One of the many highlights of this year's TEFAF Maastricht art fair will be a portrait by the revered Spanish artist Diego Velazquez (1599-1660).
The 10-day annual event opens today (March 15) and will showcase $5.1bn worth of artworks and jewellery presented by 265 exhibitors. It is set to attract more than 60,000 visitors, with many of them expected to flock towards the $14m Velazquez.
"Collectors, or more generally rich people, will continue to buy what the market considers are the best pieces. At fairs like TEFAF, they feel secure," commented art adviser Henry Bounameaux in an interview with Bloomberg.
The Velazquez is being offered by Otto Naumann, a New York-based dealer, who purchased it for $4.7m at Bonhams in December 2011. Should it sell at its $14m price tag, it will have displayed a return of 154.8% since the 2011 sale, displaying the potential of Velazquez's art.
The auction record for a Velazquez was set at $12.5m by a half-length portrait of Saint Rufina at Sotheby's in July 2007.
"I'm excited by TEFAF. My only worry is that there's a seemingly limited supply of fresh works at the moment, especially now that the auction houses are offering collectors the two options of public and private sales," Morgan Long, director of art investment at the London-based Fine Art Fund, told Bloomberg.
Also starring at TEFAF is a Faberge gold seal that incorporates the lead shot that almost killed Tsar Nicholas II in 1905. Sign up to our free weekly newsletter for more of the latest from across the auction world.