Before Masterpiece London opens next week, we invite you to explore highlights of the Fair from exhibitors on Artsy. Visit the Online Preview to enquire about works for sale now, and to learn more about this year’s exhibiting galleries.
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Image: Coffee Table, 1876, Edward William Godwin, made by William Watt, London, Venezualan mahogany, brass. Courtesy of Oscar Graf.
Wolf Burchard is Associate Curator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where he is responsible for British furniture and decorative works of art. He was previously Furniture Research Curator at the National Trust.
Oscar Graf is an expert on French, British and American furniture and works of art from 1870 to 1914. He established his eponymous gallery in Paris in 2010, and is opening a second gallery in London in June 2019.
What first sparked your interest in this field?
Wolf Burchard: My mother always claims that my interest in the fine and decorative arts stems from the fact that the day I was born, the ambulance that picked her up and drove her to the hospital in Paris took a detour, and that the first thing I saw was the skyline of the Château de Versailles – which isn’t entirely accurate, because I was born seven hours later in hospital. But it is true that throughout my childhood, living in France, I took a great interest in French chateaux and loved visiting them.
I was always interested in the different aspects of interiors – the painting, architecture, furniture, sculpture, tapestries, carpets and so on – and I realised while studying art history that a lot of people weren’t interested in furnishings and decorative arts at all, and that it would be a good niche to fill. When I did my PhD, I deliberately chose to work on Charles Le Brun because he had used all these different media, and I thought that versatility might help me when it came to looking for curatorial jobs. I’m not wedded to one particular country or one particular type of object: when I worked for the Royal Collection I was in the paintings department; at the National Trust I worked primarily on continental furniture, and now at the Met I’m in charge of British art.
Oscar Graf: It’s funny that you mention Versailles, because my father used to work there as a young architect, just after he graduated. It was always a very important place for me: we used to go there every weekend. But I went on to study something completely different. I was going to be a conductor, but of course that didn’t work out – I soon realised that I wasn’t as talented as my friends.
I started coming to London – I spoke pretty good English and loved the city – and visiting a few dealers, which developed into a real passion when I was 19 or 20. I began buying a few things, bringing them back to Paris in a small bag – the only things that fitted were Benson lights, hall lights, chandeliers, lamps. So it started with Arts and Crafts lighting and then moved into furniture, too, and a broader range of decorative arts. Today, 80 per cent of my focus is still on British Arts and Crafts – it’s been a passion for 10 years.
How dynamic is this field at the moment, in terms of research and exhibition-making?
Wolf Burchard: The community of decorative arts historians is extremely dynamic! But it is also much smaller than, say, the community of historians of Old Master paintings. Many decorative arts’ subjects remain uncharted territory. Specialists who are doing the legwork just establishing facts are extremely important; to some people this may appear old-fashioned, because these experts may not always go into wider sociological and political contexts, but if they didn’t focus on gathering data, any broader interpretation would stand on a rather weak base. What’s exciting is that over the last decade, there have been many new publications on specialist subjects. It’s wonderful that there are publishing houses, museums and private donors who are supporting publications of this kind.
There have recently been some very well-researched exhibitions at institutions like the Wallace Collection and the Frick, and indeed at the Met. In 2017 the Wallace mounted a show on gilt-bronze mounts, and it’s now preparing a very important exhibition on Jean-Henri Riesener – a brilliant partnership with Waddesdon Manor and the Royal Collection. Riesener is a such central figure in 18th-century furniture-making, and yet until recently we hardly knew anything about him.
Oscar Graf: I was very inspired, just as I was getting started as a dealer, by ‘The Cult of Beauty’, an exhibition about the Aesthetic Movement that travelled from the V&A to the Musée d’Orsay in 2011. I saw just how much people in Paris were interested in the material – and I discovered that the Orsay has an important collection of British Arts and Crafts objects, too.
More recently, there have been three important shows on my period: ‘In Search of Style: 1850–1900’ at the Landesmuseum Zürich, then a big exhibition on William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement in Madrid and Barcelona, and an exhibition at the Bröhan-Museum in Berlin, which traced the prehistory of the Bauhaus from British Arts and Crafts onwards. I’ve been surprised by how far the interest in Arts and Crafts has spread beyond Britain and France.
Do you worry that the general public sees decorative arts as an elitist or rarified field?
Wolf Burchard: I don’t think decorative arts should be considered in any way more elitist than the fine arts. We’re talking about objects that are in a way much more relevant to daily life today than an Old Master painting with an allegorical depiction would be. They are often functional objects, even if elaborately adorned, and they reveal the interconnection between developments in design and technology, which is relevant to all of us today. Of course, most of us do not live surrounded by Meissen and Sèvres porcelain, but nor do we all have a Titian or Van Dyck at home.
Oscar Graf: It is true that for any period of decorative arts, what we consider to be the best or most important pieces were mostly made for an elite. What’s interesting in my field, with the Arts and Crafts Movement, is that it developed very differently from what had come before: William Morris wanted ordinary people to benefit from good design, and for designers to be in constant contact with the workers during the production process – which is why he was so drawn to the medieval period in the 1850s and ’60s, to what he saw as its pre-industrial freedoms. His success meant that he ended up working for an elite, but the basic theory was that everyone could benefit from his work, which is not the case for other fields.
