BRAFA, which has now moved to Brussels Expo on the Heysel plateau, is an essential place for exchanges in Europe and continues to attract collectors, art lovers and curious visitors. These eight days have allowed everyone to come together and admire the finest works of 115 galleries from 15 different countries.
Only a fair can offer this kind of experience: the pleasure of direct contact with the works, the discussions with the exhibitors, the mixture of styles and eras, the sense of discovery.
BRAFA is the proof of this. Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke, the Chairman of BRAFA, explained:
We felt a great enthusiasm on behalf of collectors and exhibitors, who were happy to see each other again at BRAFA. In addition to their loyal customers, the galleries were able to meet new Belgian and foreign collectors. This 67th edition was marked by many changes, including the move to Brussels Expo, and we are convinced that this is the beginning of a very favourable development
Beatrix Bourdon, the Managing Director of BRAFA, is delighted that BRAFA found its mark at Brussels Expo:
As soon as they arrived in the aisles of the fair, visitors reconnected with the elegant and friendly atmosphere to which BRAFA had accustomed them. The move to Brussels Expo has been a success. Both visitors and exhibitors appreciated the new space and for us, that is extremely positive
Noteworthy sales from the 67th edition of BRAFA:
Costermans & Pelgrims de Bigard (Belgium) found a buyer for a large-scale painting (107 x 181 cm) entitled Un faucon, des perroquets et d’autres oiseaux by the baroque Flemish painter Paul de Vos (1595-1678).
Klaas Muller (Belgium), specialised in paintings, drawings and sculptures from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, sold a dozen works including a drawing by the Flemish artist Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), a preparatory study of a woman for a work which is currently exhibited at the Louvre.
A new participant, the Italian gallery Giammarco Cappuzzo Fine Art, based in London, sold an important Caravaggesque-type work: David avec la tête de Goliath by Elisabetta Sirani (1610-1670), circa 1655-1660. Despite the sustained interest of two Museums, the painting eventually went to a private collector.
The Galerie Theunissen & de Ghellinck (Belgium), specialised in French furniture and art objects from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, sold its chest of drawers (known as the “tomb”) by Etienne Doirat (Paris, 1675-1732), veneer and amaranth frieze, richly decorated with gilded and engraved bronze and topped with royal red marble. Six chairs signed George Jacob (Paris, 1739- 1814), as well as a mahogany and mahogany veneer table, stamped Mauter, France, Louis XVI era, were chosen by a couple of American collectors at the stand of the Galerie Berger (France).
Gallery Desmet (Belgium) sold various sculptures including an eighteenth-century bronze, representing the Laocoon, a Roman torso of an ephebe in white marble from the 1st-2nd centuries A.D., and a white marble bust of the Roman emperor Nerva.
The Xavier Eeckhout gallery (France) sold its main piece, an alligator by Sirio Tofanari, a very beautiful variant (with an open mouth) of a crocodile fountain, namely the Fontana del Tettuccio de Montecatini Terme in Tuscany. The gallery also sold several animal sculptures including a Pigeon à queue plate in white marble, 1925, signed Jan and Joël Martel, and an Anôn d’Afrique, in bronze, by Armand Petersen, for amounts varying between €45,000 and €60,000.
A newcomer this year, the Galerie Kevorkian (France), specialised in the archaeology of the ancient East and the arts of Islam, sold approximately twenty pieces: Persian miniatures, Islamic ceramics and bronzes from Luristan, including the standard of the winged ibex from the early 1st millennium B.C. Corinne Kevorkian said that she was delighted with this first participation and with having met new customers who discovered her speciality. The Günter Puhze GmbH Gallery (Germany) made several sales, including that of an elegant Egyptian sarcophagus mask, New Empire, 19th dynasty, circa 1292-1190 B.C.
In terms of tribal art, Didier Claes (Belgium) sold an imposing nkisi Songye figure from the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of his exhibition devoted to nkisi “force-object” sculptures. Montagut Gallery (Spain) considers this 67th edition to have been the best vintage it has ever known. The gallery owner sold about thirty pieces of tribal art, mainly to new Belgian, French, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish and American collectors, in addition to his usual clients. Serge Schoffel – Art Premier (Belgium) sold its entire collection of bullroarers from the Gulf of Papua to a single collector for more than €50,000. Dalton Somaré (Italy) sold six pieces including its centre-pieces; a Gouro mask with a figure, Côte d’Ivoire, and a kota reliquary from Gabon.
The Galerie Hioco (France), specialised in Asian art, sold a dozen pieces including a lion-headed capital, in red sandstone, India, Mathura period of Kushan, second century, for approximately €60,000 and a bronze arhat, Thailand, sixteenth-seventeenth century, Kingdom of Ayutthaya (1350- 1767), for approximately €25,000.
The Galerie Bertrand de Lavergne (France), specialised in Chinese porcelain and art objects from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, made many sales including, from amongst its flagship works, a statuette in green, yellow and aubergine enamel biscuit representing a Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy, seated in a position of royal relaxation, on a rectangular base.
