The Pursuit of Cultural Stewardship: TEFAF Maastricht 2024

Aditi Bhaskar | March 9, 2024 | Art

One of the most renowned art institutions in Europe, The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF), is presenting its next international exhibition, TEFAF Maastricht 2024, from March 9th to 14th. Since its inception in the mid-1970s, the fair has evolved into a premier platform for international dealers to showcase the finest museum-quality antiques and artworks, spanning various genres and eras, to a global audience of collectors and connoisseurs.

TEFAF’s predecessors- Pictura, for paintings, and De Antiquairs International, for antiques, were born out of the needs of the Dutch market at the time, to have a closer relation between the collector and the art trade, while serving the visitors and collectors a glimpse of the best art in the market. A merger of the two reputed organizations in 1985 was followed by the first TEFAF fair in 1988. Maastricht, being the southernmost region of The Netherlands, was chosen as the ideal location between European cultural centers- Paris, Cologne, Brussels and London.

Jacob Stodel and HRH Prince Bernhard at Antiquairs International, 1982

Known to be an art fair run ‘by dealers, for dealers’, each year, the fair brings together 260 galleries from twenty countries, presenting an extensive array of artworks spanning centuries, styles, and mediums. Imagine Impressionist paintings, Neoclassical statues, Chinese ceramics, Art Nouveau designs, Renaissance and Gothic sculptures all under one roof!

From the days of Pictura and De Antiquairs International to the present, the organizers have considered quality the strength of the art trade. The fair’s dedication to rigorous vetting (the process that aims to authenticate arts and antiques) ensures every artwork on display meets the highest standards of legitimacy and provenance, instilling confidence in collectors and enthusiasts alike.

With a range of artworks dating back from circa 1279 BC all the way to 2024, their monetary value oscillates anywhere between €50,000 to a ‘few’ million dollars. Take one of the most influential female artists of the 17th century, Artemisia Gentileschi’s painting, for example. Titled ‘The Penitent Magdalene’, it is estimated to cost above a million dollars. For the first time in centuries, the piece will be presented in Europe, having been rediscovered only in 2021, hidden in a private collection. It has been confirmed as a creation of Artemisia Gentileschi herself after undergoing significant scientific research.

Roman marble lion skin, Antonine period, 2nd century A.D.
Exhibited by Plektron Fine Arts

Beyond the art and antique displays, TEFAF Maastricht will feature various programs designed to engage and educate attendees. From Collector Talks that will explore the motivations behind collecting to the inaugural TEFAF Summit, a gathering of thought leaders, experts, and stakeholders dedicated to safeguarding cultural heritage in a changing world.

The Art Business Conference will provide a platform for art market professionals to engage in peer-to-peer exchange and exploration of emerging trends and challenges in the industry. Keynote speeches and panel discussions will cast light on the evolving landscape of the art market and the role of technology in authentication and market analysis. Sessions on topics such as the role of ornamentation in interior design and the enduring legacy of artists like Frans Hals will offer insights into the diverse facets of the art world, past and present.

(L-R) The Penitent Magdalene, c. 1625/30; Antonius und Cleopatra (Antonius and Cleopatra), 1921-1923
Exhibited by Robilant & Voena; Exhibited by Galerie Henze & Ketterer


With its roots in Dutch fine art history and contemporary relevance, TEFAF Maastricht 2024 emerges as a nexus of artistic exploration and cultural preservation. In an era marked by rapid change and uncertainty, art connoisseurs can look forward to this steadfast beacon of artistic excellence and cultural stewardship.

Words by Aditi Bhaskar.
Featured image courtesy TEFAF Archives.

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