Wolf Burchard: The objects I study are extremely exciting, and I want to convey that to as broad an audience as possible. I think that some of my peers, other decorative arts curators, may benefit from being a little bit more confident in their approach: be passionate about the object and don’t take an apologetic approach in which you take that object and try to make it more interesting by adding a far-fetched interpretative layer to it. The challenge, I think, is to put objects in the right context and make the right comparisons. With a highly elaborate Sèvres vase from the 1750s, an astounding technical feat, for instance, it’s important to remind people that European porcelain was only invented 40 years earlier, and explain how dozens of people were involved in making this object without any of the tools that we have today. You must communicate why you think this is such an amazing object.
Oscar Graf: What is interesting about decorative arts, maybe more than any other field, is that the objects are more faithful to the exact living style in any period – any year, by the fin de siècle – than other kinds of art. If you take a piece that was made in 1900, say a Mackintosh chair, that is exactly what the original buyer lived with in that year, what he sat on, the style he showed his guests. It took longer for the paintings made in that year to become fashionable. Decorative arts are what people have lived with: they feel very immediate to me.
How is that immediacy best conveyed, in terms of the material qualities of objects?
Wolf Burchard: Obviously museums can’t allow everyone to handle everything. The Met is very good in organising visits for the blind, with object handling, which is possible because it’s such a large collection. The V&A has done a very good job with the Dr Susan Weber Gallery [of furniture] in recreating some of the chairs, with their different backs, so that it becomes an immersive experience where you feel what it’s like to sit on some of them, and you have samples so you can touch different types of wood and metal surfaces. I sometimes wonder about tactility, though: all of us know what glass or ceramics feel like. It is the weight of some of these objects that might surprise the visitor and should probably be conveyed, together with their measurements.
Oscar Graf: Most people know what what a teapot feels like, it’s true. The real difference between most historical and contemporary objects is design. It’s important to convey how strikingly different that has been.
Has the collector base for this material changed in the past decade?
Oscar Graf: When I started I thought that most of my clients would always be from older generations ¬– which was fine, of course – but to my surprise there have been a number of younger new clients. I won’t lie to you, they’re not all 20. It takes time to understand a field, and most people at the start of their careers don’t have a lot of disposable income to spend on art. Collecting is an evolution of thought.
Wolf Burchard: The comparison between private collecting and museum collecting is very interesting. Private collectors have become much more diversified. There aren’t so many collectors today who say ‘I’m only interested in 18th-century France’; you can collect 19th-century British ceramics as well as, say, 20th-century photography. So it’s up to museum departments to ‘stay focused’ as it were. Generally I think that, when it comes to decorative arts, a museum of art, rather than anthropology, should be very careful about where it draws the line with regards to quality. As is true of paintings or sculpture, a high-class museum should aim for the uppermost tier of objects, even if we are talking about candle sticks or a tea cup.
Could museums and the art trade collaborate more effectively in this
Oscar Graf: They do already a lot. Dealers are always very proud to sell works to museums, of course, but the relationship is not as imbalanced as I thought it would be when I started out. I had a piece at an art fair recently that had been reserved by a museum, and in the first two days of the fair, many curators from that museum – the sculpture curator, the prints and drawings curator, a contemporary art curator – came to see it. They were all very interested to see what their colleague was acquiring for the museum. For me that was an amazing feeling.
Wolf Burchard: When I look at myself and my contemporaries in the museum world, most of us went to university for a long time and have new ideas about decorative arts. But most of us don’t always have much experience in looking at and handling objects. This is really something where we rely on the conversation with our colleagues in the trade, in auction houses and galleries, who – at the same age – have been handling a much wider array of objects, of different qualities, and for many years. Of course, for museums those relationships need to be nurtured with great care, but ultimately, all we want is to share information and our passion for great objects.
London’s iconic restaurants and bars Le Caprice, Scott’s Seafood & Champagne Bar, The Ivy Chelsea Brasserie and The Sloane Street Deli are all represented at the Fair.
The booking lines for Le Caprice and The Ivy Chelsea Brasserie are now open:
Le Caprice at Masterpiece
Reservations: +44 (0)7741 628 165
The Ivy Chelsea Brasserie
Reservations: +44 (0)7741 628 166
Why not treat yourself or a friend this summer? Masterpiece is offering a special offer with Le Caprice for a fabulous day at the Fair...
Enjoy a 3-course meal for two and a bottle of wine at the Fair's Le Caprice Restaurant between 29 June and 3 July for only £160. This package offers exceptional value and includes two General Admission tickets, valued at £77.
Once booked online, you will be put in touch with the Masterpiece reservations team who will endeavour to accommodate your preferred date and time.
Book your Le Caprice Dining Package
Image: Untitled: pompoms 2, 2011, Phyllida Barlow (b. 1944), fabric, paper, dimensions variable, photo: Alex Delfanne; courtesy Hauser & Wirth; © the artist
“I’ve never bought into the idea of looking at sculpture from just one viewpoint. What makes sculptures different from paintings is that they can be walked around and looked at from 360 different viewpoints, where each one slightly contradicts the next”
Masterpiece Presents provides a platform for innovative, immersive works of art at the entrance to the Fair. This year we are proud to showcase a sculptural installation by Phyllida Barlow, in conjunction with Hauser & Wirth, referencing the supersized ‘pom-pom’ works she first developed in the 1990s.
