London Art Fair 2017 closed Sunday 22 January with strong sales reported across the Fair in both Modern British and international contemporary art, including painting, sculpture, photography, drawings, ceramics and more.
Indications from the Fair, which launches the cultural calendar, are that 2017 will prove a healthy year for the UK market in spite of wider economic uncertainty as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
Hosted in a pavilion just inside the main entrance to the Fair, museum partner The Lightbox marked ten years since its opening with an exhibition of Modern British art from The Ingram Collection, titled Ten Years: A Century of Art. The Woking-based gallery introduced key works by twentieth century artists such as Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson to new audiences, alongside a chance to glimpse a preview of upcoming shows on romantic painter John Minton and iconic sculptor Henry Moore.
Pru Chambers, Marketing Manager of The Lightbox said: “Being the Museum Partner of London Art Fair 2017 was a fantastic start to the 10th anniversary year of The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking. Our LAF exhibition ‘Ten Years: A Century of Art’, comprised of works from The Ingram Collection of Modern British Art, was a big hit with visitors, with many commenting that they were impressed by the breadth and quality of the works in the collection which included pieces by Hepworth, Frink and Gaudier-Brzeska. The Lightbox would like to thank Crown Fine Art and Richard Thompson Insurance Brokers for supporting the exhibition and London Art Fair for giving us the opportunity to be part of a wonderful week of the best in Modern British and contemporary art.”
There was a particular interest in quality Modern British art, fuelled in part by high profile sales in 2016 and international interest in the market thanks to the weak pound. “It has been fantastic, absolutely amazing” said Alan Wheatley of Alan Wheatley Art, “we’ve sold consistently every day, right across the board, including a Terry Frost painting for six figures and a William Turnbull sculpture.”
Fellow Modern British dealer Paisnel Gallery also enjoyed a positive show, with owner Stephen Paisnel citing the ability to meet new collectors as a particular highlight, “Sales have been good, but it's not so much what you sell as who you meet. We met a first time buyer this week who was thrilled with our service and quality of the work and have many people coming in to speak to us again next week.” Christopher Kingzett Fine Art, a Modern British dealer making a return to the Fair in 2017, sold 18 pieces including John Wells, Roger Hilton, Eduardo Paolozzi, Alan Reynolds, Peter Kingly, Joe Tilson and Alan Jones.
London Art Fair regular Lemon Street Gallery found this year’s edition to be a success, with owner Louise Jones commenting, “'It's been a really good year, we've sold over 40 pieces to private and public collections internationally. We've had a piece go to the Fitzwilliam Museum donated through one of their benefactors and another to a well-known TV figure.”
Contemporary German gallery Venet-Haus Galerie reported strong sales, noting the growing international nature of the Fair, “This year has been amazing and it has been surprisingly international. We've seen clients from Austria, Switzerland and Italy as well as London. We sold out of James Oliver to London buyers." These sentiments were echoed by many at the Fair including Korea-based Hanmi Gallery. Director Heashin Kwak remarked, “This year feels a lot more international. We've met more European visitors from The Netherlands, France, Turkey and beyond.” Istanbul and London-based Pi Artworks reported particular interest in the work of their international artists Maude Maris, Maria Friberg and Paul Schwer, in what was the most international edition of the Fair yet, with more than two fifths of exhibiting galleries coming from overseas.
Hailing from Barcelona, newcomer Víctor Lope Arte Contemporáneo had a good fair, selling multiple works by Cuban artist Gustavo Díaz Sosa and Spanish artist Jacinto Moros. Diversity was a theme in their newly found clients, which included both private collectors and a Rotterdam art foundation.
The experience of galleries showing as part of Art Projects, a curated showcase of the freshest contemporary art from across the world, was also positive. LLE, from Cardiff, who were part of a gallery pairing with First Floor Gallery Harare (Zimbabwe) as part of the collaborative ‘Dialogues’ section, commented, “Casper White has been very popular sales wise but all of the artists have had a really good response. We’ve met everyone from collectors to painters to galleries which is really good for future collaborations.” Jack House Gallery showed a debut film by artist Amartey Golding, which was chosen by The Art Newspaper as a particular highlight. Golding found the Fair to be “an amazing experience,” adding, “the work has really resonated with all sorts of people. I’d love to come back next year.”
Photography continues to perform well at the Fair, with Flowers Gallery selling two Scarlett Hooft Graafland landscape photographs to new buyers. Hooft is a new artist for the gallery with a show later this year. Fellow photography dealer ARTITLEDcontemporary also sold well. “The Fair allowed me to find a different audience compared to other London art fairs and I'll be back next year,” said Director Hans van Enckevort.