The stars have aligned for art lovers and collectors this year, as Europe hosts four of the world’s biggest art fairs over the course of just a few weeks in June. This is the first, and possibly last, time since they were founded that these exceptional fairs will visit Europe at the same time, owing to cancellations and postponements due to the pandemic. As Art Basel, BRAFA, TEFAF and Masterpiece all open their doors, it’s a unique opportunity to experience the very best artworks in the world, whilst taking in a tour of some amazing European cities…
When? 16th - 19th June 2022
The line-up of world-class art fairs begins with Art Basel, a staple of the art fair world held annually since 1970. Art Basel showcases the very best of present modern and contemporary works, including emerging talents; this year, 289 galleries from 40 countries will present art in a range of media, from paintings and films to photographs, installations and sculptures, alongside a program of panel discussions with artists and curators. During the same week, a number of secondary fairs are held in Basel and the surrounding region: Liste Art Fair, Volta Art Fair and Photo Basel are now established as permanent fixtures alongside the main fair.
The 2022 edition of Art Basel will feature 289 leading galleries from across the globe presenting the highest quality of works across all media, from rare and historical masterpieces to new works by today’s emerging artistic voices. In addition to showcasing exceptional art within its Galleries, Feature, Statements, and Edition sectors, the fair will present 70 large-scale artworks in Unlimited; 20 site-specific projects in Parcours; a large-scale floor installation titled 'Out of Sight' in homage to American conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner; an ambitious Film program; as well as Conversations, the fair's renowned talks series.
General admission ticket, from CHF65, artbasel.com
There are direct flights from London to Basel, and the journey lasts less than two hours. Jet off on the 15th June and return on the 20th of June so you can enjoy the entire fair. Return flights start at £146.97.
Where to stay
The are plenty of fabulous hotels, Airbnbs and self-catering accommodation in and around Basel. Prices start at £891 for five nights.
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When? 19th - 26th June 2022
After Art Basel, one of the oldest and most prestigious art fairs, BRAFA, returns to Brussels to host 115 galleries at its new venue, Brussels Expo. Dating back to 1956, BRAFA is an unmissable show that continues to be ‘the ideal place for cross-collecting, showcasing a perfect blend of styles and eras.’ Showing 10,000 to 15,000 works, ranging from archaeology to contemporary art and design, the fair is known for its welcoming atmosphere, eclecticism and elegance. This year’s guest of honour is Arne Quinze, whose work has evolved from graffiti street art to public art, with the objective of ‘bringing people back together again.’
The gallery Artimo Fine Arts, located in the prestigious Sablon district at 55 Rue Lebeau, was founded in 1985 by the Van Cauwenbergh family. The current Director of Artimo, Georges, from the third generation, continues the family mission to expand the gallery on the international scene, thereby ensuring the continuity of this unchanged passion through the generations. Artimo specialises in marble sculptures by international artists and bronze sculptures by Belgian artists from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many exceptional works are now part of important private and institutional collections. Georges, a member of ROCAD.be, works with passion to offer refined and quality sculptures in the tradition of the Van Cauwenbergh family.
General admission ticket, €25, brafa.art
Direct flights from London Heathrow to Brussels take 1 hour 15 minutes, with return tickets starting at £138 with British Airways.
Where to stay
Brussels is a beautiful city, popular for tourists all year round, so there are plenty of lovely hotels to stay in. Prices for five nights start at £269 for nine nights, or for a bit more, you can stay at the highly reviewed Warwick Brussels - Grand Place or The Dominican.
The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF)
When? 25th – 30th June 2022
Next up on a European art tour is TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair), which returns to MECC Maastricht after a hiatus to showcase the finest works currently on the market, from 280 prestigious art and antiques dealers and 22 countries. It first opened in 1988 as a radical idea for a new fair model, merging two existing fairs and reuniting the worlds of fine art and antiques. From medieval manuscripts and maps to porcelain and old masters, TEFAF Maastricht offers museum-quality works, and is widely regarded as the world's premier fair for fine art, antiques, and design.
Established in 1964, Adrian Alan is an international family-run business and one of the world’s leading dealers in 19th-century furniture and works of art. For nearly 60 years years, Adrian Alan himself has been at the head of the company, dealing in the very finest antiques and exhibition pieces of furniture and sourcing important items for private collectors and the great museums of the world. Adrian will be exhibiting this exceptional vitrine by Maison Roux et Brunet with bronze mount by Léon Messagé.
General admission ticket, €50, tefaf.com
Flying from London to Maastricht airport costs as little as £19.97 for a direct flight.
Where to stay
Accommodation prices start at £638 for a one week stay. Places such as Dormio Resort Maastricht Apartments and Designhotel Maastricht get very good reviews.
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When? 26th June – 6th July 2022
The grand art tour ends in London, where Masterpiece opens its doors to offer the finest works of art, design, furniture and jewellery, from antiquity to the present day.
Highlights include an incredible discovery made by Butchoff Antiques: a unique exhibition-quality clock made for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 by Camerer (K)Cuss & Co of London. This skeleton clock was a complete one-off when it was made, and proudly stood in the clockmaker’s window on Oxford Street. To coincide with this year’s Jubilee celebrations, Butchoff Antiques will be presenting it at this year's Masterpiece Fair, where they are exhibiting for the 11th year in a row.
General admission ticket, £45, masterpiecefair.com
Taking place in London, Masterpiece is a short walk from Sloan Square. Access can be gained via taxi, bus or the London underground. The event organisers have requested that visitors don't drive themselves to the fair as there is a limited amount of parking space that is reserved for disabled visitors.
Where to stay
If you aren't local, there are some great places to stay for the duration of the fair. The Z Hotel Victoria and Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel come highly recommended, and flats on Airbnb are available at reasonable prices.