the right combination of culture and market

At the new headquarters of the Brussels Expo, the fair confirms the eclecticism that characterizes it: Melotti and 16th-century sculptures, Luce Balla and African art


True to his characteristic figure, that is, eclecticism, Brafa again this year manages to combine the many eras and genres represented by playing the cards of elegance. The airy premises of the Brussels Expo, the new venue for the event, welcomed guests to the first two days of the premiere, June 17 and 18, with a successful set-up (the fair remains open to the public until June 26).

A mixture of sophistication, where everything was in the right place: from the arrangement of the stands to the flowers on the immaculate tables, ready to host the gala dinner that the exhibitors offered, to the pastel-colored rug that repeated the colors of the organic-shaped works by Arne Quinze, Belgian artist-guest of honor at this edition of the event.

Although not a museum work, attention is drawn to the work sought after by connoisseurs: from oriental archeology to Josef Frank’s modernist furniture, from the portrait of Dora Maar by Picasso exhibited by Jean-François Cazeau (Paris) to the painting by Georges Roualt as is the front page of the third catalog raisonné on the artist from Taménaga (Paris, Japan).

Audiences of collectors from Friday night started pouring in and on Saturday there were already a few red stickers next to the work. Sold by Chiale fine art (Racconigi, Paris, Brussels) a “Saint George killing the Dragon”, a wooden sculpture painted in gold and silver from the end of the 16th century from the collection of Baron de Rothschild and a tree “Saint Sebastian “by the German master” THE. Els “, made towards the middle of the 17th century.Vase (ca. 1960) by Fausto Melotti (Repetto Gallery, London)The space in the Repetto Gallery (London) is eclectic, ranging from a small still life with lemons of Braque, oil on canvas from 1939 with an estimated 90 thousand («Brafa is the right fair to bring such a name, comments Carlo Repetto), but Fausto Melotti is also present, a blue vase from 1960 was sold for around 45,000 euros, and a mixed media buyer was also found for Christos’ “Umbrellas” project in 1988 for 100,000 and a Georges Mathieus map of ’57 at 12 thousand.

Cortesi Gallery (Milan and London) acknowledges the presence of a cultured and curious audience, where a pop painting by Valerio Adami stands out, “Interior with figure and armchairof 1968-69 (request of 170 thousand) next to one of the first grids of the 1950s by Dorazio (350-400 thousand). The golden age of Flemish painting could not be missed, well represented by De Jonckheere (Geneva), who exhibits some works by Peter Brueghel the Younger and puts them in dialogue with a large surrealist canvas by Paul Delvaux, “The Tempest” from 1962, (value around 2 million).

C.there was immediate interest in “Lgolden age (the price is 250 thousand, Oath), rare painting with a laid-back subject by Benedetto Luti, a great Roman artist of the eighteenth century who taught French painters who arrived in the capital», Confirms Marco Fabio Apolloni from the W. Apolloni Gallery & Galleria del Laocoonte (Rome, London), where a delicate portrait of Luce Balla stands out in the twentieth century, pastel painted by his father (less than 30,000 quotes).

Traditionally, the African art section stands strong at the fair with the Didier Claes Gallery (Brussels) in the lead role with a number of “fetish” Nkisi statues from Congo (prices from 80-100,000 up to 300,000 for the largest), but also Dalton Somaré (Milan) , which after the preview and on the first day had already sold four works including a guardian figure from the first half of the 19th century of Kota in Gabon for a number of about 70 thousand.Guardian figure from the first half of the nineteenth century of Kota in Gabon for a number of about 70 thousand (Dalton Somaré, Milan)The charm of precious and semi-precious stones is combined with the creative design of the materials in the vintage jewels presented by Barbara Bassi (Cremona) such as a 1950s Mario Buccellati necklace in gold and turquoise designed for the American market. The stand also features the artist’s jewels produced by Marina Ruggieri, genuine portable sculptures by authors such as Melotti, Rotella, Arman, Yoko Ono, which for editions of 8 pieces range from 5 to 50,000 euros, depending on the prices of the artists and materials used.

Designer jewels also from the Collectors Gallery (Brussels) for the first time in Brafa, which immediately sold the ring “Lampi e tuoni” designed by Ettore Sottsass for 22,000 euros and for 28,000 a necklace in yellow gold, diamonds, pearls and opal by the Belgian Claude Wesel, a unique piece from around 1960 with abstract and vague biomorphic lines.

Great interest in a door with “holes” designed by Lucio Fontana at the Robertaebasta Gallery (Milan, London), whose stand filled with works combines a bust of Francesco Messina with a 1930s closet by Jules Leleu, Fornasetti screens with armchairs by Ico Parisi, a chandelier by Angelo Lelli for Arredoluce with two chandeliers in lacquered metal and spherical glass by Gae Aulenti for Artemide (12 and 18 thousand).

A mixture of antique and modern then separates the Brown Fine Arts rooms (Milan, London, Florence), where a brilliant and geometric Léger from 1953 (1.1 million euros) from an Italian private collection is proposed along with a series of Fontana majolica from 1950 ‘ 1960s (from 130 to 180 thousand euros) and a Louis XV chest of drawers by Jacques Philippe Carel.

Finally, some semi-precious stone plates and an Apulian vase from the 3rd century BC. sold from Cavagnis Lacerenza (Milan) the first day. C., although the exhibited exhibit is a terracotta from around 1710, «Bacchus and Ariadne», attributed to the Florentine Giuseppe Piamontini (the request is around 50,000 euros).

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