The Fair comprises most (if not all) the leading galleries from Cork Street, Old Bond Street (eg Browse and Darby, Messums, Agnews, ) and beyond (eg the Lemon Street Gallery in Truro) and included some, such as The Fine Art Partnership, which don't have a physical gallery but rather trade exclusively in the original works of art on paper through the internet and select fairs.
It exhibits and sells the sort of contemporary art which gets into the leading galleries - as well as established Masters who are already in Museums - with an emphasis on paintings and original prints although sculpture was well represented. (Maybe a bit more Lucien Freud than Damen Hirst?) Bottom line though it meant that the prices of much the original art was far from cheap. The least expensive things I saw were in the high hundreds and the most expensive were in the tens of thousands.
I gather the fair had done good business - we certainly saw a lot of red dots and some galleries were saying that the work of some artists had been selling very fast. Catalogues for the more popular had run out by the Sunday.
In London, the general impression seems to be that some galleries are not doing so well but that auctions and good quality art fairs are doing very good business. Having seen the depth and range of choice that anybody wanting to buy art has at a fair like this one I can well understand why anybody wanting to buy art will go to a fair in preference to a gallery - or will decide to buy work by an artists and/or become a client of a gallery at a fair. There's just so much choice - any collector will have more confidence about buying art having seen the huge range of alternatives. Unless they liked it all of course!
Do have a browse through the work of the artists represented by some of the galleries I've listed - it's a very stimulating experience, especially being able to see original drawings and original prints by modern masters. I found looking at contemporary art by excellent artists for four hours really helped me to understand better what I liked, didn't like and what sort of path I want my art to travel.
For all those artists who work in pastel take a look at the work - and the prices(!) of Andrew Hemingway (exhibited by Messums)
Some artists I liked included:
- Nigel Waymouth's drawings - particularly his drawing of thistles. He is represented by Jonathan Cooper
- Ffiona Lewis (represented by the Redfern Gallery) - although the pieces I liked are not displayed on either site
- the very sensitive black chalk drawings of Paul Emsley - particularly those of flowers - also represented by the Redfern Gallery
- Kurt Jackson's acrylic 'drawings' of vegetables - currently on show in an exhibition at Messums - look at his beetroot for example.
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