BRAFA is one of the most important art fairs in Belgium. Already at the sixty-four anniversary, BRAFA has reunited this year (January 26th – February 3rd) 133 art galleries and 64% are from foreign countries. The slogan for the art fair was Art Without Frontiers, “because BRAFA has always aimed for a mix of styles, eras, and origins, and has made eclecticism and cross-collecting its real trademark”. If within the first editions the art fair presented mainly antiques and classical masterpieces, over the time the organizers have decided to widen the range to be able to open the doors to both modern and contemporary art galleries. “Some people have criticized us because we are exhibiting more modern and contemporary art and less classical art than in the past, but I would like to emphasize that we continue to believe in and support classical art, which is in fact widely represented at the fair.” – Harold T’Kint de Roodenbeke, BRAFA’s president, declared.
Collectables of all kind, from all over the world
The art collectors and lovers had the opportunity to admire and purchase a multitude of art objects: contemporary art (Opera Gallery, Geneva; Bernier/Eliade Gallery, Athena; Guy Pieters Gallery, Belgium), Pre-Colombian art (Deletaille Gallery, Bruxelles), porcelain from Middle Age until today (Laurence Lenne, Bruxelles), antique sculptures (Phoenix Ancient Art, Geneva), the old masters paintings (Costermans, Bruxelles), 15th – 18th centuries furniture (Galeria Röbbig München), watches (La Pendulerie, Paris), Japanese art (Christophe Hioco, Paris), jewelries (Epoque Fine Jewels, Belgium), tribal art (Serge Schoffel – Art Premier, Bruxelles), colored comic strips (Belgian Comic Strip Gallery, Belgium), Belgian art (Francis Maere Fine Arts, Bruxelles), Op art (Cortesi Gallery, London), Russian art (Heritage Gallery, Russia). The art objects from Africa, America, Asia, The Middle East, and even Oceania were for all the art collectors’ taste, ones who already had a collection or for beginners.
Table with rifles, wood, and metal legs, 78 x 118 x 65 cm, Soviet Union (1930), Heritage Gallery
Special guests: Gilbert & George
Gilbert & George, the British duo, were the special guests of this edition, and they presented five photo-montages, placed in different locations in the art fair, under the slogan Art for All. Captivated by life’s complexity in East End, London, Gilbert & George “translate their day-to-day experience into great themed series where they deal with subjects such as sex, religion, corruption, violence, hope, fear, racial tensions, patriotism, addiction, and death. When local becomes universal – another way of demolishing frontiers, of a mental nature this time…”
Gilbert & George, Beard alert (2015), mixed media, 190 x 377 cm (Bernier/Eliades Gallery)
100 years of ROCAD.BE
ROCAD.BE (The Belgian Royal Chamber of Antiques and Art Dealers), reaches in 2019 one hundred years of existence, being the main supporter of the BRAFA. The association was founded by art merchants and has been growing since: “the association still flourishes and brings together 115 members in Belgium and abroad. We are one of the oldest existing antique dealers associations; an accomplishment based on solid foundations and values, and the ability to adapt and to change over the years.” (Francis Maere, president)
King Baudouin Foundation at BRAFA
A special place inside the art fair was occupied by the King Baudouin Foundation‘s collection. The Foundation’s purpose is to protect the major masterpieces, especially by purchasing them. “Everything started thirty years ago by the acquisition of the original correspondence between Francis Cranevelt and the sixteen-century humanists. Today, the collection has 20,000.00 pieces and the same number of historical documents, this impressive number is the result of generosity and trust of a big number of Maecenas.” Among the art pieces exposed at BRAFA, was the ‘Mantel” of Piet Piet Stockmans, or the pieces of jewellery created by Emile Souply and Jacques Moeschal, Belgian artists between 1950 and 1980.
Piet Stockmans, Mantel, 2007, Private Art Support Foundation Fund, Coll. King Baudouin Foundation.
A gallery who wants to participate at BRAFA has to go through a lot of stages: the registration folder is analyzed carefully by a specialists’ team and if is approved, the artwork and the objects which will be exhibited are appraised by independent appraisal experts. The representative of Rosenberg & CO Gallery from New York declared that they prepared for one year to participate at BRAFA.
No galleries from Romania participated, however our presence was still felt within the fair where we found artworks of established Romanian artists such as Victor Brauner (Brame & Lorenceau Gallery, Paris), Demetre Chiparus (Galerie Cento Anni, Bruxelles), Tristan Tzara (born in Romania) & Pablo Picasso (L’Abac Antique Store, Bruxelles).
Victor Brauner, L’air Solaire (1962), oil on canvas, 73 x 60 cm (Brame & Lorenceau)
Author: Silvia Suciu