Masterpiece London 2016 closes with strong sales, buoyed by new and international collectors
Masterpiece London’s seventh edition saw strong sales across all disciplines and attendance by new and international collectors. The fair’s success follows outstanding presentations by 154 exhibitors, with museum-quality art and design from thousands of years of cultural history. Exhibitors reported higher-than-ever collector presence and museum sales. The fair drew 37,000 visitors, including 8,000 for the preview alone. Principal sponsor Royal Bank of Canada continued as sponsor for the fair for the third consecutive year.
Nazy Vassegh, Chief Executive of Masterpiece London said ‘Masterpiece continued its strategy of elevation and evolution for the 2016 fair. The level of sales across all categories was testament to both the quality of works on show and the appreciation of collectors from around the world. London remains a key global art hub and Masterpiece feels established as the pinnacle of the city's summer art season.’
Collectors found the seventh edition to be the strongest yet. Christian Levett, Founder of the Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins and collector of antiquities, modern and contemporary art, commented ‘I thought it was a tremendous fair this year, where the stand design, the diversity and quality of artworks really stood out.’
New and established exhibitors
The fair welcomed major new exhibitors for this year in all disciplines, including Axel Vervoordt (Belgium), Tornabuoni (Italy), Dutko (France), Galerie Harmakhis (Belgium), Modernity (Sweden), Hélène Bailly Gallery (France), Wallace Chan (Hong Kong), Senger Bamberg Kunsthandel (Germany), Agnew’s (UK) and Stephen Ongpin (UK) amongst others. New exhibitors reported a unique atmosphere and a completely new collector audience.
Frederic Gille-Nocard, Director of Dutko Gallery commented ‘We were delighted to participate in Masterpiece for the first time this year. The fair has been extremely successful for us and the whole atmosphere was fantastic. From the organisation to the outstanding calibre of artworks displayed throughout the fair, everything was perfect. We are very much looking forward to coming back next year.’
Jacques Billen, Founding Director of Galerie Harmakhis, commented that ‘compared to the other fairs I exhibit at, Masterpiece has an entirely new audience. Highly important collectors have come through and we’ve been very pleased with the response’
Boris Vervoordt, Director of Axel Vervoordt Company, said ‘what's fantastic about Masterpiece is it attracts the most amazing people internationally. It has become a real destination'
Returning galleries also found the fair sales in 2016 to be stronger than ever. Lewis Smith, Director of Koopman Rare Art said ‘I've done double the amount of business compared to last year, and last year was a very good fair.’
Gregory Demirjian, Co-president of Ariadne Galleries commented ‘we have seen notable international sales, which I believe indicates that the global market shows no sign of slowing. This year’s Masterpiece shows the resilience of the art market in the UK, demonstrating that London continues to remain the capital of the art market.’
Museum attendance continued to be high at the fair, fostering academic dialogue between exhibitors and institutions and several sales. Luke Syson, Curator for European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art said 'Masterpiece provides the most elegant imaginable setting for serious treasure hunting. We were delighted to find two great pieces that will be seen in our new British galleries when they re-open in 2018.'
Tessa Murdoch, Deputy Keeper of Sculpture, Metalwork, Ceramics and Glass at the V&A said, ‘as always, Masterpiece London was a great opportunity to network and gain insights with collectors, dealers and museum colleagues. It was particularly thrilling to see up close the Tudor panel from Goodwood, an outstanding and high quality piece of craftsmanship with a fascinating provenance, attributed to the same sculptor as the 'Wolsey Angels' that the V&A recently acquired.’
Rupert Wace Ancient Art were pleased to report the sale of a Romano-Egyptian head of a King from the 1st century AD to an American museum. While Graham Southern, Founding Director of Blain|Southern, noted ‘this year I have noticed a rise in serious collectors from overseas and the quality of the museum patrons groups who came to the preview was especially high. We received significant interest from important museums, both in the UK and overseas, in our single work presentation of Lynn Chadwick, Howling Beast I, 1990.’
Sales were buoyant for new and returning exhibitors during the preview across categories.
M&L Fine Art sold their Enrico Castellani, Untitled (Superficie), 1961 for €700,000 EUR to a European private collection.
Ariadne Galleries sold an Egyptian Mummy Mask from Western Thebes, circa 664 - 525 BC for $500,000 USD
Modernity sold their Jens Jacob Bregnö standing clock from 1927 for £100,000 GBP.
Robilant + Voena sold a work by Korean artist Chun Kwang Young Aggregations 05-MAO18, 2005 for $160,000 USD Symbolic & Chase sold their JAR coloured sapphire and diamond brooch for a ‘seven figure’ sum.
Following the preview sales continued to be strong throughout the fair,
Rupert Wace Ancient Art sold a Romano-Egyptian black porphyry head of a King from the 1st century AD for £250,000 GBP to an American museum.
Tornabuoni Art sold two works by Paolo Scheggi to a new Brazilian collector, for a sum ‘close to a million pounds’
Osborne Samuel meanwhile sold a Kenneth Armitage Standing Figure, 1954 in bronze for £200,000 GBP and a Henry Moore drawing Three Women Winding Wool (The Three Fates), from 1948, for ‘high six figures’
The Fine Art Society sold Anne Redpath’s Grey and Pink Still Life, 1942 for £245,000 GBP
Exhibitors reported selling very well across the fair, with sales ranging from four figures through to seven-figure sums.
Notes to Editors
Masterpiece London is the leading international fair for art and design from antiquity to present day. It takes place at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, South Grounds each year in July.
The fair’s eighth edition will take place 28 June to 5 July 2017
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