ASIAN ART IN BRUSSELS – “The most cultivated Asian Art Fair”
ASIAN ART IN BRUSSELS (AAB) closed its doors on June 8th 2014, after a successful week. Coinciding with BAAF (Brussels Ancient Art Fair) and BRUNEAF (Brussels Non-European Art Fair) it brought to Brussels some of the most renowned Asian Art galleries from Europe, the U.S. and the Far East. To underline its growing importance, several new top Asian Art dealers from the U.S., London, Paris and Düsseldorf exhibited for the first time – an exciting trend proving that Brussels is on the fast-track to become Europe’s centre for Asian Art.
To combine state-of-the-art gallery-hopping and shopping with sipping a coffee in one of the delightful street-side Cafes, a wide variety of excellent restaurants and the visits to the master chocolatiers around the square, have made the Place du Sablon a top attraction and ASIAN ART IN BRUSSELS – according to numerous visitors - “the most cultivated Asian Art Fair worldwide”.
The exquisite two-day ArtConnoisseurs program of lectures, organized in collaboration with IBHEC (Institut Belge des Hautes Etudes Chinoises) by prestigious scholars and experts on a variety of Asian Art subjects encouraged numerous visitors to stay for two or three days which created a lively buzz in galleries and lecture venues, at cocktail parties and dinners. The lecture themes were appealing to a wide range of art connoisseurs: Dr Joyce Seaman from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford referred on Supernatural Themes in Japanese Netsuke; one of the “Scholar Stars” of the Tibetan Art World, Dr Amy Heller, shed new light on early Tibetan Sculpture; Dr Richard Pegg from the MacLean Collection in Chicago surprised with stunning 19th century Maps of East Asia; and the eminent Ms Amina Okada, Chief Curator at Musée Guimet in Paris excited the audience with "Celestial Beauties of the 12th – 13th century South Indian Hoysala temples”.
A refreshing Podium Talk between the renowned German art journalist Dr Susanne Schreiber and the long-time connoisseur and expert on Khmer sculpture Dr Wolfgang Felten highlighted little known peculiarities of Khmer art and its importance within the art history of Asia. Dr Felten’s fresh insights on legal and moral provenance issues added helpful groundedness to current discussions. The last Lecture Day concluded with a Cocktail Party on the stunning roof terrace of the Museum for Music Instruments where visitors rubbed shoulders with scholars and collectors, dealers and other experts – yet another draw of ASIAN ART IN BRUSSELS.
Galleries showed specialized exhibitions on a variety of themes and sales were brisk. One of the top dealers from London, Gregg Baker, offered museum-quality Japanese works of Art. Another newcomer, André Kirbach from Düsseldorf successfully sold little gems of Japanese tea ware, lacquer and paintings in his exquisitely arranged gallery. Not surprisingly, Chinese buyers were ubiquitous in galleries offering Chinese and Tibetan works of art: Gisèle Croës, Wei Asian Arts, Duchange & Riché, Galerie Lamy, Jacques How Choong, Karim Grusenmeyer, Astamangala, Buddhist Art , all reported sales. The excellent group of Parisian dealers - Frederic Rond of Indian Heritage, Renaud Montméat and Alexis Renard showed Indian, Islamic and Tibetan works of art and found a highly receptive Belgian and German audience and buyers. Old-timer and president of AAB, Carlo Cristi, displayed a sensational 5th – 6th century Central Asian Rug, next to his trademark early thangkas and bronzes from Tibet and reported important sale. Martin Doustar, another newcomer from Paris, surprised with a superb collection of Bronze Age Works of Art from Southeast Asia. In his large gallery premises Michael Woerner did not only show early and classic Sculpture from South and Southeast Asia, but also a selection of rarely seen Early Tibetan Rugs from the Piccus collection, probably the best private collection ever assembled in this field. Most of the dealers noted that they were pleasantly surprised by the significant number of first-time visiting museum directors and curators as well as collectors from the U.S. and Europe – a sign that ASIAN ART IN BRUSSELS is indeed on the right path. Several other high-profile international dealers already announced their planned participation in 2015.