Men attacked this Tuesday the window of a jeweler exhibiting at the largest art and antiques fair in the world, threatening passing visitors with their weapons. No work would have been stolen, but the security breach raises questions.
The videos circulating on Twitter are chilling. A man armed with a large hammer strikes in a shop window, surrounded by three men with glasses in smart suits who form a cordon sanitaire around this attack. This attempted robbery has just occurred in the hushed alleys of the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) Maastricht, the largest art and antiques fair in the world, where the wealthiest collectors flock. You can usually find the finest jewellery, antiques, archaeological pieces and master paintings prized by international buyers, both private and institutional.
Fair temporarily evacuated
It is obviously the stand of the English jeweler Symbolic & Chase that was attacked. According to the Dutch newspaper From Telegraaf, several visitors were also reportedly threatened with weapons, but it is unclear at this time whether firearms were used. The report of the assault was received by the emergency services around 11:40 a.m. “TEFAF has strict security procedures in place. That is why the fair was temporarily evacuated. Evacuated participants and visitors have now been allowed to return to the fair. TEFAF and the MECC [le Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Centre, qui héberge l’événement, ndlr] work closely with the authorities. We are not making any further announcements at this time.” reports a press release. No work would have been stolen.
The fair reopened to attendees and the public around 1 p.m., and police launched an investigation. How could such a security breach have happened? This is the question that arises when this world art meeting in Maastricht had already been singled out for a record number of Covid contaminations during the March 2020 edition. TEFAF generally attracts tens of thousands of visitors. It was eagerly awaited this year, where it brings together 242 dealers and covers 7,000 years of art history. After the opening to professionals on Friday, the beginnings had been promising in terms of sales, according to Art Daily, and only a few air conditioning problems had been pointed out so far.