One hundred and twenty-eight exhibitors from twelve countries, around twenty specialist areas spanning several millennia of artistic design, a decade of events at Tour & Taxis for the BRAFA 2013 (Bruxelles  Antiques & Fine Arts Fair) from 19th to 27th January.

New Byzantine-inspired decor and a unique design by Julien Colombier, an exclusive evening to set the scene, a new-look gala dinner and the Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie opera house as the guest of honour: BRAFA’13 has lined up a whole range of highlights and surprises in anticipation of attracting even more visitors than the previous event in 2012. Let the celebration of the arts begin!

A record 46,000 visitors attended BRAFA in 2012 and the 2013 event is pulling out all the stops in an attempt to surpass this figure. Its efforts are supported by one hundred and twenty-eight galleries, exhibiting thousands of works of art in every conceivable style and from all eras and origins, all united in their quest to present the very highest quality and authenticity. Once again, this classic fair will be using the diversity of its specialist areas, cross-over effects and an eclectic approach to catch the eye of the most discerning visitors. All this remains true to BRAFA’s philosophy of continuously surprising its visitors, from art market professionals to distinguished collectors and amateur art lovers.

Some new names…

Of the one hundred and twenty-eight exhibiting galleries, twenty-seven are new since the 2012 event: sixteen are attending for the first time and eleven are making a comeback after an absence of one year or more. The Belgian contingent accounts for 53 of these galleries (42%), compared with an international presence of 58%, with 75 galleries from different countries. This breakdown reflects the pattern of previous years. Exhibitor numbers have been deliberately set at around 125 to allow sufficient space for individual stands and to make it possible for visitors to visit the entire Fair in one day.

… and new trends for 2013

BRAFA prides itself as being an ode to diversity, an invitation to explore and a showcase for the very diverse art world, encompassing the whole spectrum of artistic expression over the ages and across all continents. From classic and Pre-Columbian archaeology to contemporary art, antique, modern and contemporary paintings, furniture, sculptures and objets d’art from the “Haute Epoque” to the 20th century. Not forgetting silverware, antique jewellery, carpets and tapestries, antique and modern books, cartoons, curiosities, and of course primitive arts, an area for which Brussels remains a major international centre.

While a subtle balance is still apparent between the different specialities, a few trends are crystallising for the 2013 event. Such as Archaeology, which has taken a great leap forward to become a major attraction in its own right, with eight specialist exhibitors of international level: the galleries J. Bagot Arqueologia – Ancien Art (Barcelona), Chenel (Paris), Cybèle (Paris), Roswitha Eberwein (Göttingen), David Ghezelbash (Paris), Gilgamesh (Paris), Harmakhis (Brussels) and Phoenix Ancient Art (Geneva – New York). Pre-Columbian art follows, with the long-established exhibitor Galerie Mermoz (Paris) joined by a new arrival in the form of Galerie 1492 (Paris). Primitive arts are confirming their strong showing with no fewer than six exhibitors, including the gallery Alain de Monbrison (Paris) which will be joining its counterparts from Brussels (Didier Claes, Pierre Dartevelle, Serge Schoffel, Adrian Schlag) and Canada (Jacques Germain). Il Quadrifoglio (Milan) is set to swell the ranks of the 17th century – 1830 continental furniture section, while Galerie J. Zeberg (Antwerp) is preparing to make its comeback in the Haute Epoque area. The 19th-20th century paintings, sculptures and drawings section will be welcoming Jörg Schuhmacher (Frankfurt) and Galerie des Modernes (Paris), while Galerie Tanakaya (Paris) will be strengthening the Asiatic Arts contingent. 20th century decorative arts – return of 88-Gallery (Antwerp – London – Paris) and arrival of Dansk Møbelkunst (Copenhagen) Galerie Pierre Mahaux (Brussels) – and modern and contemporary art – return of Manuel Barbié (Barcelona) – also remain very well represented.

