The results are in for the 25th edition of the London Art Fair, held 16-20 January 2013 at the Business Design Centre In Islington. The fair has reported strong sales and dealers have praised the number and breadth of collectors attending. The Fair once again demonstrated its importance to collectors, with attendance figures for the VIP collector’s preview up 43% on last year.
Despite heavy snow across the country, visitor numbers remained high throughout the Fair, with a total of 23,521 people visiting over the six days. Jonathan Burton, director of London Art Fair commented: “For our 25th edition it was important that London Art Fair 2013 was a statement of intent for the future. The Fair is a welcoming environment for buyers wanting to pick up the very finest in Modern British work as well as cutting-edge contemporary practice.”
First-time London Art Fair exhibitor Jack Bell Gallery, a specialist in contemporary African art, had a very successful fair, selling out of all of its work by Aboudia ahead of his show opening at the gallery, along with four Gonçalo Mabunda mask sculptures. Bell said: “It’s been a good week for us. We’ve met a really broad scope of collectors from across the board, selling a range of work up to £10,000.”
Toby Clarke from VIGO had three re-hangs during the course of the fair after selling work including ‘The Pink Buffoon’, a rare early portrait by Chris Ofili, which had an asking price of £40,000 plus VAT, and two works by Keith Coventry – ‘Supermodel Sculpture (Kate Moss)’ (2000) and ‘Junk B’ (2002), both for £18,000 plus VAT. He commented: “It’s been a successful fair with most artists on our stand finding buyers.”
Modern British galleries also reported good sales. Alan Wheatley said: “We’ve had a successful fair from day one, and it has continued throughout. It’s been well attended and we’ve sold across the board, from thousands to tens of thousands, all to new clients.”
Others reported a particularly good weekend. Anthony Hepworth sold ‘Figures in an Interior’ (1958) by Robert Colquhoun for a six figure sum. The Fair was the first time the painting had been seen since it was acquired by a private collector in 1964. Hepworth said: “We had a really good day on Saturday, despite the snow. We sold work by Frost, Hilton, Frink and Piper – all within two hours.”
The Fair attracted a large number of international collectors, both resident in London and abroad. Stephen Paisnel, of Paisnel Gallery, commented: “We’ve noticed more international buying this year and have sold to Russians, South Africans, Germans and Australians.” Zavier Ellis of CHARLIE SMITH london agreed, saying: “We noticed a larger international audience this year, in particular German and American buyers.”
Dealers were delighted with the atmosphere, with David Simon of Hilton Fine Art, one of five galleries from Bath, saying it had been “buzzy”, with a good number of visitors. Sales were strong from the off, with Hilton adding “I’m really pleased, we’ve sold each day.”
‘Treadpad’, the monumental coloured steel sculpture by James Capper (represented by Art Projects exhibitor Hannah Barry Gallery) was selected to stand outside this year’s Fair and sold to a private collector. The work, comprising two large steel disks mounted on a cradle, now goes on long-term loan to Yorkshire Sculpture Park where Capper currently has a large solo exhibition.
The Art Projects section attracted praise from critics and collectors alike. The section has continued to grow in importance as an international platform for younger galleries to showcase the most stimulating contemporary practice. Galleries for 2013, including Ceri Hand, Limoncello, Hannah Barry Gallery, The Sunday Painter and Edel Assanti, presented solo or group curated exhibitions in the section. Art Projects allows younger galleries to raise their profiles, reach new audiences for their artists and build their collector base.
Ceri Hand Gallery, exhibiting for the first time, attracted interest from buyers and press throughout the fair. Gallerist Ceri Hand commented: “We enjoyed our busy week at Art Projects – the fair attracted some of our great existing clients, curators and contacts and introduced us to some new ones too.”
Beers.Lambert Contemporary sold eight works by Canadian painter Andrew Salgado, including large portrait ‘Lost and Found’ (2013) for £5,200. Gallery owner Kurt Beers said: “We experienced a strong response to our presentation and noteworthy sales particularly for artists Andrew Salgado and Leonardo Ulian. We met lots of new collectors who were really engaged with our artists, including Fabio Antinori, Gigi Cifali and the Miaz Brothers – the Fair is a pivotal step in continuing to build relationships between artists, the gallery, and interested parties and collectors.”
Photo50, the annual showcase for contemporary photography, was this year guest-curated by Nick Hackworth, director of Paradise Row Gallery. This year’s exhibition, titled ‘A Cyclical Poem’ examined the nature of historical change and the passage of time in photography. Three of the works sold during the fair including ‘Girl on a Spacehopper’, from ‘Byker’ (1971), for £1,860 plus VAT, and ‘Girl in Striped Shirt, Matlock Bath’ (1975) by Paul Hill, for £1,000 plus VAT. Sales of a further 10 prints from the exhibition are currently under discussion. Photography sold well elsewhere in the fair too, with Wolseley Fine Arts selling composite photographs by Chinese artist Yang Yongliang, for £6,000 and £7,500.
Photo: The Party’s Over until next year! © ArtLyst 2013