BRAFA 2024: Global art excellence

BRAFA 2024
© Olivier Pirard

132 galleries, from old masters to contemporary icons.

BRAFA 2024, of which Excellence Magazine is again media partner, is taking place from Sunday, January 28th to Sunday, February 4th in Brussels Expo’s Halls 3 and 4, features 132 leading galleries from a wide variety of fields, who are presenting their perfectly finished stands and big names from the history of art.

Nicolás Cortés Gallery - Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of a Noblewoman and a Child, 1604-1614
Nicolás Cortés Gallery – Lavinia Fontana, Portrait of a Noblewoman and a Child, 1604-1614

Amongst the 20 new exhibitors, more than half specialise in Old Masters (paintings, sculptures and art objects), such as Nicolás Cortés Gallery (Madrid-Stand 89), which is exhibiting two portraits by Lavinia Fontana (Italy, 1552-1614), the daughter of Prospero Fontana, a Mannerist painter who was recognised as one of the leading artists of her time. Romigioli Antichità (Legnano-Stand 46), specialising in the Haute Epoque, is presenting a pair of Carrara marble cherubs by Giovanni Baratta (Italy, 1670-1747) dating from 1699, a fragment of a lost altar from the church of Santa Trinita in Florence. Zebregs&Röell Fine Art and Antiques (Amsterdam-Stand 110) is displaying a piece of inlaid furniture, exceptional for its size and workmanship by Jan van Mekeren (Netherlands, 1658-1733 Amsterdam), who was considered to be the most important cabinetmaker in Amsterdam in the late seventeenth century. The gallery is also showcasing a large Japanese Nambam lacquer chest for the Portuguese market, Kyoto, Moyoyama period, late sixteenth century, made of black-lacquered Hinoki cypress, decorated with gold lacquer, inlaid with mother-of-pearl and gilded copper mounts.

Costermans & Pelgrims de Bigard - Pair of Louis XVI Period Candelabra attributed to the Bronzier François Rémond, circa 1780
Costermans & Pelgrims de Bigard – Pair of Louis XVI Period Candelabra attributed to the Bronzier François Rémond, circa 1780

These newcomers are joined by BRAFA regulars such as Costermans & Pelgrims de Bigard (Brussels-Stand 17) which is presenting a pair of Louis XVI-period candelabra attributed to the bronzesmith François Rémond (France 1747-1812), probably produced under the supervision of Dominique Daguerre, circa 1780. Daguerre supplied two pairs of this model in the 1790s to the Prince of Wales (later George IV) for his London residence, Carlton House (Royal Collection 2695).

Galerie Florence de Voldère (Paris-Stand 25), is showcasing a work entitled The Adoration of the Magi by Cornélis van Cleve (Belgium, 1520-1567), the son and pupil of the great Antwerp Master, Joos van Cleve (Belgium, 1485-1541) and Floris van Wanroij Fine Art (Dommelen-Stand 18), who is displaying two museum-quality sculptures, La Vierge et l’Enfant sur le croissant de lune, late fifteenth century, and La vierge et l’enfant, early sixteenth century, made in Malines. Klaas Muller (Brussels-Stand 4) is exhibiting a major Baroque work by Willeboirts Bosschaert (Netherlands, 1613-1654), Amor Triumphans, dating from around 1640-1645.

Galerie Kevorkian – © Olivier Pirard
Galerie Kevorkian – © Olivier Pirard

On the non-European arts side, Galerie Kevorkian (Paris-Stand 34) is exhibiting a rhyton, a terracotta vase with moulded, modelled and turned decoration under a turquoise glaze, Iran, late Parthian – early Sassanid period, second-third century A.D. This type of vessel was used in both religious and secular ceremonies, as well as in investiture rituals and those pertaining to the transfer of royal power.
Also, not to be missed on the Dalton Somaré stand (Milan-Stand 7) is a rare zoomorphic figure by the Tellem Dogon people, Mali, 1309-1424 AD, which served as an altar for sacrifices. Montagut Gallery (Barcelona-Stand 103) is presenting an unusually large (60 cm) and highly refined Baule statue, Côte d’Ivoire, nineteenth century, a masterpiece of exceptional quality from this culture. Claes Gallery (Brussels-Stand 35) is exhibiting an elegant Yaure mask, Côte d’Ivoire, late nineteenth – early twentieth century. This mask sits atop a unique Balanced hanging furniture by Jean Prouvé from 1946, made of wood, folded sheet steel and aluminium (330 x 800 x 69 cm).

