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Zurich hosts art and antiques show

The logo for the arts and antiques fair.

Looking for a Louis XVI commode, a Directoire dining table or a Bauhaus chair? The Art and Antique Show in Zurich is the place to be.

A total of 50 exhibitors are displaying their wares to some 15,000 prospective purchasers, who will walk through between now and the show's end on Sunday.

Among the stalls one can find French modernist art, Bauhaus dining chairs and French renaissance furniture. However, Swiss furniture also features prominently.

"There are several galleries with Swiss prints as well as classical antique dealers with Swiss furniture," said George Siegal President of the Swiss Art and Antique Show.

Swiss furniture has suffered somewhat from a rather rustic chalet style image, but the stands at the fair show how unfair that image is.

Siegal explained that in the 17th and 18th centuries canton Berne had four army regiments stationed in France. Generals returning home would bring with them ideas and fashions from across Europe.

"In Basel, Zurich and Geneva merchants were also travelling across the continent. This meant Swiss design at that time was very contemporary," he added.

Also among the dealers' stalls is the Art Loss Register. This London-based organisation has the biggest database of plundered and stolen works of art. It is offering dealers and purchasers a SFr10 per item search to check whether or not pieces are registered as stolen or missing.

The items on display are not cheap, but Siegal says that does not mean a visitor cannot make a good bargain.

"If you have a good eye you can find good buys, but you must be willing to talk with the dealers," he said.

The show started out in Berne at the Bellevue Hotel in 1959, but grew to such an extent that only the Messe in Zurich could contain it, which is where it has been held for the past eight years.

The 41st Art and Antique Show runs from until Sunday, May 21 at the Zurich Messe.

by Tom O'Brien

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