Amsterdam, 16 Jumadil Awwal 1434/28 March 2013 (MINA) – Reflecting a growing interest in centuries-old treasures, Islamic art has found a place among world’s greatest pieces at Europe’s largest exhibition in the Netherlands.

“Islamic art in the West is a more and more important subject,” Sam Fogg, a London dealer who specializes in Christian and Islamic art, told Houston Chronicle. “We might sell Christian art to the Gulf; we do sell Islamic art to the Midwest,”  according to reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

Fogg is one of dealers attending the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in the Dutch city of Maastricht.

Divided into 265 booths, the exhibition host dealers from 20 countries with items ranging from hundreds to millions of Euro each. 

The fair features everything from Greco-Roman antiquities to hometown-favorite Rembrandts to contemporary sculptures and installations.

The new booths for Islamic art are seen breaking anti-Islam barriers built by far-right parties in the Netherlands.

“There are many concerns about Islam in many countries, so I don’t think it’s more relevant in Holland than in France, for instance,” Corinne Kevorkian, co-manager of Galerie Kevorkian, said.

“People are used to hearing many, many things about Islam which are not always very positive usually.” Though Islamic art occupied a major part of the fair twenty years ago, the case was changing nowadays.

“All of that either shrunk or disappeared altogether. The fair has become narrower,” Fogg said. “The fair gets larger and more professional … but I don’t think that it’s getting wider in the range of what it sells.”

Muslims make up one million of the Netherlands’s 16 million population, mostly from Turkish and Moroccan origin.

Growing Interest

The new exhibition follows the success of Islamic art galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which attracted 1 million visitors and the Louvre’s Islamic art galleries.

“The organizers have been conscious for at least a couple of years, maybe more, that there was really a lack in this field, in Islamic art, and that it was important to have exhibitors specialize in that field,” said Kevorkian, co-manager of Galerie Kevorkian.

The recent surge in Islamic art was due to the evolution of buyers, coming nowadays from the US and Europe. “The buyers of Islamic art, in my opinion, are not coming to Maastricht. Perhaps that will change,” Fogg said.

“There were some Middle Eastern buyers. I don’t think many. But they were buying for their London houses or their New York houses.” In September, Louvre museum uncovered a new wing of Islamic art, exhibiting 3,000 precious works from the 7th to the 19th centuries.

In October 2011, valuable unique Islamic treasures were exhibited at New York’s metropolitan museum which gathered the biggest Islamic art treasures in the world.(T/P012/P03)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)


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