The Galerie Grand-Rue Marie-Laure Rondeau (Switzerland), specialised in watercolours, gouaches, engravings and drawings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, registered more than a dozen sales including gouaches such as Scène napolitaine, signed by Saverio della Gatta (circa 1777- 1827), 1780, Un paysage de montagnes by Gustave Doré and Eruz del 1813/ Eruz. 26 Ferbrajo 1822 by Camillo de Vito (circa 1790-1835).
The Galerie Oscar De Vos, located in Sint-Martens-Latem, the cradle of the Belgian Impressionists and Symbolists, made several sales including two landscapes: Tempelhoeve en été by Maurice Sys, circa 1910, and Enfants jouent à la ferme by César de Cock, 1864. In addition to having sold four sculptures by Dodeigne, Francis Maere Fine Arts (Belgium) sold a piece by Henri Evenepoel, Charles au grand chapeau, 1898 for approximately €600,000.
The Parisian gallery, Helene Bailly Gallery, sold a 1966 Picasso drawing, two pieces by Hans Hartung from 1967 and 1973, as well as a 1951 work on paper by Kees Van Dongen and a turtle by François-Xavier Lalanne for amounts ranging from €80,000 to €350,000.
Alexandre Fleury from the French gallery A&R Fleury, specialised in modern painting and sculpture, was satisfied with this 67th edition: “In 15 years of participation, we have never met a collector like the one we met this year. We sold important works for prices ranging from €200,000 to €500,000 to collectors who appreciated our contribution to BRAFA 2022.”
The Galerie Ary Jan, located in Paris, found a buyer for its delicate white marble sculpture, Prière pour la paix, by the Belgian artist Victor Rousseau (1865-1954), 1938.
Repetto Gallery, from London, sold a dozen pieces, including a large work by Christo, Surrounded Islands (Project for Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida), 1981.
Victor Werner (Belgium) sold the beautiful Art Deco desk by the French designer, decorator and interior designer Jules Leleu, an example made in 1922 for the Palais Galliera. Other sales by the Antwerp gallery included the classical painting La Guenon, le Singe et la Noix-Fable by Florian Lucien Laurent-Gsell (1860-1944), France, circa 1900, to a collector of contemporary art.
Maison Rapin (France), specialised in twentieth century decorative arts and contemporary creations, sold its flagship piece: an oval bone marquetry table on three tripod legs in black lacquered steel by Etienne Allemeersch, 1970-1980, and an Octopus stool by the artist Kam Tin, a creator of furniture-jewellery, as well as a piece of furniture with applied amber cabochons for approximately €140,000.
Robertaebasta, a gallery based in Milan and London, specialised in twentieth century decorative arts and design, sold several pieces of Italian design including a ‘Proust’ armchair from 1972, with pointillist motifs by the Italian architect and designer Alessandro Mendini, and a mirror with a decorative brass frame and a metal structure by Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007). Also sold were two armchairs by Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967), in teak and woven straw, Switzerland, 1958.
Samuel Vanhoegaerden Gallery, located in Knokke, presented a stand devoted to the logogrammes of the Belgian artist Christian Dotremont, one of the founders of the COBRA group, and made about thirty sales ranging from €10,000 to €100,000.
In contemporary art, Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery (Luxembourg/Dubai), a new participant at BRAFA, sold a diptych by the American artist, Summer Wheat, Movie Star Yellow and Movie Star Night, 2021. La Patinoire Royale I Galerie Valérie Bach sold the four panels by Jean Rets, on the front of their stand, as well as the coveted painting by Carlos Cruz Diez, Physichromie, 1909. The gallery made several other sales, including the frog by Joana Vasconcelos and works by Francis Dusepulchre. Maruani Mercier (Belgium) sold more than a dozen paintings by Arne Quinze, BRAFA’s guest of honour, whose price range varies between €50,000 and €125,000.
Francis Janssens van der Maelen (Belgium) sold both art objects and Art Deco silverware, in which they specialise, as well as sculptures. Many pieces by the Wolfers dynasty, all generations combined, were featured on its stand and were acquired by new customers: amongst others a bronze sculpture, Danaïade, 1926 by Philippe Wolfers, and a deep blue ceramic statue, Isis, by Marcel Wolfers for approximately €45,000. We also note the sale of an older piece: an octagonal tea box, in serpentine and gilt silver, by Maître Paul Solanier, Augsburg, Germany, 1680-1700.
The Collectors Gallery, located in Brussels, whose stand was designed by the Belgian architect Glenn Sestig, featured jewellery from artists such as Pol Bury, Takis, Lin Vautrin, Louise Nevelson, Ettore Sottsass, as well as pieces by former students of the Ecole des métiers d’art de Maredsous, including the most accomplished, Claude Wesel, and artists’ objects such as candelabras by the sculptor Sophia Vari. A success for the gallery, which sold about forty pieces.
The next edition of BRAFA
For its 68th edition, BRAFA will return to its usual January dates and will be held from Sunday 29th of January to Sunday 5th of February, 2023, at Brussels Expo at the Heysel.