Richard Knight, Christie International Co-Chairman of Old Masters and 19th Century Art, was joint chairman of the fair for two years before moving on to Christie’s and was responsible for helping to set up the vetting system.
“One of the things I was responsible for was deciding that we would have no exhibiting dealers on the vetting committee, which now comprises all museum professionals,” he said.
“This is all designed to give confidence to the clients, who know that what they’re going to buy will have been vetted by the most professional people in the market today,” he continued.
This comprehensive vetting system also helps insulate the fair from rumblings in the financial markets.
“One of the lovely things about the standard of the fair is that dealers vet themselves before they even go because they know that a fair that isn’t of the highest standard is not frankly in this present market going to suit their best interests,” said Knight.
And exhibiting a broad range of fine arts and antiquities from across the world guarantees an international roster of clients.
In 2011 alone, TEFAF drew over 70,000 visitors from 55 countries and the fair organizers are expecting to see more and more Chinese and Brazilian visitors to the fair in future.
“There is quite a positive mood in the art market,” said Vellenga.
“People are still buying art and they see it as an alternative asset but they really want high quality and that’s what they can find at TEFAF,” she said.