One of Britain’s leading contemporary female artists, Phyllida Barlow is well-known for using found materials like plaster, cardboard and cement, which turn the conventions of traditional sculpture on their head.
Barlow represented Britain at the 2017 Venice Biennale and currently has an acclaimed solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts until 23 June 2019.
Image: Lamentation, Naples, c. 1520, Circle of Bartolomé Ordóñez (c.1485-1520), Alabaster, 33 x 23 cm. Courtesy of Lullo • Pampoulides.
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer is Head of European Art Department and Elizabeth and Allan Shelden Curator of European Paintings at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Her recent projects include ‘The Medici’s Painter: Carlo Dolci and 17th-Century Florence’, which she curated at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, MA, and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC, in 2017–18.
Andreas Pampoulides is an expert on sculpture and works of art, and (with Andrea Lullo) co-founder of Lullo • Pampoulides, a specialist dealership based in Mayfair that focuses on master paintings and sculpture.
How did you come to specialise in this field?
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer: I realised I wanted to go into art history, as a career, at the end of my time at Smith College. I’d taken two survey classes, on the Italian baroque and the Spanish baroque, and remember being so excited about 17th-century painting – it felt so visceral, and I hadn’t experienced that before. I applied to grad school at the Institute of Fine Arts at NYU because I knew they had a strong relationship with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and that it was likely that I would be able to find a position at some point doing research in the European Paintings Department – which was indeed the case. That on-site training at the Met really set me up to take a curatorial job, which I did at the Art Institute of Chicago after finishing my PhD.
Andreas Pampoulides: Looking back at it now, it was quite a logical progression, but at the time, it seemed a completely bizarre decision. I did an MPhil in early European art history, and debated doing a PhD in Byzantine history, but I also needed to earn a living. I got offered an amazing job at Christie’s – I went in as a junior specialist, with no real experience of the art world, and ended up staying there for almost 14 years. I always loved the objects, but I really wanted to be writing about them rather than selling them. When I went to work for Coll & Cortés, which then became Colnaghi, I saw the other side, the dealing side, and realised that as a dealer you have exposure to objects that you wouldn’t necessarily have in the auction houses – you get to work in a much more methodical way. It was at that point that I thought, wow, this is really special.
How dynamic is this field currently, in terms of academic research and curatorial activity?
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer: There are various generations working in Old Masters. There’s what we might call the ‘old guard’, who are really engaged with the traditional understanding of excellence in terms of connoisseurship, which I definitely inherited in my training. But I think that my generation is also really engaged with scholarship in terms of new perspectives on the material: the political situation in which some of this work was made, with issues of race and gender coming to the fore in books and exhibitions – and even on the market, with prices going up for women artists.
Andreas Pampoulides: Those changes are very relevant, and very important. In a way, we all work in sync with each other. Yes, there’s a drive in international museums towards exhibiting female artists, towards creating exhibitions or writing labels that will engage ethnic minorities, and we have to react and feed the market with appropriate material. It’s important that the trade researches artworks which correspond to curatorial priorities.
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer: Absolutely. I’m very transparent about the projects I’m working on and the types of work that I’m looking to acquire for the institution. Sharing that information is a way of helping to shape what people are looking for, in terms of works that might come to the market. As theoretical as some of these approaches to race and gender can be, I think what really changes the scholarship in a meaningful way are new discoveries of art that really can stake a claim at a historical moment. Working in tandem on this is the most fruitful and positive way to work.
How can you engage a wide audience with art whose subject matter – whether religious, historical, or mythological – may seem increasingly arcane?
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer: You can explain anything in simple, concrete terms. I don’t think you need to shy away from the religious or mythological subject matter – but of course, with all of these objects, there’s also always a human story. If we know about the provenance of a picture, which we hope to in museums, then explaining why someone would have wanted it, in concrete terms, should make it accessible to anyone. There’s always a way to connect with that desire.
Of course, there are other ways to connect. People are still religious today; or they care deeply about relationships, or self-presentation – portraiture has certainly become an easy access point for people immersed in digital media, with an obsession with selfies and capturing the self. It’s really just about being true and sensitive to the historical context in which an artwork was made, and sharing and revealing its history over time; and about being really open and flexible, looking to your audience and seeing what they’re connecting with. I actually don’t think it’s that hard, and in fact it makes the field more dynamic, because every interaction with a different group of people brings out a new perspective and a new way of looking at the work, which is very exciting.
Andreas Pampoulides: We always have to be thinking on our feet. I think the nature of the object itself has to speak – the quality, the condition – and sometimes that’s enough to engage people. But more importantly, we always have to find some sort of narrative that people can connect to. That links into my philosophy for the gallery, which is that we try to make the language we use as unpretentious as possible, because we want people to feel that they can engage with this stuff.
Last year, I sold a high-value, historically important English 18th-century portrait bust to someone who’s the doppelgänger of that portrait. There was an immediate connection there, and that was my angle. If people don’t know about the historical context, you can always connect over basic things – love, hate, death, feasting, the beauty of nature. It sounds very ‘lowest common denominator’ but, in a way, we have to work out what people like and what they’re interested in. Of course, we need to understand all the attributes of every artwork that we handle, but we publish them based on what we think people are going to engage with.
