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European Art Fair Maastricht

masssMaastricht in the Netherlands should not just be remembered for boring EU treaties, it should also be remembered for art, if the European Art Fair is anything to go by. Around £2 billion of arts is on display there until Sunday next.

There was a champagne and oyster reception for ten thousand guests at the fair, many of whom arrived by private jet at the city airport. The fair is considered to be the best in Europe and includes anything from rare and almost priceless antiquities to the very finest in modern art.

An anonymous Russian collector spent nearly six hundred thousand pounds on a tapestry of red and gold bottle tops by El Anatsui, a Ghanian artist, which goes to prove that recycling does pay, after all, in a big way. The same collector also paid 750,000 euros for a Eugene Printz art deco table.

In the antiquities section was a seven thousand year old small marble figurine of a woman, made in Greece. This was for sale by Rupert Wace, a London art dealer and was priced slightly out of reach of some of us, at over one million euros.

The answer to the age-old question ‘What does a Roman urn?’ was finally provided, as a two thousand year old marble urn from Rome sold again for over one million years (£875,000 to you and me). The dealer was also Rupert Wace, although he will have been slightly disappointed that it didn’t make the original asking price of 1.2 million euros.

Still, this was an improvement on the original sale price of £7,000 in a Christie’s auction last year. Previously the urn had been treated as a table lamp and had had a hole drilled in it to take an electric cable. It was something of a surprise when it fetched over £400,000 at the Christie’s auction.

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