Tales from TEFAF Maastricht 2020
It was a hot summer day in August 2019; August 15 to be exact, when an email arrived from TEFAF: "We are delighted [WOW "delighted" this sounds like good news!] to inform you that the Selection Committee has accepted your application to join us as an Exhibitor at TEFAF Maastricht 2020." This was a celebratory moment for Gallery 19C, being a fairly new gallery, we thought it would be a few more years before we would be invited to be part of this extraordinary fair and to be in the company of the most prestigious galleries in the world. More than six months later (the time it takes to prepare for this fair), we arrived in Maastricht, a charming Dutch town, whose skyline is crowned with the Basilica of our Lady, which houses the miraculous statue of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, and whose cobblestone streets are lined with bakeries filled with sweet Linzor tortes.
Serious work began on Sunday, March 1 when we all arrived at the MECC (The Maastricht Exhibition & Conference Center). It was bustling with workers and dealers, all busy installing their stands, which in less than a week would resemble a major international art museum. In the midst of our installation, we were visited by a tv crew from Chapeau TV, who asked to interview us as first-time exhibitors at Maastricht. On Tuesday, during Vetting, we (as well as many other gallerists) took the train to Ghent to see the newly restored Adoration of the Mystic Lamb Altarpiece in St. Bavo Cathedral and the Jan van Eyck show at the museum.
Thursday, March 5 was the first opening preview for the fair; the MECC was bursting with beautiful flower arrangements, and magnificent art everywhere. For the next six days, we welcomed many visitors to our stand, and it was always crowded. Most people were drawn to our painting of a young beggar boy by the French Naturalist, Fernand Pelez and we were thrilled when the Van Gogh Museum brought their collectors group to our stand as part of their Maastricht tour.
As we moved into mid-week, the threat of the coronavirus became more serious and the fair closed early on Wednesday night at 7 pm. We packed up our paintings the next day, and it was sad to see our stand boarded up.
We hope that we will be back in 2021, and that the tradition of TEFAF Maastricht continues for many more years.