as a lifelong auction groupie and bargain hunter, my first experience of PAN Amsterdam posed little threat to my liquidity; even if i had thought of it i would probably only have been able to afford some self-control. ‘serious’ is the word here… more than the word, in fact it’s the theme; in body and spirit. clearly the name ‘pan amsterdam’ has no reference to the happy satyr or the boy from neverland but rather to a ‘serious’ organisation called: pictura antiquairs nationaal. welcome to the house of frown.
well organised, without anyone of the seventy thousand white orchids out of place, the show had some spectacular prices, i mean pieces, but what was more interesting was the unsettling seriousness. a revered quiet whispered through the whole venue, interrupted only by the mastication at one of the six restaurants (clearly the most popular and affordable part of the event). my eye was continuously drawn to the eloquent displays, not only of the participating stands but the visitors. there were the ill tempered old monied style who dressed in what looked like something from the late brooke astor’s closet, the menacing mid-forties nouveau types with their emphasis on hair and heels and some powdery poofs in their late seventies with stern looks of disapproval and gnarly bejewelled hands waving dismissively as if to say: we already have too many picasso’s. it was like a poignant post-war pantomime of ‘be your best’ in the shadow of the 1958 portrait of madame agnelli by kees van dongen.
it’s not often that i feel underdressed but i was definitely unprepared, i was also not prepared for the fact that the show had such a large selection of contemporary art and design.
a particularly good thing was the fact that there weren’t the usual rush of people and since photography was not allowed, one could in many cases take your time to look at museum quality pieces unobstructed, altogether well displayed and with informative descriptions and provenance. not at all like my recent museum experiences. so between the entertainment and delightful mix of modern and antique, i must say it all made for quite an insightful visit.

david bielander’s gold bracelets

a photographic work from lita cabellut

ralph bakker’s magic necklace

ndebele table by melchior van dansik

illustrator martin jarrie’s carte marine

carolina wilcke’s bureau baritone

a bronze by frode bolhuis

a wall sculpture by reinhoud oudshoorn

pauline wiertz’s cucumber and gold collier

an arredoluce floor lamp attributed to ettore sottsass

detail of a ceramic wall installation by carolein smit

annelies planteijdt’s gold necklace