Coronavirus fears shut Dutch top world fine art fair

Agence France-Presse . The Hague | Published: 00:00, Mar 13,2020


A visitor uses disinfecting hand gel at the main entrance of the ‘European Fine Art Fai’ (TEFAF) in Maastricht, on March 6, 2020. — AFP photo

One of the world’s premier fine art fairs was cut short in the Netherlands on Wednesday, hours after it was revealed that one of its exhibitors tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The European Fine Art Fair, commonly known as TEFAF and held in the southern city of Maastricht, decided to shut its doors four days ahead of schedule for the first time in its 32-year history.

‘Given the recent developments in the regions around Maastricht and increasing concerns, we no longer feel it is appropriate to continue as planned,’ said the head of TEFAF’s board of trustees, Nanne Dekking. The announcement comes hours after TEFAF revealed that one of the exhibitors had tested positively for the coronavirus on Monday.

‘The exhibitor was as the fair from Thursday to Saturday and was not showing symptoms at the fair and therefore did not cause a health risk for visitors or anyone working at the fair,’ TEFAF said.

According to the Dutch health authorities, ‘the exhibitor was not contagious during his time in TEFAF,’ it added.

‘While the health advice of the authorities in the immediate region has not changed, we understand the situation in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries is changing,’ TEFAF continued.

‘We also take into account the growing concern of exhibitors, visitors and staff and ever-growing difficulties regarding travel and transport,’ it said.

Some 503 people were now infected with coronavirus in the Netherlands and five have died, Dutch health authorities said on Wednesday.

First held in 1988, TEFAF is widely regarded as the world’s premier fine arts fairs and features 285 exhibitors from 22 different countries.

Among this year’s highlights were an 1891 oil painting by Edgar Degas, entitled ‘Three Dancers in Yellow Skirts’, and Vincent van Gogh’s 1885 oil painting, ‘Peasant Woman in front of a Farmhouse’. 

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