TEFAF 2020: How Fairs Go Online During Covid-19

One of the “masterpieces“ presented online: Lucas Cranach the Elder and workshop (Kronach 1472-1553 Weimar), The Judgement of Paris, c.1518-1522. Presented by Robert Simon Fine Art, New York.
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The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF), whose fairs champion museum-quality art from across the ages, had to adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Thus they developed a digital marketplace to host its inaugural fair November 1-4, 2020, with two preview days on October 30 and 31, 2020. TEFAF Online served the art community in place of this year’s annual TEFAF New York Fair by gathering the majority of the TEFAF global community – 283 exhibitors were directly accessible to buyers in real-time – to present 7,000 years of art history.

One Exhibitor, One Piece of Art: The “Masterpiece” Format

This iteration of the fair will continue TEFAF’s tradition of presenting only the finest quality by inviting each exhibitor to showcase only one work of art which represents their expertise. This singular “masterpiece” format, offering a new dimension in the digital fair space, will create a collection of works at the very top of their respective segments of the market. The experience of attending the digital Fair will evoke much the same intensity of inspiration which would come from walking into a dealer’s gallery. Contextualizing images, text, and videos explaining each exhibitor’s specific choice will live on the online platform, sharing dealers’ passions for their area of specialty and fascinating art lovers across the globe. A live interactive component will enable collectors and exhibitors to engage with each other directly.

Upholding TEFAF’s strict standards, every work presented at TEFAF Online, will be vetted through digital means by TEFAF’s independent vetting committees.

TEFAF Online Will Remain

TEFAF Online is here to stay. “As the global art community experiences limited mobility with travel restrictions and social distancing, we are proud to bring to fruition our hope to make art in all its varied forms more accessible via digital innovation,” said Hidde van Seggelen, TEFAF Chairman. “This new platform allows TEFAF’s respected exhibitors to be just a click away to new and existing collectors alike, and we look forward to developing it into a permanent feature alongside future TEFAF Fairs.”

TEFAF Online marks a historic first for TEFAF as an organization and points to the future of the global art market. Presenting a combination of expertise and accessibility, the Fair draws on TEFAF’s uniqueness offline and brings it online, reaching a new generation of buyers with fresh attitudes, tastes, needs and behaviors.

TEFAF Maastricht 2021 Postponed

During this time of prolonged uncertainty and challenges for people around the world  The Executive Committee of TEFAF has decided to move the dates of TEFAF Maastricht 2021. Traditionally taking place in mid-March, the shortened Maastricht fair will now run in-person from May 31 through June 6, 2021, with preview days on May 29 and 30, 2021. Amid imperfect circumstances, this move is designed to allow the global art community, including TEFAF’s exhibitors, to more securely and safely come together to participate in TEFAF in-person, in the height of the European cultural season.

“It is our hope that by pushing the dates of TEFAF Maastricht to later in the spring, we make physical attendance possible, safe, and comfortable for our exhibitors and guests,” said Hidde van Seggelen, TEFAF Chairman. “The safety of our TEFAF community is our utmost priority as we fulfill our commitment to inspiring art lovers, collectors, and institutions, while simultaneously doing our part to cultivate an adaptable art market in which our dealers can thrive.”


You can find more information on the TEFAF website.