Encouraged by the success of their joint showcase in 2012, the ceramics and porcelain specialists – Jean Lemaire, Artcade, N. Ikodinovic & Co S.A. (Brussels) and Marc Michot (Bruges) – will once again be exhibiting under a shared banner: ‘Pavillon de la Céramique’. Finally, 2013 marks the debut appearance of a new specialist section, manuscripts. Admirers of this area of rapidly growing interest will find a wide selection of examples on the stand of the gallery Signatures (Paris), as well as those of the Chambre Professionnelle Belge de la Librairie Ancienne et Moderne, Librairie Thomas-Scheler (Paris) and Sanderus Antiquariaat (Ghent), famous for its antique maps.

An anniversary edition

2013 is a special year for BRAFA, it marks the tenth anniversary (already!) of its move to Tour & Taxis. At the time, back in 2004, the decision to leave the Palais des Beaux-Arts, with its history and outstanding location in the heart of the city, in favour of mail sorting halls located in an outlying industrial district, may have seemed rather rash. However, with the benefit of hindsight, this move has been a positive step for the venerable Belgian Antiques and Fine Arts Fair, now BRAFA, opening up an area of 14,000 square metres in these vast warehouses to support its ambitious growth plans. By virtue of the relentless efforts of successive decision makers, its excellent organisation, outstanding exhibitors and rigorous assessments to guarantee first class works for prospective buyers, BRAFA has taken up its place at the forefront of the European circuit.

Byzantine-inspired décor and a unique design

In honour of the exhibition’s tenth year at Tour & Taxis, the Fair’s long-standing architects, Volume Architecture, have designed an impressive entrance inspired by the Byzantine architecture of the Istanbul mosques. Among a range of surprises in store for visitors, the carpet covering the three main aisles features a pattern designed especially for BRAFA by the artist Julien Colombier, famous for his wall frescos.


Guest of Honour 2013

True to its tradition of paying tribute to a major Belgian cultural institution, BRAFA’s guest of honour in 2013 will be the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie opera house. A veiled reference, perhaps, to the role of opera in the formation of Belgium? The presence of La Monnaie, elected Opera House of the Year in 2011-2012, will no doubt add an extra dash of lyricism and romance to an event that is by no means lacking…

New-look opening evenings

Two main changes are being introduced to the opening evenings: first, the gala dinner will take on a more dynamic format. Secondly, an exclusive charity evening attended by various Belgian celebrities from the worlds of show business, the arts and sport, will be organised on Friday 18 January. In the course of this evening, seven original works by Arman, Jean-Jacques Darbaud, Denis Deprez, Fred Eerdekens, Philippe Geluck, Panamarenko and Luc Tuymanswill be unveiled and guests will be invited to take part in a silent auction that will last throughout the entire Fair. When the auction closes, the works will be awarded to the highest bidder, with the profits being donated in full to the Merode Foundation to support its many educational and social projects in working class districts of Brussels.

A new Board of Directors

BRAFA’s Board of Directors was re-elected in June. Harold t’Kint de Roodenbeke, from Brussels, will serve as Chairman of this event for a term of three years. Continuity and modernity will be his watchwords, to support the aim of “continuing to expand the Fair’s international reach by working to continuously increase the numbers of exhibitors from all over the world. BRAFA is an exceptional event, but at the same time a very complex one. We need to be constantly alert to trends in the market and our exhibitors’ needs. I would like to apply this alert and open approach to maintain our momentum while considering all points of view,” he stated.

New exhibitors at Brafa’13:
– J. Bagot Arqueologia- Ancient Art
– Hélène Bailly Gallery
– Antichita’ Caiati & Gallo
– Dansk Møbelkunst
– Galerie 1492
– David Ghezelbash Archéologie
– Galerie Gilgamesh
– Galerie Hermanovits
– Il Quadrifoglio
– Galerie Lefebvre
– Librairie Thomas-Scheler
– Galerie Pierre Mahaux
– Galerie Diane de Polignac
– Librairie Signatures
– Floris van Wanroij Fine Art

Making a comeback at Brafa’13:
– 88-Gallery
– Artcade Gallery
– Galeria Manuel Barbié
– Galerie Cybèle
– Alain de Monbrison
– Galerie des Modernes
– Galerie Harmakhis
– N. Ikodinovic & Co S.A.
– Galerie Jörg Schumacher
– Galerie Tanakaya
– J. Zeberg Antiques

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