And how do you emphasise the materiality of Old Master works – that they’re not simply images – and draw attention to their state of conservation?
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer: We’re currently piloting a public conservation project at the Detroit Institute of Arts: one of our conservation fellows is working on a Jan Hals portrait in the galleries, conserving it and doing the inpainting, with 10-minute talks on the hour. The public can watch and are free to ask questions. Another project that I’m working on, in collaboration with the conservation department, is a focus show on The Wedding Dance by Bruegel the Elder – an icon of the DIA’s collection. We’re coming at it from a conservation perspective and, using digital media, we’re going to reveal to the public the ways in which the colours have faded over time to illuminate how what you see at now is not exactly what you would have seen when the artist finished the painting in 1566. Those are two very concrete ways of opening up the mysteries of conservation practice and informing the public about how the surfaces of artworks change – and hopefully getting another generation to think about the possibility of going into this field, too.
Andreas Pampoulides: We also focus on condition: the last catalogue we published, on a painting by Domenico Fetti, included a whole chapter about what we found through X-rays, infrared imaging and so on. It’s been amazing to see people’s reaction to the fact that there was another painting beneath the surface. With the naked eye, you could see some underpainting, but until you saw the X-ray, it was hard to understand that the funny shadow was actually a face showing through drapery.
The beauty of sculpture is that you can engage with it in so many different ways… picking it up, turning it upside down, understanding the way it was made. It occupies a space in a room, so you can do something very different to what you would normally do with a painting.
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer: Tactility is important. We have a very popular sculpture of a donkey [by Renée Sintenis] that stands close to one of our entrances, which we allow the public to touch. Of course, when we’re thinking about diversity, that includes people who are blind or have low vision: there are ongoing discussions at the museum about how to make objects accessible in ways that engage senses other than sight, and a lot of museums now have touch collections. Without question, the ability to engage with an object with your hands is a wholly different experience from just looking at or hearing about it.
Could Old Master paintings and sculptures be more intelligently brought together in displays, whether public or private?
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer: Bringing together objects in different media is a guiding principle at the DIA – and has been since Wilhelm Valentiner was the director [from 1924–45]. Painting, sculpture and the decorative arts are seen in collaboration, in exchange with each other, and in my opinion that’s definitely the way forward. A lot of the large civic museums in the United States have divisions between departments, which creates unnecessary and artificial boundaries in collections. If we can help an object speak, we need to be open and flexible about where we place it. That’s really my philosophy.
Andreas Pampoulides: After I started the gallery with Andrea Lullo, whose background is in painting, we became a lot more sensitive towards each other’s expertise – buying things that spoke to each other across categories. I think that chimes with the way that people collect today: no-one buys only Old Master paintings anymore, or only Old Master sculpture. We want to show people that you can live with these things, but also react to the way that people are now collecting. It’s such a great joy to be able to show, say, a portrait from the 17th century with one from the 20th century, and then a sculpture made by a related artist who was influenced by an earlier painter. The trick is spotting what might work together.
How challenging is it for museums to make acquisitions in this field?
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer: There may not be an overwhelming amount of material, but every year, whether at auction houses or art fairs, I see museum-quality pieces. As a curator, I have desiderata for the collection based on my study of it, and what I think would be the best things to strengthen it. Making acquisitions is a balance between adhering to that list and studying what becomes available. Of course, with limited funds, it can be a challenge to decide what to privilege over something else.
Andreas Pampoulides: With pretty much any important artwork that we buy or are contemplating, we’re thinking, could this be hanging on the walls of a museum, could this be in this place or that place. That’s fundamental to us: curators have the sensitivity, the intelligence and also the interest to build collections. What I’ve found, especially in America, is that they’re usually very open and friendly too, and make it easy for dealers to have a relationship with them.
Could museums and the art trade collaborate more effectively in this field?
Eve Straussman-Pflanzer: In terms of acquisitions, I think as curators we need to be open about what we’re looking for. When it comes to working with dealers, when they need advice or help – attribution is a tricky area – I think you have to judge it case by case. Of course, the fact that dealers are running businesses means you have to approach these situations gingerly, but I definitely don’t think it should be a one-way relationship.
Andreas Pampoulides: As a gallery – and I know this is true for a lot of other dealers, especially of the younger generation – we’re often open to the idea of selling something to a museum at a discount. It’s a privilege to have something that we’ve handled hanging in a museum – and it’s true, that can also help us to forge connections with the museum’s patrons and trustees. There’s no reason why we can’t all benefit from the discoveries that we make.
Our inaugural Sculpture Series, curated by Jo Baring, Director of the Ingram Collection of Modern British & Contemporary Art, showcases dynamic modern and contemporary works throughout the Fair.
The pieces are made from different and sometimes unusual materials, encouraging visitors to challenge their perceptions about sculpture.
Selected works include Gary Hume’s ‘American Tan VII’ from the New Art Centre, along with Pangolin artists Susie MacMurray’s handmade chainmail work ‘Medusa’ and Bryan Kneale’s six-metre high ‘Pendulum (Monumental)', displayed outside the Fair.
