissioned by Gian Francesco Guido di Bagno, the papal nuncio in the Netherlands, forming a pair with the ‘Caledonian Boar Hunt’ painted by Rubens and Frans Snyders which has since disappeared. Hunting scenes like this were highly prestigious possessions, and were usually displayed in hunting pavilions.