Gauguin work on sale for 25 million euros at Dutch fair

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The Independent Online

The world's biggest antique fair opened its doors Friday to collectors and the curious in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht with a rare Paul Gauguin painting in the spotlight, organisers said.

Some 260 art and antiques dealers from 17 countries are to display nearly 30,000 paintings, sculptures, items of furniture, jewelry, porcelaine, clothes and manuscripts until March 21 at the European Fine Art Fair.

"We are expecting 70,000 visitors," said a spokeswoman for the organisers, Titia Vellenga. "All sorts of art lovers come to the fair - private collectioners, museums (and) interior designers."

In its 23rd year, the fair is this year featuring one of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin's last paintings.

"Les deux femmes" (The Two Women), painted in 1902 when the French painter was in Tahiti, is going for 18 million euros (25 million dollars).

A painting by Italian early-Renaissance painter Sandro Boticcelli is expected to fetch 11 million euros.

"We are optimistic for this year, the art market has been less affected by the economic crisis than other markets," Vellenga said.

She said that wealthy people have changed the way that they spend their money, opting for objects that can store value over the long-term like art rather than more frivilous items such as luxury cars and yachts.