Masterpiece London 2014, returned to the Royal Hospital Chelsea for its fifth year, joined by principal sponsor RBC Wealth Management. With the highest visitor numbers to date, 35,000 people in total came to the fair to both admire and acquire museum-quality art, antiques, design and jewellery.
Many exhibitors reported strong sales this year throughout the fair and across all categories supporting the ethos of cross-collecting, with collectors and curators noting the exceptionally high quality of works offered this year – evidence that the exhibitors saved their very best pieces for the fair.
“Masterpiece London captured the beauty and emotion of collectable art, and it was truly impressive to see so many exquisite pieces brought together under one roof. It also afforded us a chance to truly appreciate the creators we already know well and to discover thrilling new ones.” said J-F Courville, Executive Vice, President and Chief Operating Officer for RBC Wealth Management. “RBC Wealth Management was honoured to have been the first principal sponsor of such a successful event and would like to thank the artists, exhibitors and organisers for their inspiration and dedication.”
The prize for ‘Stand of the Year’ went to Sladmore Contemporary who meticulously recreated sculptor Nic Fiddian Green’s studio. As well as being an impressive feat of design it certainly paid dividends with Gerald Farrell reporting 48 sales to date ranging in price from £8,000 to £250,000 with still more in the pipeline.
The prize for ‘Object of the Year’ went to Tim Noble and Sue Webster’s ‘The Masterpiece”, specially commissioned for the fair and exhibited by Blain|Southern (Stand D31). This shadow sculpture is currently under consideration by a major US institution.
A strong museum presence at the fair included representatives from Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Wallace Collection, Rijksmuseum, Museum of Fine Art, Houston. MOMA, British Museum, Museum of Fine Arts San Francisco, Victoria & Albert Museum, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Royal Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, National Galleries of Scotland, The Getty, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Dresden and TATE were among the museum interest.
Navy Vassegh, CEO Masterpiece London, “This year the Fair has surpassed all expectations in terms of quality of works on offer and the breadth and enthusiasm of the collectors attending. I would like to thank our exhibitors and partners for making our 5th edition the most successful to date.”
Collectors came from far and wide with many exhibitors commenting on increased American, Russian, Asian, Chinese, French, Belgian and Greek attendance this year. Of particular note were Ellie Cullman, Scott Snyder, Rose Tarlow, Audrey Gruss, Freddy and Muriel Salem, Hilary and Wilbur Ross, Kim Heirston-Evans, Charles Saatchi, Jay Jopling, Nasser David Khalili, Maryam Eisler, Maria and Malek Sukkar, Michelle d’SouzaIri, Ryan Erenstein and Fatima Maleki.
Further sales of note include:
- John Mitchell Fine Paintings sold Sir Joshua Reynolds Portrait of Major General Alexander Dury, Lieutenant Colonel, 1st Guards (1704-1758) and has the Willem Van der Velde under offer at £345,000.
- Osborne Samuel sold their Lynn Chadwick ‘Back to Venice’ sculpture for £250,000.
- Bowman Sculpture sold The Kiss – 3rd Reduction by Auguste Rodin for £580,000 and two smaller pieces.
- Philip Mould & Company had a very impressive fair. Sales include two portraits by Sir Peter Lely, a portrait by Duncan Grant and a portrait miniature by John Smart, depicting his daughter Anna Maria Woolf (née Smart).
- Richard Philp sold a stunning set of Lombardy Renaissance marriage portraits to a private English Collector for £240,000.
- Crane Kalman sold important works William Nicholson, Graham Sutherland and Craigie Aitchison.
- Elle Shushan has sold over six miniatures including selling a portrait of the Countess of Craven to actress Diana Rigg.
- Ronald Phillips sold a pair of Irish chairs for a seven figure sum, a pair of side tables and a pair of Bolton candelabra.
- Edward Hurst sold a major piece of English furniture to an American institution. A William Kent hall bench that came from the same workshop as a pair at Holkham Hall had three US museums and one English collector bidding for the piece.
- Chiale Antiquariato sold a fireplace designed by Pelagio Palagi and constructed by Gaggini brothers together with the letter dated 14 march 1836 when Palagi ordered the fireplace from the Gaggini brothers.
- Robert Young Antiques sold 20 pieces of vernacular furniture and Folk Art including a Georgian Burr Elm “Pancake Top” Cricket Table c.1760, a rare and sculptural Three Legged Windsor Chair made of elm and oak, Welsh c.1720 and a zinc Dog Breeders Trade Sign in the form of a fox terrier, English c.1910.
