Going back in time: Daniel Gould’s 3D List, Art in Amsterdam #54


PAN is celebrating its 25th edition of offering art, antiques and design---furniture, glass, ceramics, jewelry---to lovers of fine objects, collectors and just your average run of the mill connoisseur. The works on displays begins with examples from 300 B.C. ethnographic to today's avant garde paintings...And everything in between.

It is a big fair with 125 exhibitors, but still manageable to see everything in three or four hours. Last year more than 45,000 people attended the nine day event; that number dwarfs the totals for ArtAmsterdam. Needless to say, it is impossible to describe every dealer's offering, but here is an overview; and since the 3D List is mostly concerned with art, the emphasis is on that. And, as 3D says every year, this is a fair where you come with the expressed purpose to dream. So come along with me and dream a little dream or two as we meander through the glamorous aisles that constitute PAN. 

At the entrance, you are met with a stunning array of jewelry, objects and paintings. And the PAN always commissions a designer to do an interior decorative theme which is generally expressed with the carpeting. This year is no exception; and the flooring is covered with a vibrant and colorful square pattern. Each square (120x120 cms.) is a monochromatic cobalt blue, magenta red, canary yellow or Royal Dutch orange. 

Also, every year, returning galleries are offered the option of maintain their previous position in the giant hall. So, if you have been a habitual visitor over the years, you will know your way around without needing a floor plan---which is, of course, available. At the entrance, and on the right is Kunsthandel A.H. Bies (Eindhoven) with a range of oil paintings from the 18th century to early 20th century. And to the left, there is Salomon Studel Antiquites (Amsterdam) with classical Dutch furniture, porcelain, silver and clocks. And next next door is the booth for Salomon Lilian (Amsterdam) where you can see a Jan Steen oil on offer at 1.8 million euro. 

New, this year, is a circular vitrine that, as you enter, you find yourself on a collision course with it. It is something very special. It contains 25 tiaras and diademens. They represent a time period range of 2,300 years---the earliest is from the 3rd century B.C. and is Greek. They are from the collections of Mellerio dits Meller (Paris), ABN Amro, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Allard Pierson Museum (Amsterdam) and various private collections. (There is a catalog, for the exhibition, and it contains 16 pages describing each piece on display.) 

A little further on is Aronson Antiquaries (Amsterdam) which will make any Dutch dairy farmer droll. The dealer features a wall of Delft Blue porcelain cows all from the 18th century; a total of 24; and all in mint condition. Amazing! 

I think it is only at PAN that you can encounter an antiquarian dealer like Jan Roelofs (Amsterdam)---showing objects from the 16th century and a contemporary painting featuring a pretty lady, in a red lace bra, that measures 245x145 cms. On a table, along the back wall, is an 16th century Mondonna sitting beneath a 1960s abstract painting....Almost directly across the aisle is art work from the Madalon Eekels Kunsthandel (Blaricum) with avant garde paintings spanning the 20th century. Most notable are several works by Karin van Leyden (1906-1877) and Jan Roëde (1914-2007). 

And what Dutch person doesn´t have concerns about the weather? Well, you do need a barometer. Check out Fontijn Antiek (Purmerend) that is displaying 80 examples from 1720 to 1860, both Dutch and English... Need a rug for the hallway? Try N. Vrouyr (Antwerp) they have just the thing with a beautiful cross selection of Art Deco rugs from the early 20th century made in Holland, Belgium and Finland.

For the lovers of realistic art don´t miss Lieve Hemel´s large display of their gallery´s artists. This is perhaps the most successful gallery in Amsterdam if only because it has been in business since 1969 and at the direction of the same person. You will see miniatures to average size canvases. And realism comes in several forms ranging from those with impressionistic overtones to hyper realism. You will see examples of all of them. Expect cows, still lifes, flowers, vegetables, figurative...Well, just everything...Nearby Tom Okker shows an exceptional overview of the COBRA school. 

3D won't even try to begin describing the wonders of design art you will see at "Priveekollektie: Contemporary Art/Design" (Heusden aan de Maas). Check out the surreal-like wall table made in Paris....And there is even Australian Aboriginal Art at Leslie Smith (Amsterdam). Examples from the traditional to "avant garde."... Three very nice etchings by Louis I'cart (1888-1951) hang above Art Deco glass work and end tables at Galerie Tiny Esveld (Antwerp) along with lamps by Gallé and Daum...Across the way is Hutei Japanese Prints (Leiden) that not only exhibits traditional Japanese prints from the 19th century but includes contemporary Japanese print work as well. Look for the Yasui Sotaro (1888-1955) piece that's style is Pop School before there was a Pop School. Cool!...More Art Deco pieces can be seen at Antes Art 1900 which features lamps by Charles Schneider (1858-1935) and both Nancy and Louis Daum. 

