New York, London, Paris and Rome are famous worldwide as art capitals that attract the best collectors and museum curators from around the world. Accordingly, the organizers of the European Fine Art Fair have named the exhibition areas at the show after these cities’ prestigious arts centers – Madison Avenue in New York, Trafalgar Square in London, Champs-Elysees in Paris and the Spanish Steps in Rome. As the fair has expanded over the last 26, it has also added Sunset Boulevard and recognized the leading position of Los Angeles as the art center of the Western U.S.
Los Angeles is just beginning to be recognized by collectors who are serious enough to spend millions of dollars on works of art at the world’s leading fine art fair, held every March in Holland. But the name recognition accorded Sunset Boulevard and cameo appearances by California art icons have begun to get Los Angeles a place in the sun at this prestigious event.
Peter Fairbanks, President of the Montgomery Gallery in San Francisco, has exhibited each year at the European Fine Art Fair since it began 26 years ago. The Montgomery Gallery remains the only gallery from all of California at the show. The gallery sold over ten works of art at the European Fine Art Fair this year. According to Fairbanks and the gallery’s Director of European Art Lindsay Nivens-Frosini, both watercolors and ceramics under $100,000 and traditional fine art over $1 million have appealed to buyers.
Los Angeles more than made up for the absence of a local gallery at the Fine Art Fair by sending many well financed curators from the Getty Villa, Getty Trust and Los Angeles County Museum of Art to make acquisitions that will fascinate Los Angeles museum visitors for years to come. Not to be outdone, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired its first new British painting in forty years, at a price reported to be in the high millions.
Some of the most glamorous icons of Hollywood history sparkle at the museum style exhibition of fine art jewelry by VanCleef and Arpels. This year’s exhibition features a lucky shamrock diamond necklace crafted in a design originally made for actress Grace Kelly after she became Princess Grace of Monaco. It is part of a collection featured in an exhibition catalog of jeweled art shown at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Museum of Design. Other Hollywood icons on the Van Cleef and Arpels art of jewelry honor roll are Marlene Dietrich’s ruby bracelet and a daisy motif emerald necklace worn by Elizabeth Taylor to the 1992 Oscars Awards ceremony. VanCleef and Arpels designed an entire collection of jewelry featuring the beauty of California as the theme in 2010. The firm’s Vice President Nicolas Luchsinger reported that every single piece has already been sold
Another Hollywood icon is featured as an artist. A late work by set and costume designer Tamara Lampicka from 1975 was a media favorite at the show. The owner of the Al-Jazeera television network made a special visit in his private jet and made sure to peruse the fair in depth – insuring excellent follow up coverage on his global news network, which is shown locally in Los Angeles by the Worldview Channel. Much of the fair can also be seen with over 200 streaming video broadcasts on the Internet. The site at this link is in Dutch, but if you just type the term “TEFAF” in the box marked “Zoek” the full list of reports will appear.
The 2013 European Fine Art Fair concludes this Sunday, March 24. But the importance of Los Angeles in this part of the art universe is just beginning to gain the recognition it deserves.