- Sladmore sold two Rembrandt Bugatti bronzes and a number of early 20th century animal sculptures.
- Tomasso Brothers sold two eye-catching works to European private collectors including the sculpture ‘Greyhound’ (1834) by Joseph Hall the Younger (b. 1789) made from Derbyshire Alabaster and Ashford Marble.
- Thomas Gibson Fine Art’s sold works including Bridget Riley and William Nicholson, which was on sale for £190,000.
- Whitestone Gallery sold 4 pictures including Andy Warhol, reigning Queens, 1985 and a large abstract by Chiyu Uemae with an important work by Yayoi Kusama on reserve.
- Les Enluminures sold both sets of Spanish rings as complete collections (23 rings in all). They have sold a good selection on poesy rings and one important book of hours.
- Symbolic & Chase had an exceptional fair selling a diamond, emerald and yellow gold ‘Snake’ bracelet watch by Bulgari, a pair of titanium and diamond ear clips, French, 2014 by Sabba and a modernist two-tone gold and hematite pendant by Gustave Sandoz (valued at over 6 figure sum).
- Sandra Cronan sold at least 20 pieces, across a good range of price and periods with a further dozen pieces on reserve or with serious interest.
- Adrian Sassoon had a great start and subsequently sold every day, taking their sales to over 60 individual pieces.
- Fitzgerald Fine Arts first time exhibitor, sold works from across the gallery’s selection of monumental and smaller-scale between £20,000 and £150,000.
- Michael Goedhuis said they had a sell-out fair, selling 11 pieces.
- Vanderven Oriental Art sold a number of porcelain pieces and an early Terracotta work to private English and Swiss Collectors.
- Charles Ede had their best fair to date and an excellent preview. The Egyptian limestone relief fragment of a religious procession sold to a well-known British contemporary artist (£75,000) and Roman glass cameo fragment, 9479, to a UK museum. The most valuable item they sold was an Egyptian limestone ushabti for Yahu, Private collector for £190,000.
Adrian Sutton, Blain|Southern Director quoted “This is our second year at Masterpiece London which has become a must on the International Arts calendar. Every year we meet new collectors and reconnect with our existing clients – it is the perfect environment to present works of art for sale.”
Floris Vanderven commented “Masterpiece has its own identity and flavour. It is an international fair with a British flavour. It is now on the map and in people’s diaries as a must visit. In only 5 years this is a real achievement and it is here to stay! There is an excellent mix of dealers specialising in high quality objects from the quirky to exotic.”
T. Peter Kraus, Ursus Books, added, “We are so happy to be exhibiting at Masterpiece London. An elegant fair, professionally produced and organised.”
Philip Mould, “In its fifth year Masterpiece London has really come of age with an increase in quality of visitor and works of art on display. It was a highly successful selling fair for us this year.”
Benjamin Walker, Gallery Director of Fitzgerald Fine Arts said “I love this fair! We sold to a number of internationally-renowned collectors and have had strong interest from museum curators. If the potential after sales come through, it will become a ‘ten out of ten’ event for us with 25% of clients completely new to us.”
This year in association with Thomas Dane Gallery, Masterpiece London presented: Phillip King an exhibition of significant large-scale outdoor sculpture in the leafy surrounds of Ranelagh Gardens that will remain on view throughout the summer until 25 August commemorating the sculptor’s 80th birthday.
The 2014 Masterpiece Marie Curie Party in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care and sponsored by Jaeger-LeCoultre raised a staggering £900,000 chaired by Heather Kerzner and her team. This is a new record for the charity evening at Masterpiece London and attracted many of London’s great and good including Jaeger-LeCoultre ambassadors Clive Owen, Monica Lewinski, Amber and Yasmin Le Bon, Tanya Bryer, Amanda Wakeley, Princesses Beatrice, Rachel Hunter and auctioneer and Sotheby’s Chairman Henry Wyndham.
Other high profile visitors and collectors throughout the fair included: Eddie Redmayne, Sir Paul Smith, Zandra Rhodes, Tom Ford, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Prince Michael of Kent, Marc Quinn, Anish Kapoor, Richard E. Grant, Sir Bob Geldof, Mika, Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster, Nick Candy and Holly Valance, Joan Collins, Diana Rigg, Jacqueline Bisset, Gordon Ramsay, Mary Beard, Duke of Kent.