Visitors can discover these pieces throughout the Fair and hear from the artist Gary Hume in conversation with Jo Baring in our Lecture Theatre on Monday 1 July, 7pm.
Click here to reserve your place at this talk.
Image: Map of Days (Red), 2013 by Grayson Perry. Etching printed in colour, signed and numbered verso from the edition of 20, 111.5 x 151.5 cm. Courtesy of Lyndsey Ingram.
Masterpiece Conversations bring together leading young art dealers and curators to share their expertise. The first in this new series gives insights into collecting post-war prints with Lyndsey Ingram and Catherine Daunt.
Lyndsey Ingram is the founder of the eponymous gallery in Mayfair, London, which launched in 2016, specialising in modern and contemporary British and American prints.
Catherine Daunt is Hamish Parker Curator of Modern and Contemporary Graphic Art at the British Museum, London, where she was the project curator for ‘The American Dream: pop to the present’ in 2017.
How did you come to specialise in this field?
Lyndsey Ingram: When I applied for an internship in the books department at Sotheby’s London in 1999, they said, ‘We don’t take interns, but we’ve sent your CV to the HR team.’ HR asked me if I’d be happy to join the print department, and I said I’d love to – and from that moment I was hooked, basically. I was an intern for two summers there, then the department hired me when I graduated, and I later went on to work for a print gallery.
Catherine Daunt: I came into prints and drawings having previously worked in curatorial positions across media and periods at the National Portrait Gallery and Nottingham Castle. I gradually became more interested in works on paper, took some time out to do a PhD, then applied for a paid internship at the British Museum. That felt like a bit of a step backwards, because I’d already worked as an assistant curator – but I wanted to build up my knowledge of prints and drawings. In those six months I learnt so much from my colleagues in the department, and became completely convinced that I wanted to specialise. Seeing the range of the techniques, aesthetics and styles in the 20th-century and contemporary print holdings at the British Museum opened my mind to how diverse printmaking is. Since then, I’ve just learnt on the job, really.
Lyndsey Ingram: Some people have a sensitivity to paper; they just love it. And what’s almost always true with prints is that the images are very strong – they’re considered, they’re complete – because artists are aware that they’re making more than one of them.
The print world is sometimes pigeonholed as a field that only really interests connoisseurs. Do you recognise that characterisation?
Catherine Daunt: Different kinds of people are interested in prints – some who are obsessed with technique, others who find the details fascinating. But I do think that many people are a bit intimidated by the idea of looking at prints, because they feel like they don’t understand how they’re made. That can be quite a challenge for curators…
Lyndsey Ingram: Very knowledgeable colleagues in their fields – painting, sculpture or whatever – will sometimes come to screen-printing demonstrations at the gallery and say, ‘My God, I had no idea that that’s how they’re made.’ Prints require more than a pencil or a paintbrush – more than the most basic implements for making art – and the techniques can seem confusing or intimidating. And now that we live in a world with so much digital reproduction, they can seem even more confusing, because many people think that there’s some form of reproduction involved in printmaking, which just isn’t the case with most types of print.
Catherine Daunt: Outside the art world, a print can just mean…
Lyndsey Ingram: A poster. That’s the worst.
Catherine Daunt: Explaining technique is a real challenge for curators working with prints. We want people to understand how prints were made, so they’ll appreciate how much creativity and skill is involved. But that can be very dry: you can have a panel explaining all the different techniques, but they’re still difficult to visualise. What really helps is using video footage in exhibitions, and the fact that there are now so many videos online that show how prints are made. In ‘The American Dream: pop to the present’ we included a video of Andy Warhol screen printing.
Is it difficult to convince the public that, as multiples, prints are not somehow secondary to paintings?
Lyndsey Ingram: People accept photographs, and people accept sculpture, which is often cast in editions. And more and more artists are working in edition – it’s usually to their commercial advantage. I think that some people just stumble over the word ‘print’.
Catherine Daunt: I think it can be… I often get asked, about a print, ‘Is this an original?’ and what people mean by that is, ‘Is it unique?’ I think the problem is partly to do with the terminology, using words like ‘state’, which most people aren’t familiar with. Again, a video can help with that, or showing actual plates and other objects relating to the process of printmaking.
What challenges do post-war prints pose for display and conservation?
Lyndsey Ingram: For me, it’s important that we frame everything to the highest standard currently available in the market. So everything is framed with acid-free mount board and UV-filtering Plexiglas. I’d be doing my clients a huge disservice if I sent anything out of the gallery that wasn’t in the best product possible. And we believe in that product, we believe that it protects things from acid or fading – but you regularly open prints that were framed 20 or 30 years ago and were sent in the world with the same understanding, and which are now faded or mount-stained. I know we do the best we can.
Catherine Daunt: From our point of view at the museum, exposure is the main challenge. We do want to display the prints and we do want to lend them, but we know that they will fade over time with too much exposure. That’s particularly true of works where unusual, perhaps unpredictable, materials have been used, which often applies to post-war prints: we have a set of screen prints by Ed Ruscha, for example, which are printed with organic materials like bits of food – baked beans and chocolate sauce – and we have to monitor those very carefully, because even if they seem fairly stable, we don’t really know what’s going to happen. The other major problem that we have is storage. Ideally, everything would be framed, but we don’t have the capacity to do that, so we have to make sure that things are looked after the best way they can be.
