Tefaf New York Spring 2018
© Kirsten Chilstrom
The US-based art advisory and investment firm Artvest will sell its 49% ownership stake in Tefaf New York to The European Fine Art Foundation (Tefaf), the Dutch non-profit with which it co-founded the bi-annual fair. Effective immediately, the sale marks the end of a legal tug-of-war between the two entities following the termination of a two-year contract that brought the management of Tefafs New York fairs in-house last July.
The sale comes just a week before the third edition of Tefaf New York Spring is due to open at Manhattans Park Avenue Armory (2-7 May). Artvest owners Jeff Rabin and Michael Plummer partnered with the Dutch fair group to bring a version of the pre-eminent Old Masters Maastricht-based event stateside in October 2016, while expanding its client base with the creation of a more modern-focused Spring edition that launched in May 2017.
Though the terms of the sale are confidential, it brings the two fairs under complete ownership and direction of Tefaf. Plummer confirms that Artvest will no longer hold positions on the board or have any ongoing management or consulting affiliation with Tefaf New York, which he and Rabin maintained since the termination of the contract last summer.
“We were pleased at how quickly we were able to adapt the Tefaf brand to American sensibilities and how warmly it was embraced by both the global and local art communities,” Plummer says, adding that the fall and spring editions of the fair have quickly become “important cultural events as well as commercial ones” in New York.
Tefaf Maastricht had long sought a stronger US collector base, but the foundation lacked both an appropriate venue and time frame to insert itself into New Yorks already cramped roster of fairs. Artvest already owned existing art fairs, held in October and May, in the venerable (and coveted) Armory building.
In 2016, subsidiaries of both Artvest and Tefaf joined together to create Tefaf NYC for the express purpose of managing two new fairs in place of Artvests previous events. Plummer and Rabin supplied a value of $3m and $405,000 in cash to hold a minority stake of 49% and seats on the fairs board. According to the agreement, Artvest would receive a management fee of $24,000 per month and an annual rate of $400,000 with respect to the period commencing on 1 July 2016 and ending on 30 June 2018”, only to be extended at Tefafs “sole discretion”.
The tussle over ownership of the fairs started when, toward the end of the agreement, Tefaf sought a declaratory judgment from the New York Supreme Court to ensure it was under no legal obligation to employ Artvest for management services after that date. In response, Artvest sought a preliminary injunction to stop the Dutch fair group from terminating its management righRead More – Source