We head to Florence for the thirty-second edition of the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato di Firenze – BIAF. The fair happens inside the exquisite Baroque Palazzo Corsini, on the banks of the river Arno.
We are delighted that the centrepiece of our stand will be the Wedding Dance Outside, painted by Pieter Brueghel the Younger in 1612. What a glorious and joyful painting it is. You can see the peasant women’s skirts and purses swing as they do the farandole, and you can almost hear the sound of the men’s shoes as they stamp on the ground. The bride is not dancing: she sits demurely in the centre of the background, beneath a cloth of honour and a hanging crown.
The groom, meanwhile, is not immediately identifiable at all. He may be the man in the cream-coloured suit, carousing in the foreground. Interestingly, his pose is an exact mirror-image copy of a prominent figure in Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Wedding Dance, painted around 1566 (and now in the Detroit Institute of Arts). Certainly the younger Pieter looked at his father’s work, and thought that the dynamism of that particular figure could not be bettered.
BIAF runs from September 24 to October 2. The other two upcoming events are Frieze Masters, (London, October 12-16) and Fine Arts Paris La Biennale (November 9-13, at the Carrousel du Louvre). We will tell you more about those shows in a newsletter nearer the time. But for now, let us just say that our stand at Frieze will take the form of a specially curated set of works reflecting on Hieronymus Bosch and his nightmarish visions of hell. Arguably no artist in history – not Goya, not Bacon – has explored the dark recesses of the human psyche with such graphic intensity.
We would be delighted to see you at any of those three fairs. Please drop by if you happen to be in town. And if you are in Geneva, you are most welcome to come to the gallery, where we are staging a short exhibition in connection with the 50th Congress of the International Academy of Ceramics. From September 22 to November 11, we are showing a curated selection of paintings, all of which feature ceramic objects: pitchers and drinking jugs like the ones in Brueghels’ wedding scenes, but also delicate Chinese porcelain as depicted in oils by Jan van Kessel, alongside Pieter Huys’ surreal and imaginary clay chimneys.
We hope to see you at one or all of these events. Very best wishes meanwhile.