How dynamic is this field at the moment?
Lyndsey Ingram: It’s definitely a dynamic place in terms of where prints sit in the marketplace. When I started 20 years ago, it was a very closed world, and prints by major artists were often cordoned off from their other work. But how could you look at a Warhol Marilyn canvas without comparing it to his Marilyn screen prints? About a decade ago, things changed: important prints started showing up in contemporary evening sales, and then all of a sudden, big galleries are showing prints in very high-profile ways, like at major art fairs. It’s great that prints are now being seen in the context of other work by the same artist. It definitely means the way that we work has to change, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Catherine Daunt: I agree. It’s definitely a good thing to see more prints at art fairs and in sales, but I do think that there’s still a resistance among some public institutions and curators to include prints in retrospective exhibitions. With artists for whom printmaking has been a major part of their work, exhibitions will often only display a very small number of prints, and usually in an illustrative way that prioritises other media. For those artists, printmaking wasn’t just something they did to reproduce images or to sell works to people who couldn’t afford their paintings, it was a really important part of their activity. It’s also important they were collaborating with other people, spending time in print workshops. Collaboration and the input of master printers are areas of printmaking that aren’t really discussed enough by academics and curators.
Lyndsey Ingram: A good printer helps an artist realise something that they didn’t know they could realise. It’s a process of artists being taught more about how they can express their ideas. With painting, that process often ends when an artist leaves art school. But if you watch what happens between a very established artist and a printer they’ve never worked with before… it’s real magic.
Catherine Daunt: I’ve recently been researching some Howard Hodgkin prints. Whenever he began to work with a different printer, his printmaking really developed: when he started working with Maurice Payne, for example, he was introduced to sugar lift aquatint, and he started using hand-colouring and soft-ground etching. Collaborating with a master printer enabled him to make work that he wouldn’t otherwise have been able to make.
How difficult is it for museums to make acquisitions in this field?
Catherine Daunt: With certain contemporary prints it can be. With American prints, the prices are rising and we’re obviously constrained by budgets, so we rely increasingly on private philanthropy through patrons, and also on gifts and bequests.
Lyndsey Ingram: It’s really important that museums have major collections of post-war prints. I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel a responsibility as a member of the trade to help museums acquire as much as they can as affordably as possible. We always encourage our artists to give things to the British Museum. If you’re making an edition, make one more and call it the BM proof. It costs so little, and in time, it means so much.
Has the collector base changed in the past decade?
Lyndsey Ingram: For sure. Everything is more expensive than it used to be, particularly for prints made by blue-chip artists. Owning a nice Hockney print is a much more substantial commitment now than it would have been 10 or 15 years ago. Higher up the scale, more people are coming to the better prints by more established artists because they can’t afford a painting. If you want a major and meaningful work by Lichtenstein, who was an amazing printmaker, you can buy an important print for $100,000 or $200,000. The paintings now cost more than almost anyone can afford.
Could museums and the art trade collaborate more effectively in this field?
Catherine Daunt: One of the most important things is to ensure that our collections are accessible: at the British Museum, we’ve had to reduce the opening hours of our study room, but it’s still open from Tuesday to Friday. At some institutions, you need to make appointments to see graphic works in storage six weeks, even two months in advance. If you’re a dealer or just someone interested in doing some research on a print, you often have to react more quickly than that. It’s vitally important that people can come and use our collection and study it.
Lyndsey Ingram: I appreciate that there are boundaries: it becomes problematic when museums get a reputation for putting on shows that, say, benefit the collections of the board of trustees. That said, I think there are a lot of things that could change with a bit of imagination, to the mutual benefit of commercial and public galleries. Perhaps this is more true of prints than other fields – but we just like what we do, we’ve chosen to do it, and we all know each other.
Catherine Daunt: That’s what I mean. We don’t need to make sure our collections are accessible to dealers for the sake of their sales; dealers are doing research in the same areas that we are, and they might want to come and compare different impressions or different states of a print. We can all help each other to learn more about the work that we’re looking at.
「巨匠臻藏」擴展亞洲 ｜2019年10月4－7日在典亞藝博設立「巨匠臻藏展館 」 (The Masterpiece Pavilion)
Masterpiece London and Fine Art Asia have agreed to a long-term partnership through which Masterpiece will launch The Masterpiece Pavilion at Fine Art Asia as part of this year’s edition
The Masterpiece Pavilion marks the first stage of Masterpiece’s international expansion, which is being supported by MCH Group
The partnership will also see Fine Art Asia’s presence at Masterpiece London in June 2019
Held within Asia’s leading fine art fair, The Masterpiece Pavilion (4-7 October 2019) will bring Masterpiece’s established vision of cross-collecting to an Asian audience, complementing Fine Art Asia, and strengthening Hong Kong’s offering as an international art centre through its unique contribution.
The Masterpiece Pavilion will showcase exhibitors from Masterpiece’s existing roster of art and design specialists, as well as a select number of new additions. The work presented will span eras and disciplines.
