January is Brafa month! With the regularity of a fine watch-making mechanism, the doyenne of generalist fairs returns mid-winter with the aim of combining the best of the art on offer in Brussels. The 133 Belgian and international galleries gathered on the site of Tour & Taxis from 26 January to 2 February compete with a thousand temptations to warm the hearts of all art lovers and to arouse the keen interest of the most discerning collectors. The beautiful, the rare and the exceptional blend harmoniously, eliciting cravings, passion or impulse purchases, while paying tribute to creativity from the earliest times to the present day.
Whether you are a fan of the bas-reliefs of Ancient Egypt, the Roman marbles, mediaeval Virgins, 18th- century dressers, paintings by Flemish Masters, animal or modernist bronzes, Art Deco or Art Nouveau silverware, Wolfers jewellery, paintings by Belgian artists from the Laethem School, precious porcelain and archaic bronzes from China, Meissen or Tournai china, African and Oceanic masks, unusual objects from a cabinet of curiosities, stylish furniture, drawings and engravings and works by the greatest contemporary designers … one thing is clear: you have to go to Brafa to see all these treasures, and many more!
And rather than discovering all these marvels in isolation, or grouped together, Brafa offers to mix them up harmoniously, creating unexpected connections and dialogue between the thousands of works it brings together. From this proximity will emerge a new reading, a new look based on designs, the styles, origins, paths, materials, colours, artists and meanings of which seem to have nothing in common. Current taste is instead moving towards diversity, eclecticism, the abolition of borders and groups made up of scattered items and here, the choice of gender balance advocated by Brafa over many years is entirely contemporary.
“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.
Brussels Fine Art Fair (BRAFA) will welcome Gilbert & George as Guest of Honour of its upcoming edition at Tour & Taxis in Brussels, 26 January – 3 February 2019.
In the half century that they have lived and created art together as Living Sculptures, embarked on a visionary journey through the modern world, always together and always alone, Gilbert & George have created fiercely singular Anti-Art that is poetic, primal and emotionally driven.
At BRAFA 2019, they will present five large-scale pictures that will be placed at various spots throughout the fair. Personally selected by Gilbert & George, there are from the recent series ‘JACK FREAK PICTURES’ (2008), ‘LONDON PICTURES’ (2010), ‘SCAPEGOATING PICTURES’ (2013) and ‘BEARD PICTURES’ (2016). Their quirky vision of the world is sure to be a hit in the land of surrealism!
With the support of Galerie Albert Baronian.
At Christie’s London on July 5 the portrait of Peter Paul Rubens daughter Clara will be exposed for the final sale while it’s being valued between $4 million and $6.8 million.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (USA) set the painting for auction five years ago, for estimated $20,000–$30,000, while the acclaimed institution had no idea as to the scale of its error. The painting then wasn’t attributed to the genius of Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), but considered to be from a disciple imitating his style. However the portrait was completed by Rubens himself, depicting the artist’s 12-year-old daughter, finished just before her untimely death from the plague.
There is legend about another portrait by Rubens, depicting a blond lady, which is considered to be fantasy of the artist, haunted by his passed away daughter Clara. The father imagined how his daughter would look like if survived the plague. However this one is not for sale, but exposed permanently in Hermitage Museum of Saint-Petersburg.
Portrait of a Lady-in-Waiting to the Infanta Isabella or the Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, Daughter of the Painter (?), Hermitage, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
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.
BRAFA 2017 pays homage to an artist who is a major influence behind contemporary art, Julio Le Parc. Born in 1928, a pioneer of Op Art and Kinetic Art, a founder member of G.R.A.V. (Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel), winner of the international Grand Prize in Painting at the Venice 1966 Biennale, Julio Le Parc is a forthright, committed artist. His abundant work, in its many forms, imbued with a spirit of research and experimentation, explores the visual field, movement, light, and the relationship between the work and the viewer.
“We want to interest spectators, release them from their inhibitions, make them relax. We want to get them to participate. We want to put them in a situation which they themselves initiate and transform. We want them to be oriented towards interaction with other spectators. We want to develop a great capacity for perception and action in the spectator.” – Julio Le Parc.