The Brussels Ancient Art Fair – 11th edition – 5-9/06/2013
The beginning of June 2013 represents an important time for the Sablon quarter of Brussels, with the launch of two new events.
The first is Asian Art in Brussels (AAB), the new oriental art fair founded and curated by highly acclaimed Italian antique dealer, Carlo Cristi, and supported by a Board of competent and devoted colleagues.
Carlo Cristi and myself are on the exact same wavelength, both being exacting and meticulous in our desire for quality at our fairs.
Our exhibitors are hand-picked and their pieces are the subject of close verification by a panel of experts, among the greatest “scholars” in their respective disciplines.
Impeccable vetting, which primarily protects the collector, is the sine qua non factor in creating a trusting environment for potential purchasers; it also favours good business for our exhibitors. Nowadays, no fair worthy of its name can overlook this.
With the help of two friends handling the public relations and promotion of AAB et BAAF, Mrs. Olga Polunin, Singaporean artist-painter and Mr. Matthieu Wolmark, Parisian journalist and filmmaker, both based in the capital of Europe, Carlo Cristi and I have put a great deal of thought into giving our respective events an additional dimension.
This thought process has gone through various stages and finally ended up with the creation of ArtConnoisseurs, for which the first event will take place in June alongside our fairs.
ArtConnoisseurs will offer high level lectures within the fields of archaeology and oriental art. There will also be, in the wings of the fairs, a forum, a place where people can network, exchange ideas and expand their knowledge of the arts within the pleasant setting that is Sablon in the month of June. Each year at these events, this cultural, scientific and friendly “platform” will be a place for exhibitions and an increasing number of lectures put on in collaboration with collectors-patrons, experts, scientists as well as Belgian and foreign museum curators, both public and private.
Already this year, there will be some 20 lectures freely accessible to all, and which you will be able to attend from 6-8 June during your stay in Brussels.
The oriental art presentations will take place in the superb location of the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) in Brussels, an Art Nouveau masterpiece. Those relating to archaeology will take place in the former palace of the Princes de Merode, home to the prestigious Cercle de Lorraine. I must take this opportunity to thank the Institut Belge des Hautes Etudes Chinoises, the MIM, the Cercle de Lorraine and the Brussels-Capital Region as well as all the members of the Honorary Committee who put their trust in us and without whom this project would not have come to fruition.
The full programme of lectures as well as the list of members of the Honorary Committee is available at: www.artconnoisseurs.eu
In addition to promoting our disciplines to a wider audience, as well as what Brussels and Belgium has to offer in terms of ancient and oriental art, one of ArtConnoisseurs’ desired objectives is to strengthen the links between the art market and private collectors with science and museums.
The Egyptian exhibition which I had the privilege of organising last year at the Cercle de Lorraine for the 10th anniversary of BAAF–in partnership with the Museum August Kestner in Hannover and Antikensammlung Basel und Sammlung Ludwig of Basel–set the tone: public collections owe a great deal to the major collectors of the past, and it is important that this process continues.
At a time when museums are the first victims of budget cuts within States, in Belgium and elsewhere, it is imperative that we rekindle and keep the flame of patronage alive, for sponsorship, long term loans, gifts and legacies to the benefit of museums.
The address, 15 Rue des Minimes will play host to the exhibition organised by BAAF, L’Égypte dessinée [Egypt drawn] by Belgian architect Bruno Cassiers, with original drawings reproduced in the magnificent book of the same name, published by Editions Lycaons. This is a real feat presenting the drawings sketched by 19th century European travellers to Egypt with his own work, often of the same sites.
Unusually, in this foreword I haven’t covered the subject of BAAF very much. The success of this event speaks for itself and the loyalty shown by our exhibitors and our visitors for this event has been second to none.
Just one final thing: be sure not to miss the tribal art fair BRUNEAF, which is also taking place with AAB and BAAF and its very beautiful exhibition of African ivories (Joyaux Lega – Lega Gems).
Jacques Billen Organising committee for the Brussels Ancient Art Fair (BAAF)