Fine Art Asia and Masterpiece London have a history of collaboration. In June 2013, Masterpiece London hosted ‘Hong Kong Pavilion - Asian Treasures’, a selling exhibition presented by Fine Art Asia. In October of the same year, in turn, Fine Art Asia hosted ‘European Treasures’, presented by Masterpiece London.
Lucie Kitchener, Managing Director of Masterpiece said:
“Masterpiece has established itself as a leading international art fair. Since its first edition in 2010, its outlook has become increasingly international, not only through the exhibitors and artworks it presents, but through the collectors, museum figures and patrons it attracts. We are excited about our partnership with Fine Art Asia, and what it will enable both Masterpiece and Fine Art Asia to achieve. With Fine Art Asia’s support, we believe Masterpiece will be a great success in Hong Kong and are delighted about this opportunity to bring Masterpiece and our exhibitors to new audiences.”
Andy Hei, Founder & Director of Fine Art Asia, said:
“We are delighted to enter into a new partnership with Masterpiece. Hong Kong is an international city with a truly free trade port. The art market in Hong Kong continues to develop apace, with support from the government and creative initiatives by the industry. Therefore, a collaboration between two leading international fine art fairs such as Masterpiece in London and Fine Art Asia in Hong Kong, is entirely appropriate for Hong Kong now and we are confident it will be mutually beneficial.”
Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO of MCH Group, said:
“We are delighted to be supporting Masterpiece in bringing its cross-collecting ethos to new locations internationally, beginning this October with its first event in Hong Kong. This is an exciting first step in Masterpiece’s international expansion, which is one of MCH Group’s key strategic initiatives.”
Image: Geoffrey Diner and Safani Gallery shared stand at Masterpiece 2017
Masterpiece London has established itself as the world's leading cross-collecting fair, offering the finest works of art, design, furniture and jewellery, from antiquity to the present day. This unmissable event at the height of the capital's summer season provides an unparalleled opportunity for new and established collectors to discover exceptional works for sale from 160 international exhibitors. This year’s edition showcases rare and important Impressionist and Modernist paintings; compelling presentations celebrating British art and design; exquisite jewellery; art and objects from antiquity as well as contemporary work by artists including Marina Abramović, Ibrahim El Salahi, Chiharu Shiota and Rob & Nick Carter. The Royal Bank of Canada returns as the Fair’s principal sponsor for the fifth successive year.
MASTERPIECE PRESENTS, in collaboration with FactumArte and Lisson Gallery, will showcase new works by Marina Abramović, Five Stages of Maya Dance, in an immersive, specially conceived area. This unseen body of work comprises five alabaster portraits of Marina Abramović which merge performance, light and sculpture. Their hauntingly physical presence decomposes into intricately carved landscapes of alabaster as you move around the pieces.
Longstanding Masterpiece exhibitors including Richard Green, Adrian Sassoon, Wartski, Robilant + Voena, Verdura/Herz-Belperron and Dickinson are joined by carefully selected new additions for 2018 including: ArtAncient, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Cahn, CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel, Day and Faber, DIE GALERIE, Galerie Yann Ferrandin, Flowers Gallery, James Graham-Stewart, Hammer Galleries, Hauser & Wirth, Galerie Henze & Ketterer, Hill-Stone, Hunter / Harrison, Kallos Gallery, Landau Fine Art, Lullo • Pampoulides, Maruani Mercier, Moussaieff Jewellers, Sarah Myerscough Gallery, Jill Newhouse Gallery, Partners & Mucciaccia, R & Company, Fabio Salini and Vigo.
Masterpiece’s cross-collecting ethos can be seen throughout the Fair, where exhibitors specialising in a wide variety of disciplines and eras are brought together, offering the broadest spectrum of works of any art fair, with classical and contemporary shown side-by-side. Visitors will encounter presentations which carefully combine furniture, sculpture and works of art from all periods, unified by quality. Examples of this ethos can be seen at Benjamin Proust, Perrin Fine Art, Robilant + Voena, and Safani Gallery & Geoffrey Diner.
Reflecting this breadth, new exhibitor ArtAncient’s presentation will feature a rare ‘shooting star’ meteorite, formed 4.6 billion years ago, whilst specially commissioned contemporary artwork will be presented at Blain|Southern with an installation by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota.
Les Enluminures and Daniel Crouch will stage a carefully curated presentation entitled ‘A Brief History of Time: From Matins to Mars’. The booth will display celestial maps, instruments, illuminated manuscripts and medieval and Renaissance jewellery, inviting viewers to contemplate the perception of time across history. Hauser & Wirth’s ‘Wunderkammer’, or cabinet of curiosities, will also combine disciplines with contemporary and modern works by Louise Bourgeois, Phyllida Barlow, Subodh Gupta and Philip Guston, presented alongside 18th and 19th century furniture.
Impressionist and Modernist Presence at the Fair
This year, highly important Impressionist and Modern works will be exhibited at the Fair by a number of exhibitors. Landau Fine Art’s presentation will include a Picasso oil painting which hung for decades behind the desk of his only dealer, Paul Rosenberg. Gladwell & Patterson will be bringing a preeminent example of a late waterlilies painting by Monet and, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, Hammer Galleries will be bringing an early work by Joan Miró along with Marc Chagall’s Peintre au coq rouge.
