London Art Week wrapped up on Friday 8 July, reporting a successful close to the event. The fourth edition participants reported a significant number of visitors, including a notable number of international curators, with strong sales and reserves across a variety of collecting disciplines at price levels from around £1,000 to over £1 million.
London Art Week is one of the world’s most important gallery-based celebrations of pre-contemporary art. The event celebrates the exceptional riches and unparalleled expertise available within the galleries of Mayfair and St. James’s – a unique neighbourhood which represents the international and historic centre of the traditional art trade. Incorporating more than 50 specialist art galleries and three major auction houses, and including a selection of leading international participants who come to London to take part in the event, London Art Week showcases an impressive array of exhibitions highlighting paintings, drawings, sculpture, and works of art, from antiquity to the 20th century.
With all participants situated within walking distance, London Art Week offers a unique platform which convenes VIP collectors, international museum curators and enthusiasts who explore the galleries and meet with specialist dealers.
Now in its fourth year, the attraction and convening power of the event was most recently evidenced at the 2015 edition of London Art Week which recorded significant sales and attracted tens of thousands of visitors from around the world, including representatives from over 50 major international museums.
The London event brought together 46 leading art galleries and three auction houses and presented a wealth of paintings, drawings, sculpture and works of art dating from antiquity to the 20th century. With more dedicated exhibitions than ever before, this year offered gallery displays focused on a wide range of specialist subjects including ancient arms and armour, 16th-century stained glass, Dutch flower paintings, ancient Greek coins, artist’s sketchbook pages, medieval and Renaissance sculpture and Tudor portraits, among others.
Visitors to the capital came from as far afield as Australia, Chile, China, India and Russia. Curators from over 40 notable museums included representatives from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Uffizi Gallery, Florence; the J. Paul Getty Museum, California; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; and the Art Institute of Chicago; as well as from the National Gallery, London; the British Museum, London; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Wallace Collection, London; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. In addition, art enthusiasts enjoyed a series of bespoke tours throughout the week with London Art Week’s exclusive cultural tours partner Art History UK.
A respectable number of early sales and reserves have already been recorded to both museums and private collectors. Colnaghi announced sales to both new and returning clients including A philosopher holding a mirror by Jusepe de Ribera, called lo Spagnoletto (1591–1652) (asking price: in the region of £1.25 million); two important sculptures by Pedro de Mena (1628-1688) which were acquired by a private collector who is placing them on long-term loan to an important European museum (asking price: in the region of €500,000 each); and Saint Anthony of Padua and the Infant Jesus by Luis Salvador Carmona (1708-1767) (asking price: in the region of €150,000).
Stephen Ongpin Fine Art held the exhibition ‘Drawing Inspiration: Sketches and Sketchbook Pages of the 19th and 20th Centuries’ and confirmed 15 sales during the week, including one to an American museum, with individual prices from four to six figures. At Johnny van Haeften’s exhibition of ‘17th Century Still Life and Song Yu’, confirmed Old Master sales included Wild Strawberries in a Bowl and a Sprig of Gooseberries on a stone Ledge by Adriaen Coorte (c.1665–1707/10) and A Still Life of Fruit in a Woodland Setting by Abraham Mignon (1640-1679). Two paintings by contemporary Chinese painter Song Yu (b.1973) were sold with asking prices of €55,000 and €25,000.
Lullo•Pampoulides launched their new business at London Art Week with an inaugural exhibition at their gallery on Cork Street titled ‘Classicism Reimagined: Master paintings and sculptures 1700 – circa 1950’. They recorded two confirmed sales, and also secured five reserves to both private and museum buyers and with prices from four to six figures. Sam Fogg sold a significant number of pieces from their exhibition ‘Gilded Light: 16th-century stained glass roundels from the collection of Sir Thomas Neave and other private collections’ to both private and museum buyers with asking prices from around £1,000 to £40,000.
Ariadne Galleries hosted the exhibition ‘Art and Adornment: Treasures of Combat’ and sold a Phoenician gold fenestrated axe-head from the Middle Bronze Age to a private client for a six-figure sum. Oliver Forge and Brendan Lynch staged ‘Flint Marble Bronze from the Mediterranean and Beyond’; sales included an Etruscan bronze statuette sold to a UK institution, a marble relief sold to private US collector (asking price: in excess of £25,000), a Roman marble male torso (asking price £150,000) and an Egyptian jar (asking price £35,000).
Martyn Gregory sold a number of works from their exhibition ‘Traveller-artists in the Far East’ including Chinese figure by a waterfall in the hills by George Chinnery (1774–1852) (asking price: £9,000) and Crispian Riley-Smith Fine Arts sold Studies of Four Legs in Profile by Bartolomeo Passarotti (1529-1592) to a private collector; a drawing by Giovanni Baglione (1566-1643) to a European collector; and has another drawing on reserve to a UK museum.