Nanne Dekking has stepped down as the chairman of Tefaf's executive committee to be replaced by the Dutch-born Modern and contemporary art dealer Hidde van Seggelen, effective immediately. Van Seggelen, who has exhibited at Tefaf Maastricht since his debut in the Showcase section in 2010, will now oversee Tefaf's fairs in Maastricht and biannually in New York.
Five new members have also joined Tefaf's board of trustees, four of them women (female representation on Tefaf's board has previously been lacking): Alessandra di Castro, Laura Kugel, Filip Moerman, Catherine Walsh, Vanessa Wildenstein.
“Under the chairmanship of Dekking, important changes have been made in the organisation," a Tefaf spokeswoman says. "Dekking has built bridges between the teams in the Netherlands and the US, focusing on the next steps in digitalisation. Under his leadership, Tefaf implemented the most up to date and stringent vetting procedures that only allows external experts as voting members in the vetting committees."
She adds: "Dekking is the founder and chief executive of his own business called Artory. June 2020 marks the end of his term. Due to his overcommitted schedules, he has decided to step down.”
It has been a year of high-level departures from Tefaf, as its chief executive Patrick Van Maris resigned earlier this year and left at the end of May.
The decision to continue with the Tefaf Maastricht fair in early March, near the start of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe, caused controversy, particularly after the fair was shut down early when an exhibitor tested positive for the virus and a cluster of cases were subsequently reported by attendees.
But Dekking says his decision not to do a second term as chairman was unrelated to this controversy. "No, it has nothing to do with the Covid cases," he tells The Art Newspaper. "I made my reluctance to go ahead with the fair completely public and I agreed with the board decision to go ahead with the fair while following the guidelines of he health officials. That never created any any friction with the board." He adds that he is still "fully involved in all the board decisions in how to move forward under the current circumstances" but under these circumstances this position cannot be combined with running a business. He adds: "I was a transition chairman anyway, living in New York ensuring that the New York and Tefaf brand would fully align."
Dekking adds: "The last three years have been a magnificent time and I am proud of the milestones we have achieved together and the warm friendships that I developed. This is the moment to fully focus on my own business, Artory. I am delighted to hand over the reigns to Hidde van Seggelen and I can’t wait to see all of you at the opening of our November fair in New York."