BRAFA 2023 — De Jonckheere Gallery
Art Fair

BRAFA 2023


Our second event to begin the year is BRAFA, which takes place at Brussels Expo as usual, and opens on January 29th. Our stand will have a mix of Old Masters and modern works. Among the Old Masters are two related tondi by Pieter Brueghel the Younger – who had a fondness for round paintings and for pairs. These two are portraits. One depicts a lansquenet or mercenary pikeman, identifiable by his red hat with its beautifully rendered white feather; the other portrays a woman in a simple peasant head-dress. The pikeman is a study in wide-eyed surprise: he stares open-mouthed at some unseen source of wonder. The unflappable woman, meanwhile, looks on – perhaps at the same sight – with a wry smile of amusement. Both embody the curiosity, the good humour and the sharp eye for human foible that are a mark of all the Brueghels.

Alongside these expressive faces we are showing an abstract work by Alexander Calder, dating from 1949. It has a background in swathes of blue, red and yellow – like a jumbled version of the tricolour flags of Romania or Colombia. On this field sits a variety of objects : a crescent moon, a boomerang, another writhing snake. All of these things are as flat as the hanging elements of Calder’s mobiles – apart from a four-pointed star that appears to have volume. This shape figures in numerous paintings around this time. Calder had previously made a piece called Morning Star, which he claimed was the name of a ‘medieval weapon thrown from a horse … a sort of lance with little spikes’. It sounds like something that Brueghel’s astounded lansquenet would recognise.