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Femme Kabyle 1922 by Charles Bigonet (1877-1931) - Universe du Bronze

Femme Kabyle, 1922, Charles Bigonet (1877-1931)

The great thing about art fairs is that there’s a surprise for you around every corner. Whereas exhibitions usually show you works by a specific artist or objects of a certain craft, art fairs are a whole different ball game. They showcase the cream of the crop in every possible territory. While one gallery exhibits their most beautiful paintings, the next will give you their finest in jewellery. And just within the next few meters, you’ll find the most exquisite of sculpture, ravishing tapestry, luscious metal works, or delicately illustrated books. All in one place. That’s why I love art fairs!

Lancz Gallery BRAFA 15d

Lancz Gallery (BRAFA 15d)

BRAFA is one of the leading European art and antiques fairs where all art works, from antiquity to the 21st century, are for sale. Quality and authenticity are key requirements and therefore satisfaction is guaranteed.

I had invitations for the ‘Exclusive Viewing’ of the BRAFA 2016 (the day before the fair opens to the public), and boy, did I indulge in the flaunted treasures. Surrounded by popping corks and pampered by a seemingly endless number of waiters with delicious bites and nibbles, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. The fair lasts untill 31 January 2016, so hurry, and immerse in the lush environment of the BRAFA 2016 while you can!

Chauve-Souris et Pavots (Bats and Poppies) 1898, Philippe Wolfers

Bats and Poppies, 1898, Philippe Wolfers (BRAFA 34b)

King Baudouin Foundation
The mission of the King Baudouin Foundation is clear and at the same time wide-ranging: to help improve living conditions for the population. One of the area’s where the foundation is active, is preservation and protection of heritage. At the BRAFA the foundation has found an excellent platform to showcase its latest acquisitions: I particularly liked the above 1898 bracelet Bats and Poppies by Philippe Wolfers (1858-1929). Other exhibited objects were a 1899 ring by Henry van de Velde (1863-1957) and a 1907 symbolist painting by Léon Spilliaert (1881-1946) called La Buveuse d’Absinthe (The Absinthe Drinker).

Chambre Professionnelle Belge de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (CLAM)
The CLAM is composed of 34 antiquarian booksellers, mainly from Belgium, who specialize in buying and selling precious books, prints, autographs and old manuscripts. The bookseller that got my immediate attention was Dominique Basteyns. She exhibited a series of Le Japon Artistique, a magazine published by art dealer Siegfried Bing (1838-1905). The magazine ran thirty-six months from 1888 to 1891 in French, English, and German editions, and contributed tremendously to the revival of Japonism. One day, I hope to be able to obtain a few copies of this magazine myself…

Le Japon Artistique by Siegfried Bing

Le Japon Artistique by Siegfried Bing (BRAFA 50a)

Another bookseller, showcasing several beautiful prints, was Gallery Le Tout Venant. I was most excited about their hand-coloured and signed 1895 photograph of the symbolist pastel ‘Le Silence‘ by Lucien Lévy Dhurmer (1865-1953) and the 1888 pastel ‘Madame Lemme’ by Georges Lemmen (1865–1916).

Gallery Alexis Bordes
At Gallery Alexis Bordes I discovered a beautiful 1895 bronze of a man in ancient armour attributed to Cesar Constantino R. Ceribelli (1841-1918). The bronze possibly represents Perseus or Alexander the Great and, I’m sure, would look perfect over my fireplace…

Bronze 1895, Caesar R. Constantino Ceribelli (BRAFA 118c)

Bronze 1895, C. R. Constantino Ceribelli (BRAFA 118c)

Chamarande Antiquités
At Chamarande, where they sell objet d’art and antique jewelry, we were in for a real treat! Pascale de Lhoneux showed me a beautiful 1900 Art Nouveau ring in yellow gold, set with a natural pearl, and decorated with green plique-à-jour enamel leaves and diamonds. The ring is attributed to Georges Le Turcq. She also had a yellow-gold necklace with 7 turquoise cabochons and pearls that I would have loved to bring home. And what about the yellow and white gold brooch with pearls and 85(!) rose cut diamonds? Or the gold and silver brooches with turquoise pâte de verre, diamonds and Mississippi pearls?

Lancz Gallery
Patrick Lancz specialises in paintings (watercolours, drawings, etchings, etc.) from the period stretching between 1880 and 1930, primarily produced by the Belgian School. But what struck me the most in his collection, were the frames of his paintings. Just look at these beau-ti-ful frames! Só simple, yet delicately beautiful.

Universe du Bronze
I fell utterly in love with this marble statue ‘Femme Kabyle’ exhibited at Universe du Bronze. It was made by Charles Bigonet (1877-1931) in 1922.

Marble, Femme Kabyle, Charles Bigonet (1877 - 1931), Universe du Bronze (BRAFA 59a)

Femme Kabyle, Charles Bigonet (BRAFA 59a)

Gallery Ary Jan
And what to say about these two symbolist paintings by, yes, there he is again, Lucien Lévy Dhurmer (1865-1953). Gallery Ary Jan exhibited his Les Deux Sirènes and Portrait of Beethoven together.

Gallery Francis Maere Fine Arts
At Gallery Francis Maere Fine Arts I greatly enjoyed their selection of fin-de-siècle paintings by Jenny Montigny (1875-1937), Théo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926), Léon de Smet (1881-1966) and his brother Gustaaf de Smet (1877-1943). I liked ‘Schoolyard in Sping’ by Jenny Montigny best. How about you?

Epoque Fine Jewels
And last but not least, I have some more really exquisite jewellery for you in store, exhibited by Epoque Fine Jewels. Epoque Fine Jewels was founded in 1958 by Nicole Verschuere and is now one of the leading companies dealing in high quality antique and period jewellery with an emphasis on the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods. Patricia De Wit was extremely helpful when I asked if I could take pictures of their jewellery; we had a delightful talk and I am already looking forward to meeting her again at the next art fair.

Leo Gestel, Douwes Fine Art (BRAFA 66a)

While I discovered a striking number of works by Leo Gestel (1881-1941) at the PAN Amsterdam last month, at the BRAFA I saw only one. This time, James Ensor (1860-1949) was represented notably more than any other artist. Lots of early work, mainly drawings, and not like I know James Ensor at all (which is good as I usually don’t like his raw nakedness).

All in all this has become quite a long post. But I could not have done it any shorter as there was só much to see at the BRAFA 2016. If you have the oportunity, I strongly recommend you visit this art fair; it is open daily from Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 January 2016.

BRAFA, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86c, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Read more:
BRAFA Art Fair 
Chamarande Antiquités
Chambre Professionnelle Belge de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne (CLAM)
Epoque Fine Jewels
Gallery Alexis Bordes
Gallery Ary Jan
Gallery Francis Maere Fine Arts
King Baudouin Foundation
Lancz Gallery
Univers du Bronze

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