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Mega-Art for Westchester?
by Brook S. Mason

A mega-international art show that would rival the European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF Maastricht) and open this coming October is planned by David Lester of the Florida-based International Fine Art Expositions. Lester hopes to mount the show in Westchester County on the SUNY campus in Purchase, N.Y., he told dealers at his Palm Beach International Art & Antique Fair on Sunday.

"Maastricht is the model for my fair," said Lester, who is aiming for between 135 and 150 dealers compared to the 190-dealer Dutch show. His movable tent will contain approximately 70,000-square-feet of exhibition space -- more than three times the size of the Seventh Regiment Armory's 20,000 square foot space and twice the size of Lester's current show in Palm Beach. TEFAF Maastricht, scheduled for Mar. 10-18, 2001, is Europe's oldest and most prestigious art fair.

New York dealer Richard Feigen will serve as co-chair of the event, now slated for Oct. 4-14. Dutch dealer Robert Noortman, who founded the Maastricht fair, has already pledged a multi-year commitment to the New York version.

While New York is an important market, it is a town served only by small specialty fairs," says Lester. He believes that the success of a fair is based on a critical mass of quality dealers and the large scale of his October event will mean he can implement a $2-million advertising budget.

Lester contends that the Purchase location, which is next door to the Westchester Airport, the largest such facility for private jets in the country, will attract clients internationally and from the Boston-Chicago-Washington, D.C., area. Limousine service will be available from the Carlyle and Pierre hotels as well as the Four Seasons restaurant in New York.

A dealers committee for vetting will be announced within the next 30 days.

BROOK S. MASON writes on the fine and decorative arts.

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