Maastricht, March 27, 2011 – The European Fine Art Fair is widely acknowledged as the world’s most influential art fair. The fair, which is held at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, closed on March 27th. The focus was on the fair’s extraordinary works of art from leading specialists around the world, but its impact on the local economy stretches far beyond the confines of the fair.

“The City of Maastricht and TEFAF are inseparable and are of great mutual benefit,” the Mayor of Maastricht, Onno Hoes, said. “I very much look forward to celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fair next year and the city looks forward to working with the fair over the next quarter century.”

TEFAF is often referred to as a museum in which everything is for sale. The breadth and quality of objects are admired throughout the world. This year TEFAF attracted visitors from over 181 museums from 20 countries.

Maastricht-Aachen airport commented that TEFAF is always their busiest period of the year. During the course of the fair, 154 private aircrafts landed at the airport and one of the runways had to be converted into a parking area to accommodate the large number of private aircrafts.

“The European Fine Art Fair has once again proved to be unrivalled.  We have brought more than 2,000 collectors to TEFAF this year, of which over 1,000 have participated in our guided tours around the Fair,” remarked Cornelia Zinken of AXA Art, TEFAF’s principal sponsor.

Each year, visitors marvel at the extraordinary presentation of the fair. Creating such an elegant environment is a major logistical operation involving hundreds of people. The fair occupies an area of 333,680 square feet and takes 25 days to build.  The construction materials take up 129,100 square feet and are transported on 200 trailers.  Over 200 men and women work round the clock to build the fair in the given time frame.

From March 18-27, TEFAF Maastricht was home to 260 specialists from 16 different countries.  Between them they exhibited more than 30,000 works of art, antiques and design from different civilizations stretching from the dawn of time to the present day with an aggregate value in excess of 2 billion Euros.  TEFAF Antiques is the largest section of the Fair with 97 exhibitors. This is followed by TEFAF Paintings with 64 and TEFAF Modern with 46.

Michel Bismut, a leading interior designer from Paris, said of TEFAF Maastricht, “TEFAF Maastricht is an inspiration. It is wonderful to spend time in each section of the Fair and see the juxtaposition of so many extraordinary objects.  Without doubt, the experience helps me advise my clients.”

Before the fair opens to the public, each work of art is examined for quality, authenticity and condition by 168 international experts from 29 vetting committees.  The vetting process takes a total of 2,184 working hours.

Anthony Speelman, Chairman of the Paintings Vetting Committees commented. “This year exhibitors had clearly saved their best paintings for the fair, the quality was consistently high and the vetting process was very smooth.”

During the course of the fair, TEFAF welcomed 73,000 visitors from 55 countries around the world, more than 10,000 of whom attended the fair on the Preview Day. Refreshments were served throughout the preview, which lasted nine hours. More than 100 cooks prepared more than 150,000 canapés, which were served by 400 waiting staff.

Commenting on the attendance at the fair, Ben Janssens, Chairman of TEFAF said,  “I am delighted to have seen such an increase in visitors from mainland China and I find it particularly remarkable that they have made acquisitions in many different areas and not only Chinese art.”

Next year the European Fine Art Fair celebrates its 25th anniversary from 16-25 March 2012.