DIE GALERIE are collaborating with M. F. Toninelli Art Moderne to present a focussed booth with work by three key Surrealists: Max Ernst, André Masson and Roberto Matta, including a monumental bronze statue by Max Ernst, whose work will also be shown at Ludorff’s stand. German Expressionist works by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and August Macke, will be displayed by Galerie Henze & Ketterer.
The Best of British
Masterpiece is an important destination for collectors of British art and design and many of this year’s exhibitors are celebrating the work of British artists as well as those who have lived and worked in the UK. This focus is encapsulated by Richard Green whose presentation ‘Best of British from our Shores and Beyond’ includes pieces by J.M.W.Turner, L.S. Lowry and John Constable.
Modern and Post-War British artists, including Eileen Agar, Duncan Grant, Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley and Graham Sutherland, will be presented by The Redfern Gallery, Osborne Samuel, Philip Mould, Offer Waterman, Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert and Piano Nobile.
In celebration of the 300 year anniversary of Thomas Chippendale’s birth, Ronald Phillips and Apter-Fredericks will be presenting important pieces by the British cabinetmaker. British furniture will also be championed by Oscar Graf, whose stand will explore the theme of ‘Victorians & Edwardians’, displaying beautiful pieces in a variety of styles from 1860-1910. Jewellery exhibitor Didier Ltd. will include a focus on British designers on their booth with pieces by Wendy Ramshaw and her husband David Watkins.
Design, Furniture and Decorative Arts
With a booth inspired by the Surrealist poet and patron Edward James, David Gill Gallery will be bringing together contemporary works from their roster of artists and designers including Zaha Hadid, Michele Oka Doner and Mattia Bonetti. Modern and contemporary design will also be presented by 18 Davies Street Gallery, Rose Uniacke and Modernity Stockholm. New exhibitor Sarah Myerscough Gallery will showcase unique handcrafted contemporary pieces of design by John Makepeace amongst others, and Sinai & Sons Ltd. will focus on the work of Italian painter, sculptor, interior decorator and engraver Piero Fornasetti. Hitomi Hosono’s exquisite collaboration with Wedgwood will be revealed at Adrian Sassoon, and Katie Jones will present a selection of contemporary Japanese applied arts.
Extraordinary contemporary jewellery will be shown by leading designers including Fabio Salini whose new collection made with carbon fibre will be revealed for the first time at the Fair. Taiwanese fine jewellery brand CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel will be presenting designs from their Black Label and White Label collections and coloured diamond specialist Moussaieff also join the fair this year. Rare antique jewellery by masters such as Cartier, Boucheron and Fabergé will be offered at SJ Phillips, Hancocks, Véronique Bamps and Epoque Fine Jewels. Van Cleef & Arpels, Verdura/Herz-Belperron and Grima will present both their heritage collections and unique contemporary pieces.
Sculpture at the Fair
Masterpiece’s exhibitors include leading sculpture specialists Lullo • Pampoulides, Pangolin London, Univers du Bronze, and Galerie Sismann who will display European Old Master sculpture alongside contemporary sculpture by Johan Creten. Other highlights in this field include Alexander Calder’s unique Red Bull which will be at the centre of Collisart’s stand alongside American Modernist works by Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, and Arshile Gorky.
Landau Fine Art are bringing a rare black marble Reclining Figure: Curved by Henry Moore, dating from 1977, which is one of the artist’s seminal and unique carvings and will be displayed close to their stand. Other prominent pieces and installations throughout the Fair’s main areas include a large sculptural light installation created by Jeff Zimmerman being offered by R & Company and Larry Bell’s monumental VFZ 2, a unique work formed from True Sea Salt and Cerise laminated glass presented by Hauser & Wirth. Blain|Southern will bring State of Being by Chiharu Shiota and two new works, the monumental Twice by Richard Hudson and Solar Disk by Emily Young will be offered by Bowman Sculpture.
Masterpiece London will be holding talks, workshops and tours throughout the public days of the fair as part of a Talks & Education Programme, in association with Chopard. This includes a new initiative - a Curator and Art Trade Day on Saturday 30 June co-chaired by Thomas Marks, Editor of Apollo, and Philip Hewat-Jaboor, Chairman of the Fair, which will include a call for papers from academics. This is in addition to a series of ‘How to Look at’ talks, providing visitors with the tools needed to get the most out of viewing and buying a range of disciplines of art. Throughout the Fair there will also be free to attend on-stand talks with exhibitors, where specialists will give visitors an insight into some of the highlights on display.
MASTERPIECE PRESENTS launched last year as a large-scale, dedicated exhibition space within Masterpiece London, transforming the Fair's entrance and providing a platform for innovative, immersive works of art.
This year we are pleased to showcase a new body of work by Marina Abramović, Five Stages of Maya Dance. Presented by Factum Arte, in collaboration with Lisson Gallery, this set of five alabaster portraits of Marina Abramović merge performance, light and sculpture. They have a hauntingly physical presence but, as you move around the pieces, they decompose into intricately carved ‘landscapes’ of alabaster.
These works are the result of an extended period of experimentation that the artist has been carrying out in Factum Arte's workshops in Madrid. Through the use of carved alabaster, Abramović is exploring new ways to give form to her ideas.