Home Magazine Juxtaposing genres, curated and collected together...

The trend for cross-collecting and cross-curating is in full swing. If you're unfamiliar with this phenomenon, you might have come across it at Tefaf Maastricht, Frieze Masters or Masterpiece in London this year. It involves breaking down the boundaries that divide the traditionally autonomous genres of art: Modern, Contemporary, Old Masters and Ancient. 

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A number of fairs, in addition, the ones listed above, have included cross-over collaborations and some major galleries are following suit. Hauser & Wirth now regularly partners with Moretti Fine Art at Frieze Masters, bringing the contemporary art world as close as ever to the historic pieces usually seen at Moretti. Taking this to a whole new level, Tefaf New York this fall made a feature of "dynamic pairing", that involved jointly curated booths showcasing collaborations across the art history range. 


Installation view of Hauser & Wirth with Moretti Galleria at Frieze Masters


Historic works have always been central to Tefaf. For this edition, however, 90 galleries showed antiques, design, rare books and manuscripts, jewellery and decorative arts as well as fine arts from all over the past centuries. Patrick van Maris, Tefaf CEO, explained it as a quest for "thought-provoking experiences" that led to such unique collaborations. Geneva's Rob Smeets Old Masters Paintings collaborated with New York's Van der Weghe gallery, whose speciality is Modern, postwar and contemporary art, to bring works together for the first time. Sean Kelly, also of New York, worked with British antiquities specialist Charles Ede, whose director commented on the matter by saying that this all aims to show how major works from different eras "are all part of one great continuum". One example he showed was a pairing of busts: a 1st-2nd century BC Greek marble head, placed with Marina Abramovic's "Portrait with Golden Mask" from 2009. 

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A Greek marble bust that was paired with Marina Abramovic's "Portrait with Golden Mask" (2009)


Other collaborations involved Anne-Sophie Duval, the well-known gallery for French Art Deco, and Almine Rech. Classic sculptures and Cycladic vessels from Colnaghi in London stood confidently in contrast to works by Lucio Fontana and Antoni Tapies from Ben Brown Fine Arts. 

Collaborations like that are not necessarily atypical of dealers or galleries wanting to expand their client base. They are, ultimately, intended for mutual gains. Even the biggest galleries welcome ideas to renew and grow their range of collectors and sharing a booth with a gallery from a different genre guarantees cross-over. More commonly, it's the deep-pocketed contemporary collectors who are lured into the Old Masters world and antiquities, and not vice versa. Most recently, Sotheby's partnered with Victoria Beckham to promote a special sale featuring female Old Masters like Fede Galizia and Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun. Rembrandt’s masterpiece, Self-Portrait with Two Circles (c. 1665), was on view at Gagosian in Grosvenor Hill earlier this year, heralding a new partnership between the gallery and English Heritage. Yet loyalists to the traditional can be lured into more recent art if it's curated and placed in a context that makes it seem less alien. 


Victoria Beckham x Old Master Paintings, Sotheby's


Overall, what these cross-overs reflect is how most people actually live with art: rarely do people collect a single style or period and daily life tends to be a mix of many styles together. Reflecting this reality at art fairs and galleries only adds a more refreshing touch to what can seem repetitive, year after year. Collaborations across ages and histories can very well offer delight and surprising discoveries for viewers and collectors alike. 

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.


A constant dialogue between Past/Present/Future: Vita Opolskyte-Egle Karpaviciute-Alexandru Radvan-Diego Zangirolami



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