Carla Koch presents an exceptional range of ceramic work. Check out Barbara Naning's glass work that comes both in monochromatic white and b/w. It is to representational as Alice in Wonderland is to reality...E. Pranger Oriental Art (Amsterdam) begins with figurative clay pieces from 200 A.D. to the 19th century...Wonderwood (Amsterdam) began with a collection of vintage plywood and that still remains as a primary criteria. But the gallery has evolved into one that shows contemporary plywood to art and sculpturing that compliments it. At PAN they are featuring the work of Joroen Henneman...Kunsthandle Frans Jacobs (Amsterdam-Paris) has gone to the dogs. Literally! They feature eight canines represented as avant garde sculpture pieces. Hey, I was told that they come "house broken" and at no extra cost. 

Galerie Willy Schoots (Eindhoven) shows three works by Willem Hussem as well as Jef Diedren, Armando and seven works by Raquel Maulwurf....Art Affairs (Amsterdam) offers several works of the 60s Zero movement. Most examples are in monochromatic white....Several pieces by the international acclaimed artist Christo are showing at MDZ Art Gallery (Knokke) along with COBRA work....Gallery Jaski (Amsterdam) presents an excellent overview of artists represented by the gallery. Included are several works by members of the COBRA school...Witzenhausen Gallery (Amsterdam-New York) emphasizes their photographic artists...Studio 2000 (Blaricum) covers the traditional artists of the early 20th century. From the notables to lesser known...Gallery Willem Kerseboom (Amsterdam) specializes in contemporary Chinese and Indonesian artists. Expect to see Chinese who emulate the Pop School and there is even a work that brings to mind Jackson Pollak, but with Asian nuances. In addition, on display, for the fair, is an eastern European abstract work by Xanti Schawinsky done in 1927...

Eduard Planting Fine Art Photography (Amsterdam) exhibits a wide range of styles from Chinese contemporary to avant garde to classical inspired to "art" photography. Still lifes and flowers are also available. A few b/w pieces on display...Galerie Ron Mandos (Amsterdam) shows a pot-pori of their gallery' represented artists. That means that there is a wide variety of both styles and techniques. Work from "Artist Anonymous" (a London/Berlin collective), Katinka Lampe, Silva B, Anthony Goicolea and Bouke de Vries are to be seen.

Well, as I said, this is only an overview. So much more to be seen and there is only one way for you to do so: GO!!! You have until Sunday the 27th of November, but do try and avoid the weekend dates since the crowds can be suffocating. Readers will note that I have excluded prices with the lone exception of the Jan Steen. 3D has done so because in your dreams the cost should be irrelevant...And that is as it should be. So, come to PAN and dream, dream and dream on

From Sunday 20th November to Sunday 27th November @ the RAI. 

Entry: 15.00 euro.

CJP or 65+: 12.50 euro

12 to 18 years old: 7.50. (children to 12, FREE.)

Catalog: 12.50 and well worth the price. 340 pages of high quality reproductions on glossy paper. .


Perhaps 3D should title this: In Search of the Elusive Lobster. A year ago, I wrote a rather scatting review of what I had once considered an outstanding Amsterdam' restaurant that specialized in fish and sea food. It had been a special occasion and I had ordered the lobster which turned out to be a "chicken" lobster which is the smallest legal one allowed to be harvested. It was, to say the least, a disappointment. This year---same spacial occasion---I tried a relatively new fish/sea food restaurant and one that Johannes van Dam had rated at 10. Wow! That's saying something. An advert, I saw, said "that Bridges is all about fish...always in season...with a French twist." 

BRIDGES (Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197; the Grand Hotel), promotes not only the quality of its ingredients but also the fact that the chef, Aurélien Poirot, "only adds few ingredients to the fish, thereby leaving the taste and character of the fish as pure and light as possible." Indeed, there was neither salt nor pepper on the table. I like that approach. 

As I passed through the entrance, a very attractive lady seemed to emerge from out of no-where. I was asked, "Do you have a reservation?" And I excused myself by pointing out that since it was a Monday I assumed I would not need one. "No problem" and she asked "How many?" 

