‘Frieze Masters’ has acquired further gravitas following its successful launch last year by signing up several new heavyweight exhibitors for the 2013 event from October 17-20 in London’s Regent’s Park.
Directed by Victoria Siddall, Frieze
Masters was started by the team behind the Contemporary
art juggernaut Frieze London, founded by Matthew Slotover
and Amanda Sharp and now in its 11th year. The new venture is
dedicated to art from the Ancient to Modern - essentially any 2D
and 3D art produced pre-2000, but excluding furniture and
The cool 'shades of grey' interior designed
by Annabelle Selldorf acted as an effective blank canvas in which
dealers could mix genres and periods to encourage buyers to look at
purchasing across disciplines rather than confining themselves to
one collecting field.
This approach proved popular with many of
the exhibitors and with a number of visiting dealers who had
decided to see how the event fared in its first year before
applying to stand.
This year's event has around 120 exhibitors
from 15 countries, with new galleries including: Dan Galeria (São
Paulo); Dickinson (London); Dominique Lévy Gallery (New York);
Galerie Malingue (Paris); Galerie Sanct Lucas (Vienna); Johnny Van
Haeften (London); Landau Fine Art (Montreal); Mitchell-Innes &
Nash (New York); Mnuchin Gallery (New York); Otto Naumann (New
York); Richard Gray Gallery (Chicago); Richard Green Gallery,
(London); and Skarstedt Fine Art (New York).
The concept of Frieze
Masters certainly had its naysayers, not least some of
the dealers who will this year join the event.
One was Johnny Van Haeften, the St
James's-based specialist in Dutch and Flemish Old Master
"I decided to apply for a stand when I
visited the fair last year and found half of my clients there, who
had not had time (or maybe the inclination!) to visit the gallery,"
he told ATG.
"I always said that after the demise of
Grosvenor House, which was sad, I would never do another fair in
London and would concentrate on Maastricht. Although I like and
enjoy Masterpiece, which is a great fair, I didn't feel I
had to do it, as it coincided with Master
Paintings Week, in which we have a modest role.
"But Frieze Masters was an
entirely new and innovative concept, which underlined the necessity
of moving with the times, bringing Old Masters into the ambit of
modern, young collectors, who thought perhaps that Old Masters were
unattainable both in terms of price and availability.
Above: Johnny Van Haeften.
"I made a huge mistake (not uncommon) in
eschewing the first fair, despite a splendid lunch with Matthew
Slotover and Amanda Sharp, and mea culpa thought it might not
work. I'm the first to admit I was completely wrong, and my
reservations totally unfounded! I couldn't wait to put myself down
on the waiting list."
Van Haeften added that the timing for him is
good, as being separated by six months from TEFAF
Maastricht in March, it gives him time to replenish
The final Grosvenor House in 2009 was also
the last London fair at which another Frieze
Masters newcomer, Richard Green, exhibited.
Explaining the gallery's decision to take
part in the new fair, Jonathan Green said: "We were very interested
when Frieze Masters began and I thought it was
beautifully presented last year. Obviously we realised, as did the
fair organisers, that we were a completely natural fit because of
our simultaneous specialisations in Old Masters and international
Modern art, which are the twin parameters of the fair.
"The fair invites us to look across the
broad scope of our collection, which covers about 400 years of art
history, and look for resonances and juxtapositions between artists
from different eras and countries. This is what many collectors do
too," he continued.
"We buy only the best quality and value we
can find, so we are not buying with Frieze Masters in
mind particularly. But I think you can be sure that some surprising
contrasts will appear between the Old Masters and modern artists
that we select. Artists we are likely to include are Ambrosius
Bosschaert the elder, Jan Brueghel the elder, Pablo Picasso, Ben
Nicholson, Henry Moore and Josef Albers."
James Roundell, director of Dickinson and
chairman of The Society of London Art Dealers (SLAD), also told ATG
of Dickinson's decision to apply to Frieze Masters.
"We had exhibited at the Pavilion of Art
& Design London for several years and so felt a
loyalty to them. But we could only show our 20th century department
works at PAD, where we did particularly well with Modern
British works. So we decided to see how Frieze Masters
arranged itself at first and if it was going to become an accepted
part of the London art market.
"When we visited, we were really excited by
it and impressed by the range and quality of exhibits - we felt we
belonged there. At Frieze Masters we can show the
whole range of our gallery, Old Masters through Modern to classic
Contemporary. It should be a perfect fit.
"We have wished Frieze Masters well
from the start and think the organisation is very efficient, and
their marketing reach excellent, which will hopefully enable us to
meet new clients. Dickinson are delighted to be accepted and hope
the fair will be a success again this year."
Mr Roundell continued that, in his role as chairman of SLAD, he
has had a longer association with the fair, as SLAD approached
Frieze after the closure of Grosvenor House with the
suggestion that they organised a pre-Contemporary art fair as a
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