TEFAF Maastricht 2024 Highlights: Artists. Part 1

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TEFAF Maastricht 2024 Highlights

TEFAF Maastricht, the renowned annual March fair organized by the European Fine Art Foundation, has long been hailed as the traditional herald of the spring fair season. Drawing in around 70,000 visitors each year, according to TEFAF data, it was a celebrated event.

Artemisia Gentileschi
The recently rediscovered Penitent Magdalene
(around 1626) by the artist is one of the standout attractions of this year’s fair. Depicted in three-quarter view, her head resting on her left elbow, poised on a red velvet pillow, the beautiful Magdalene, depicted by Artemisia, meditates melancholically upon her past.

Her right hand caresses a brown-coloured skull, a painterly choice that dilutes the macabre force of the iconographic detail, as it blends with the painting’s setting to the point of rendering it an almost decorative object. The saint, cloaked in sumptuous robes, voluptuously uncovers her generous décolletage and is furthermore adorned with gold bracelets on one wrist and pearl earrings, both emblems of her past as a courtesan.

Ivan Aivazovsky
This depiction of the Golden Horn in Istanbul by moonlight by Ivan Aivazovsky is an important addition to the artist's œuvre. His position as the tsar's official marine painter meant that Aivazovsky repeatedly visited port cities and took part in expeditions and political missions.

Thus, an expedition in 1845 took him to Istanbul for the first time. Istanbul was an obvious destination and motif for the important marine painter, and the metropolis with its waters impressed Aivazovsky immediately; already in the year of his first stay, he painted a series of views of Istanbul.

Edgar Degas
One of the series of studies of dancers in traditional Ukrainian folk dress was undertaken by Degas in 1899. The costumes, drawn in multiple touches of high-keyed colour, are reminiscent of those worn by performers at Ukrainian weddings at the turn of the twentieth century.

Like a master choreographer, Degas deftly orchestrates the rhythms and movements of these spirited dancers. Many of the artworks from these series, kept in world museums (including the National Gallery, the MET and others) have been renamed, rightfully appropriating the Ukrainian origin of the dancers.

Wassily KandinskyThe painting is notable for its colourful depiction which is central to Kandinsky's artistic philosophy, in which he believed that each colour had its own unique spiritual and emotional qualities and that the careful use of colour could create a powerful impact on the viewer.
The fate of this painting has finally been settled after a long and eventful journey through some of the most historical events in history. The original owners of the painting were slain and their spectacular collection was ransacked by the Nazi forces in the 1930s. After many legal battles, the masterpiece was eventually restituted to them through their 13 descendants. “Murnau mit Kirche II” was rediscovered 10 years ago after hanging from the walls of Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven since 1951.
However, even after being reunited with the descendants of the previous owners, the painting would be sold to fund the search for more of the family’s long-lost art collection that was seized by the Nazis.

Pablo Picasso “Femme dans un fauteuil (Françoise)” or “Woman On Rocking Chair” by Pablo Picasso was painted between 29 December 1948 and 1 January 1949, bridging the old year out and the new in. Depicted in the painting is Picasso’s lover and companion Françoise Gilot, who was transformed into a baroque fantasia of twisting, circling, enveloping, organic forms.

Jean DubuffetThis epoxy resin sculpture, coated with polyurethane paint, embodies a chair where conventional right angles give way to curves. Immediately recognizable on its surface, the famous Hourloupe motif, a major cycle of work for the artist, unfolds. Sinuous black lines on a white background disrupt the perception of the sculpted volume.
The origin of this motif dates to 1962, when, distracted on the telephone, the artist let his ballpoint pen run across the paper almost instinctively. This chair marks the first step in Dubuffet’s long exploration of volume. This transition to volume began in 1966, intensifying the tension between illusion and reality already present in his work.
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