My mouth was watering for lobster. Since that disappointing event a year ago, I felt the need to try once again to satisfy the salivary glands and craving. I was handed the menu and had also pre-decided that, for a starter, I would have lobster bisque. Hey, an orgy of lobster...Life doesn't get any better. Whooops! Under soup there was no lobster bisque. Well, I'll get back to the soup; maybe have a non-soup starter. And there, under "starter's," I saw it: "Lobster, 1/2 @ 23 euro." Uh oh! I went to the entree section and quickly scanned that. No lobster as an entree. That was ominous. Suspicion entered my mind and when the waiter came to take my order I said, "I only see lobster as a starter. Does that mean it's a chicken lobster?" He replied that it was from Canada. I skipped the culinary lesson and asked him how much the whole lobster weighed. He said he would check with the kitchen. The reply was plus or minus 500 grams. Damn, another chicken lobster. Well, I said I would need more time to study the menu. 

It is a good listing and even includes several varieties of caviar---if you are wont to pay the price. I was asked if I would like a pre-dinner drink and requested sparkling water instead. I was served a half litre bottle of Badoit and at room temperature. I prefer it cold. Perhaps offering a choice would be a nice option. Shortly, thereafter, I was served an "amuse" (sampling) consisting of cold scallops covered with sea salt and sesame seeds and three cold mussels. Tasty, but not mind blowing. But a second serving of an amuse did get my attention. It was a complex dish of "salty vegetables" which I have had no previous acquaintance, a mild horseradish mousse, marinated mackerel sitting atop a sweet potato jelly. The flavors were great though the sweet potato jelly was overwhelmed and not determinable. Overall, very good!

I had decided to have a soup over a cold or warm starter and selected the bisque of Velvet Crab with Cappuccino of Coffee (@ 14.00 euro). I was curious about the combination. I mean, I like crab and I like coffee. But, together? According to the menu, the restaurant's sommelier suggested a Chablis Vieilles Vignes, Hamlin, Yonne, Bourgogne (@ 8 euro) as a perfect compliment. Well, the soups broth was rich in cream with a good coffee flavor but, unfortunately, it over-powered the delicate flavors of the crab. I came away with mixed opinions, but knew I wouldn't be asking for it again. And, now that I think about it, ironically it was a combination that the restaurant's promotion said it would avoid. To wit: "only add few ingredients...leaving the taste and character as pure and light as possible." However, the cold crisp white wine was a good recommendation. 

For the main course, I had selected Monkfish with Baby Clams (@34.00 euro). And good news, the fish was succulent and cooked perfectly. The clams were more of an after thought but went down easy. Shimeji mushrooms swam innocently in broth that burst with flavors. Broad beans and palourcle pasta with black garlic floated at the bottom of the plate. The garlic was so understated that it was neutral. I was licking my lips after finishing. I had decided to stay with the menu's selection for a compatible wine and the Pieropan, Souve Classic, Vento (@ 9.00 euro) proved it to be the right recommendation. 

From time to time, a server came by each table with a bread basket. While the bread was good, it was not exceptional and a nice touch would have been to offer it warmed. 

Dessert! The crowning touch. Do all quality restaurants---even the wannabees---do exceptional desserts these days? Hey, no complaints from yours truly. I do have a sweet tooth; or perhaps, more accurately, a tooth for a rich tasting ambrosia. I ordered the Chocolate Fondant and got more than I had expected. A fondant is like a miniature souffle. This one was luscious with chocolate flavors and had the lightness of a lazy cloud on a warm summer afternoon. A small scoop of mocha ice cream on a thin wafer made me wish for more. Then there was a small scoop of mocha mousse which didn't take a backseat to anything. A smear of caramel, on the plate, was just a teaser. We want more! And, if that's not enough to send you into ecstasy, there was a five centimeter long stick of chocolate fudge caramel. And just enough to let you know, you had had enough! (@ 14.00). I had passed on the dessert wine that was recommended but, in the end, decided that that had been a mistake. It would have definitely intensified the taste and detectability of everything. 

As I said, at the beginning, Johannes van Dam is quoted, in one of the restaurants adverts, as awarding his meal a 10 on the one to 10 scale. I don't do numbers, but if I were I would rate my experience an 8.5. Well, after all, it was a Monday night. Perhaps the kitchen had not got into the swing of things. Definitely a restaurant I would eat at again. You can dress casually; and a young couple, with a three month old baby, sat across from me. The ambiance is cozy while contemporary modern at the same time.

Total Bill: 84.00 euro