ATG have had exclusive access to the first names to sign contracts for Masterpiece, the grand new London fair planned for Chelsea Barracks, SW1, next summer.
Those confirmed as participating in the launch event are acknowledged international names and set the fair on a firm footing to be a destination event – planning permission allowing – next June 24-29.
Among them are A La Vieille Russie from New York; Marchant, S.J. Phillips and Peter Finer from London; and sculpture specialists the Tomasso Brothers from Leeds.
These join the already declared four established London firms who together founded the new fair, Mallett, Ronald Phillips, Apter-Fredericks and Asprey.
Contracts have only recently been issued so the Masterpiece organisers are in the very early stages of naming names, although more will be announced in the coming weeks.
However, those named as having signed up already are a strong line-up in diverse disciplines and give welcome credibility to the upmarket fair billed as ‘the best of the best’, mixing art, antiques and luxury goods.
While contracts have been signed, no money has changed hands since the fair is still awaiting planning permission to use the Chelsea Barracks site. However, the fair’s board insist the procedure could not be progressing any more encouragingly and there should be a result by January.
A spokesman for the fair went so far as to say attaining planning permission was now “a technicality”.
Everyone has admitted the founders of Masterpiece have vision, and the idea of an unashamedly luxury goods fair is a sound one. But we said a short while ago that planning permission was a problem and the board would have to announce some serious names before Christmas for credibility. That they have done.
Three weeks ago, the Haughtons announced some key names joining their Art Antiques London fair in Kensington Gardens from June 9 to 16, but there is no clash between that and Masterpiece and relations between the two are cordial.
The Haughtons’ fair does overlap with the London International Fine Art Fair at Olympia from June 4 to 13, and some top dealers are sitting on the fence until Masterpiece announces it has planning permission before deciding at which June fair to exhibit.
If that is forthcoming early in the new year, then Masterpiece could be in a class of its own.
By David Moss