Current & Coming  |  By Carolin C. Young

BADA Antiques and Fine Art Fair

February 20, 2014  |  

Founded in 1918, the British Antique Dealers' Association (BADA) has long been the gold standard for such organizations and may be the most difficult to gain entrance to. It has, however, recently struggled with how best to refresh itself without compromising its strict requirements for quality and ethics.  

On the heels of the election of Michael D. Cohen of Cohen and Cohen as chairman of the council this past July, BADA has voted in a revolutionary new strategy to expand the organization's reach and reputation by ex­tending its membership to include dealers from outside the United Kingdom. This initiative will begin with invita­tions to a select group of American dealers in 2014, with the hope of expanding further over time.

Simultaneously BADA has elected to extend its param­eters to include a wider range of material, including modern and contemporary works. Cohen expects the qualifying guidelines for all dealers to follow the example of TEFAF Maastricht in requiring them to demonstrate that a significant proportion of their represented artists have works in recognized public collections.

In tandem with this, but in no way less important, Cohen emphasizes that BADA is aggressively working to reinforce the value of the accreditation that its name represents by creating a certificate of provenance.  Participating mem­bers will be issued a unique physical certificate for every ob­ject they sell that will testify to the fact that it has met with BADA's rigorous standards. However, the real key to this will be the development of a permanent database on the web­site where certificates can be checked and verified. 

Cohen's vision for the future includes longer range goals such as relocating BADA's headquarters to premises that might even offer exhibition space that out-of-town mem­bers could use on a short-term basis. However, he emphasizes that these innovations are intended to enhance rather than displace BADA's an­nual Antiques and Fine Art Fair, which this year will be held March 19 to 25, and will feature a fascinat­ing loan exhibition of fifty military portrait minia­tures. It was, he notes pointedly, the first fair, rough­ly twenty years ago, to be held in a temporary pavilion erected in London's chic Chelsea neighborhood. That Masterpiece and other new shows have followed suit demonstrates the ongoing relevance of such a venue. BADA Antiques and Fine Art Fair

Duke of York Square, off Sloane Square, London * March 19 - 25 *

Above: Giltwood sofa by Mayhew and Ince, English, c. 1775. Godson and Coles, London. 

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