The 7th edition of PAD London has truly mastered the spirit of eclecticism in a record year for the fair. With the addition of Antiquities, Japanese Art, the mix of genres and the exquisitely curated environment proved inspiring to the public, first-time buyers and collectors alike. An illustrious opening night proved auspicious for a week of lively sales and many dealers reported meeting major new clients and esteemed collectors from the outset. Its intimate setting on Berkeley Square remains unbeatable – in the words of Christian Elwes of Entwistle, ‘you couldn’t have a better location. You couldn’t buy it. This is the square.’
Many Modern Art exhibitors have enjoyed top-end sales. Galerie Von Vertes from Switzerland sold at least two works at seven figures each: a bold red 3-slash canvas by Lucio Fontana on the fair’s opening night and a painting by Max Ernst later in the week. Stellan Holm Gallery sold pieces by Nate Lowman in the region of $700,000 and a work on paper by Franz Kline for around $400,000. New paintings by Royal Academician Christopher Le Brun proved exceptionally popular at the stand of Friedman Benda, with the largest canvas, Painting at Sunrise, going for £140,000. Robin Katz, who specialises in Modern British Art, reported better sales than last year, with major pieces by Bridget Riley, Antony Caro and Lynn Chadwick all going to collectors. Photography specialist Michael Hoppen sold the highlight works on his stand such as Nobuyoshi Araki’s Grand Diary of a Photo Maniac (1994) for £30,000 and William Klein’s Club Allegro Fortissimo, Paris (1990) for £25,000.
Sales in the new genre of Antiquities were particularly impressive. At David Ghezelbash’s stand, a Greek bronze tortoise shell from 400-300 BC sold rapidly, while a 6th century Etruscan head went for €250,000 and a Cycladic head for €120,000. Gordian Weber Kunsthandel sold very well throughout the week, remarking on an exceptional crowd including several major collectors in the field of antiquities. At the stand of Jean-Christophe Charbonnier – specialists in Japanese art of the Edo period – Samurai armour and helmets were snapped up on the very first evening by first-time buyers of the genre. Tribal Art dealer Bernard Dulon sold the masterpiece of his stand within hours: a 19th Century Teke Fetish figure from the Congo with an asking price of €250,000.
On the Design front, strong sales were enjoyed by both contemporary and 20th century exhibitors. SMO Gallery from Lebanon, the first Middle Eastern gallery to join PAD London, were relieved of the majority of their stand by the end of the week, starting with the opening-night sale of Ouroboros (2011), a golden-scaled snake sculpture by Ranya Sarakbi, priced at £130,000. Newcomer Juan Garrido of Garrido Gallery reported not only healthy sales but new commissions from clients viewing the gallery’s stunning designs in silver and gold. French-based Galerie Kreo, renowned for cutting-edge contemporary design, sold consistently throughout the week, with purchases including a Marc Newson table at €300,000, a Campana Brothers Fata Morgana mirror for €32,000, Pierre Charpin’s Carbon Shelf for €36,000, and Alessandro Mendini’s Lampada in white gold for €75,000. Galerie Gosserez sold the vast majority of their stand, with new pieces by Valentin Loellmann, Os & Oos and gt2p going for prices ranging from £18,000 – £30,000. Nominated one of the most beautiful pieces at PAD London by Architectural Digest France, Fender Lamp (2013) by Johanna Grawunder at Galleria O. went for €12,000. PAD veterans Modernity, experts in 20th Century Scandinavian design, had an excellent fair with the sale of Gerrit Rietveld’s set of four Zig Zag chairs (1958) for £60,000, a ‘Paimio’ armchair made by Alvar Alto for Artek (1940s), a set of Poul Henningsen table lamps (1926) from the first year of production for £40,000, and a set of Ib Kofoed Larsen ‘Elizabeth’chairs (1958) for £35,000.
Photo: © Artlyst 2013