On the stand of Bertrand de Lavergne (Paris-Stand 5), visitors are able to discover a group of porcelains from the Qing dynasty (1644-1912), including a blue-white porcelain serving dish known as a “kraakporselein” with a lively landscape decoration, China, seventeenth century, circa 1620-1630. Diameter: 46.5 cm. Thomas Deprez Fine Arts (Brussels-Stand 117), which specialises in Belgian Fin-de-Siècle art, is presenting a monumental triptych by Emile Fabry (Belgium, 1865-1966): Le péché originel, Les Déesses de la Vie and Prométhée & Pygmalion, circa 1896, reunited for the first time by the same owner after several decades.

Helene Bailly Gallery - Ossip Zadkine, Tête d'homme, 1928
Helene Bailly Gallery – Ossip Zadkine, Tête d’homme, 1928

In modern sculpture, Galerie Nicolas Bourriaud (Paris-Stand 61) is exhibiting Femme assise les mains dans le dos by Robert Couturier (France, 1905-2008), which was cast in bronze around 1991. Only three examples were cast during the artist’s lifetime. On the stand of Helene Bailly Gallery (Paris-Stand 88), a very rare Tête d’homme by Ossip Zadkine, made by the artist himself in Ceylon wood (Belarus, 1888-1967, France) in 1928, dazzles visitors with its modernity.

Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke (Brussels-Stand 32) is unveiling a unique collection of twelve sculptures, washes and watercolours by Rik Wouters (Belgium, 1882-1916, the Netherlands), as well as a large oil painting by Keith Haring (USA, 1958-1990) in collaboration with his friend LA (Angel Ortiz). Galerie Berès (Paris-Stand 66) is presenting a fine reversible oil on canvas by Simon Hantaï (Hungary, 1922-2008, France), Untitled, circa 1969-1973, monogrammed and dated on both sides, while the Galerie A&R Fleury (Paris-Stand 45) is exhibiting a work by Sam Francis (USA, 1923-1994), Untitled SF75-601, 1975. One must-see at BRAFA 2024 is undoubtedly a work by Jean-Michel Basquiat (USA, 1960-1988) entitled Blue Skies, dating from 1985, that is featured on the stand of Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery (Luxembourg-Stand 126).

Axel Vervoordt – © Jan Liégeois
Axel Vervoordt – © Jan Liégeois

In terms of design, a side table by Carlo Bugatti (Italy, 1856-1940) in parchment with a polychrome decoration of dragonflies, enhanced by gilding and stamped copper with a rectangular top (39 x 44 x 44 cm), circa 1902, on the stand of the Galerie Mathivet (Paris-Stand 3). This piece is remarkable for its polychrome and brass work, an allusion to a romanticised Orient. On the stand of Gokelaere & Robinson (Knokke/Paris-Stand 37), one of the centrepieces is a 1959 Guanabara table in rosewood, concrete and leather (74 x 452 x 132 cm) by Jorge Zalszupin (Brazil, 1922-2020). Originally designed for a conference room, it is a perfect blend of monumentality and lightness, combined with the quality of Brazilian woods. Brazilian design can also be found on the stand of Axel Vervoordt (Antwerp-Stand 129) with the work of Joaquim Tenreiro (Portugal, 1906-1992, Brazil).

In contemporary art, the Bernier/Eliades Gallery (Athens, Brussels-Stand 11) is exhibiting works (painting, sculpture, installation, collage, video) by the internationally renowned Belgian artist Martin Margiela, who has been delighting the world of fashion for over 20 years. On the same stand there is a work by Cameron Jamie (USA, 1969) entitled Fuzz’s Second Dream, 2023, as well as two of his sculptures.

Pauline’s Jewellery Box - An Edwardian by Kreuter, 1911
Pauline’s Jewellery Box – An Edwardian by Kreuter, 1911

Amongst other things, Pauline’s Jewellery Box (Brussels-Stand 62) is presenting a Kreuter tiara made of unheated Ceylon sapphires with a platinum and diamond setting, fully preserved and dating from 1911. Another must-see is a necklace of emeralds, sapphires, gold and silver by Mario Buccellati (Italy 1891-1965), 1930, on the stand of Barbara Bassi (Cremona-Stand 55).

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