The revamping of Lisbon Art and Antiques Fair

 In Events

The Feira de Arte e Antiguidades de Lisboa, now the LAAF – Lisbon Art and Antiques Fair, returns to the Cordoaria Nacional and this year is more contemporary and international.

It is part of the international circuit and is the most famous and representative Portuguese art and antiques fair commemorating 25 years in 2020. In this year’s edition which runs between 6 and 14 April at the Cordoaria Nacional, and which Essential Lisboa is a media partner, the update is that the fair is having an international focus.
The organisation, the Portuguese Antiques Association (Associação Portuguesa dos Antiquários (APA)), aims for the fair to attract new international markets and publics, taking advantage of the growing number of overseas residents in Portugal. One of the first steps was a name change to the LAAF – Lisbon Arts and Antiques Fair as a way of “emphasising the openness to new gallery owners and visitors from various parts of the world, to contemporary art and new challenges”, says the APA. “One of our strategies was to change our name to reach an international public living in Lisbon (…) For the first time, we have tried to reach this public through our mailing lists. The contacts gallery owners who are members of the LAAF have gathered over time were shared with the APA so that these can be used in a more institutional way. I think that this way we can achieve our objective”, says Carlos Bessa Pereira of the Galeria Bessa Pereira (member) and one of the members of the LAAF.
The APA believes that “this change will strengthen the fair’s position and the place that it occupies in the international cultural and artistic landscape.” This edition will therefore feature four international exhibitors – Galeria F. Cervera Arqueología (Barcelona), Galerie PLA (Paris) and Montagut (Paris). “These days, for an art and antiques fair to be a success and enjoy continuity, you have to have international participants who act as an anchor and can draw in new publics”, says Carlos Bessa Pereira.
But the changes not only affect the internationalisation of the fair. The interlink with other artistic areas is also being highlighted at this 24th edition. From a list of 29 exhibitors, 40% are linked to other sectors which are not from the antique sector, as is the case of tribal art, design and contemporary art. These latter two will be backed up by an exhibition in partnership with Lisbon’s international design museum MUDE – Museu do Design e da Moda – Francisco Capelo Collection with 20 chairs that reflect the evolution of design in the XXth century. “With this hybrid mix of art worlds within the same fair we all stand to gain. Sometimes I think that many traditional antique dealers feel somewhat threatened by these new trends, but I think they were to analyse the situation they would reach the conclusion that it is more beneficial for everyone. It is something which I think can ensure the continuity of this antiques business”, says Carlos Bessa Pereira.
Another new aspect is the programme of “Curated Talks” Every day, at the end of the afternoon, the fair will have debates focusing on collecting in various areas and which will be conducted by a panel of four guest specialists such as collectors, museum directors, psychologists, architects among others, and a moderator.
At the end of this edition, the best stand and exhibit will be elected. “The selected piece will have nothing to do with its value or age, but rather its curiosity value”, says José Sanina, APA president.
With this raft of initiatives, the LAAF plans to be an event that is increasingly more open and diversified. “For us, what defines the fair is the number of visitors, new public and new galleries (…) If we can increase the number of visitors on last year (14,000) by 20% we’ll be extremely happy”, adds Carlos Bessa Pereira.
Considering this “the only event of its kind in Portugal with international rules, whereby all the pieces displayed go through a strict expert evaluation”, José Sanina says that this is the “core change that has been made so that the fair can continue.” In 2020 the fair will celebrate its Jubilee and aims that the fair will be even more attuned to an international dimension and audience with the presence of an invited overseas country.

LAAF – Lisbon Arts and Antiques Fair 2019 will be officially patronised by the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and the support of Lisbon City Council, Lisbon Tourist Board and Horta Osório Wines. It also has as partners the Naval Cultural Commission (Comissão Cultural de Marinha), the MNAA (Museum of Old Art), Friends of the Soares dos Reis Museum, SNBA (National Fine Arts Society) , DGPC (Directorate-General of Cultural Heritage) and floral artist Em Nome da Rosa and sponsorship from BPI.

List of exhibitors
Giefarte, Galeria Sete, Galeria Bessa Pereira, António Costa Antiguidades, J.Baptista, Isabel Lopes da Silva, João Ramada Antiguidades, Miguel Arruda Antiguidades, , Espadim1985, Carlos Carvalho Arte Contemporânea, José Sanina Antiquário, Manuel Castilho, PM Nachbaur Gallery, São Roque – Antiguidades e Galeria de Arte, Galeria São Mamede, TBF Fine Art, Ricardo Hogan Antiguidades, Ilídio Cruz, Manuela Verde Lírio, Objectismo, Isabel Lírio Cruz da Silva, D’Orey Azulejos e Antiguidades, Galeria Tapeçarias de Portalegre, Helder Alfaiate Galeria de Arte and Casa D’Arte. The international exhibitors present will be Galeria F.Cervera Arquelogia (Barcelona), Galerie PLA (Paris), Montagut Gallery (Barcelona) and Galerie Philippe Mendes (Paris).

LAAF – Lisbon Arts and Antiques Fair
6 to 14 April
Cordoaria Nacional de Lisboa
Av. da Índia

Opening times
Monday-Wednesday – 3pm to 9pm
Thursday to Saturday – 3pm to 11pm
Sunday – 12 Noon to 8pm.

€12 – Single
€20 – Double