14th American International Fine Art Fair Reports Record Attendance

International Fine Art Expositions (IFAE) founders and AIFAF organizers David and Lee Ann Lester reported that a record 5,100 collectors attended the opening Vernissage honoring the Norton Museum of Art Tuesday evening at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Sales during the first day of the fair indicate that the US art economy is rebounding strongly – consistent with very strong auction sales in New York on Wednesday – where a Giacometti sculpture sold for a record $105 million – a new high for any work of art.

The numerous sales reported over AIFAF’s first day included:

The Richard Green Gallery’s sale of Eugene von Blaas’s “Conversation on the Terrace, Venice” priced at $1 million
Surovek Gallery’s sale of an Andrew Wyeth painting priced at $750,000
Walt Whitman’s original manuscript for “Leaves of Grass,” priced at $480,000, acquired from 19th Century Shop
Evelyn Aimis’ sales of the Henri Matisse drawing, “Portrait de Femme,” priced at $350,000, 2 rare Picasso Vollard etchings from the 1930s, and a unique work by Robert Rauschenberg
Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts’ sale of Bernhard Österman’s 1928 “Temptation,” priced at $225,000, first exhibited in 1928 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and later part of the collection of psychic Jeane Dixon
“Avenue Foch” by Jean Dufy, priced at $150,000, and a Dufy watercolor at $45,000, acquired from Galerie Jacque Bailly
A.B. Levy’s sale of an important six-figure chandelier
Holden Luntz Gallery’s sales of photographs by Harry Benson, Nick Brandt and Frank Horvack
Tom Wesselman’s “Monica Lounging on 1 Elbow “ priced at $56,000, acquired from Waterhouse & Dodd
A European exhibitor’s acquisition of a rare Cloes Oldenburg, which is now on display at the fair

Among the other dealers reporting first-day sales were Alexander Gallery, Brenske Gallery, Dickinson, Eostone, Galerie Terminus, Guarisco Gallery, Graff, Hancock’s, Imperial Oriental Art/Fine Books, Lebreton Gallery, Lillian Nassau, MacConnal-Mason, Goedhuis Contemporary, Richter’s, Sylvia Powell, The Silver Fund, Tomasso Brothers, Van Cleef and Arpels, Veronique Bamps, Whitford, William Cook, William Weston and Willow Gallery.

“The 2010 edition of AIFAF looks to be the most successful show in recent years,” said David Lester. “The numerous sales reported early in the show indicate that the nadir of the recession has passed and that collectors are once again feeling comfortable with purchasing excellent works of fine art from major dealers.”

“We are extremely happy with the fair, and the caliber of people who are attending,” said Holden Luntz, Holden Luntz Gallery.

Fairgoers have been uniform in their praise of AIFAF’s innovative new design this year, which disperses crowds throughout the fair and ultimately draws them to the stage-like Center Court where an elegant bar serves caviar, smoked salmon, oysters and champagne. The fair also introduces a new VIP lounge, Le Bistro – a new formal restaurant featuring a variety of gourmet selections – and a new café and sushi bar that offer further sophisticated dining alternatives. Dining choices are available online at www.aifaf.com.

The AIFAF lecture series, which features eminent museum curators, scholars, dealers and specialists, has drawn praise from fairgoers. Among the many noted lectures still to come are talks by design dynamo Nancy Corzine and Miller Gaffney of Miller Gaffney Art Advisory.

AIFAF brings together more than 80 dealers from over a dozen countries to present outstanding work including Old Masters, 18th and 19th century European and American paintings, modern and contemporary art, lavish period furniture, dazzling jewelry and rare antiques. The fair’s strictly vetted offerings reflect traditional, modern and contemporary collecting trends.