In three weeks, my favorite Art Fair will be opening its doors again in Brussels. Over the years, the BRAFA has established itself as one of Europe’s unmissable cultural events in January. In the upcoming edition, taking place between 27 January and 4 February 2018, 132 galleries and art dealers from no less than 15 countries will participate. Archaeology, jewellery, paintings, sculptures, furniture, books, ceramics, porcelain, clocks, glassware, antique frames, and contemporary creations will retrace more than four thousand years of art history from across the continents.
But I really didn’t want to wait until the opening of the fair. Just to indulge myself, I went on a small expedition to Brussels last month and got a preview at two of my favorite exhibitors: Lancz Gallery and Galerie Cento Anni.
Patrick Lancz (BRAFA 15d) opened his first gallery in the Sablon district of Brussels in 1994. Strongly devoted to the Ecole Belge, which covers the Symbolist, Impressionist and Fauvist period from 1890 to 1930, he also specializes in the Belgian avant-garde of the 1920s and in Abstract Art from the 1950s and 1970s. But why I particularly love his presence at the BRAFA is because he always brings his paintings mounted in exceptional Art Nouveau frames! Patrick Lancz never ceases to amaze me. So when we met last month, I asked him how on earth he always manages to collect such a vast collection of Art Nouveau frames. The secret, Lancz told me, is that he has an army of ‘scouts’ roaming the streets of Brussels. They browse auction catalogues for him, comb through vintage shops and skim the famous Brussels’ antiques markets. They seem to know exactly what he wants. And even though his business is drawings and paintings, his unique frames are the reason why I always find it an absolute pleasure to stop by at Lancz Gallery during the BRAFA!
Here’s a small selection of the frames Patrick Lancz selected for the BRAFA 2018. Want to see more of his spectacular frames? Check out my blogs of previous BRAFAs.
Only a few doors down the road, I met the owners of Galerie Cento Anni: Maria Isabel Romero and Rodrigo Diaz. They opened their gallery Cento Anni (BRAFA 101d) in Brussels in 1982 and soon began to specialize in Art Nouveau and Art Deco items. The international success they enjoyed encouraged them to open two other galleries, in Paris. Today they provide several museums in Japan and numerous discerning collectors worldwide with exceptional works of art. Every year, they bring a staggering number of Chiparus statues to the BRAFA. But they have an impeccable taste for Art Nouveau objects as well. So when I asked Rodrigo Diaz what he is planning to reveal at the BRAFA this year, he told me that he had just picked up their latest acquisition: a bronze Art Nouveau statue ‘Dancer with Garland of Flowers’ by Philippe Wolfers, from the famous Wolfers & Petrucci Collection. And this I find particularly interesting, because a large part of the Wolfers & Petrucci Collection was only recently disclosed with the opening of the exhibition Horta & Wolfers (see my previous post). Besides the Chiparus statues and the new Wolfers statue, Cento Anni has a surprising number of other Wolfers objects. It will be interesting to see what else they are going to bring! In the mean time, here are some pictures I took of two of their vases by Émile Gallé and Antonin Daum. (I adore blue flowers!!!)
And here’s a nice video I discovered on YouTube, of an interview with Rodrigo Diaz.
The other galleries on my MUST SEE list for the BRAFA are:
- Epoque Fine Jewels (Art Nouveau & Art Deco Jewellery)
- Galerie Ary Jan (Orientalism & Belle Epoque paintings)
- Galerie Alexis Bordes (18th – early 20th century French School Painting)
- The Belgian Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association (CLAM)
- Galerie Oscar De Vos (Flemish Art from 1880 to 1940)
- Galerie Mathivet (20th century Decorative Art)
- Univers du Bronze (Bronze Statues 1830-1930)
I am particularly looking forward to visiting Epoque Fine Jewels again, as they are bringing a unique piece by René Lalique (Aÿ 1860 – 1945 Paris) to the BRAFA 2018: a pendant with two engraved glass panels with an orange sheen, each depicting a nymph in a foliage surround. The frame of diamond fern leaves with reddish-brown enamel stems suspends a pear-shaped cognac coloured citrine drop. The pendant is mounted in 18 carat gold.
So, how about that? Isn’t it fabulous that you can go to an ‘exhibition’ where everything is for sale? Where you could actually buy your favorite object?
If only I were rich and not so pretty… 😉
If you’d like to win two entrance tickets (worth € 25 per person) for the BRAFA, all you have to do is ‘Like’ my About Art Nouveau Facebook-page and share my FB-post about the Art Fair. And while you are in Brussels to visit the BRAFA, why don’t you stop by at the new Horta & Wolfers exhibition or the Fin-de-Siècle museum. They are only 10 minutes away by car and definitely worth a visit too. Just make it a perfect Art Nouveau day!
BRAFA, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86c, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Open daily from Saturday 27 January to Sunday 4 February 2018