A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Brussels thanks to a trip sponsored by the Belgian Tourist Office and BRAFA. BRAFA, for those who don't know (and I didn't know until quite recently), is the Brussels Antiques and Fine Arts Fair, a show that has been in existence for 55 years.
The show really was quite impressive. There was 20th c. furniture, 18th c. clocks, ancient African art, contemporary art, porcelain, and silver. There were booths with simple backdrops against which the art and antiques were the stars, while others were decorated like rooms- chic rooms, mind you. I'll stop talking now because words really can't do the show justice. You've just got to see the pieces for yourselves.
Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about this beautiful chandelier. Still, it was too fetching not to show. (Mullendorf Antiques)
It's that metal buckled strap that absolutely makes this mirror. In this photo and the one below, you can see the gorgeous wooden paneled walls. These were made in the 1920s for a reception room of the "Compagnie Maritime Belge" and were inspired by the Congo. The frieze at the top is carved with African motifs. (Mullendorff Antiques)
I was so taken with the shape of these chairs, and that blue velvet looks fantastic next to those red nesting tables. (Mullendorf Antiques)
One of my favorite booths at the show, Gerald Watelet's (shown in the three photos above) is one that I think especially appeals to those with a design bent. The vignettes were meant to evoke a stylish woman's pied à terre.
I realize that the garden stool craze has run its course, but I was really tempted by these tasseled blue and white stools. I also think the planter in the second photo is pretty terrific.
Another favorite booth was that of Jacques Nève . Truth be told, I've never thought a great deal about antique clocks...until I saw these beauties. The first example, an au bon sauvage mantel clock, is "L'Amerique" (French, c. 1799-1803) and depicts America as a native woman with a feather headdress and skirt and a crocodile amongst her feet. Note too the palm tree. You should visit Mr. Nève's website because I think you'll become as smitten with these clocks as I.
I guess I should have taken notes because I can't remember the purpose of these acanthus leaves with cherub faces. I do know, though, that they were made of gleaming sterling silver.
A gold and gem encrusted statue by Johann Friedrich Kohler, Dresden, c. 1720
A vignette at Axel Vervoordt.
I think it was this console's snakeskin top that caught my eye. (Galerie Jean-Jacques Dutko)
At first glance I thought this was a screen, but then I noticed the ring pulls. This folding door is by Pierre Dunand, c. 1950. (Galerie Jean-Jacques Dutko)
I had to take a photo of this painting as it reminded me Billy Baldwin's famous dog painting.
A most unusual peacock chair.
The booth of Honourable Silver Objects was another that was decorated with vignettes. This shot makes me want to go tablescape something.
(For more information on BRAFA, please visit their website. To learn more about visiting Belgium, go to the Belgian Tourist Office's site.)
All photos by Jennifer Boles