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This autumnal spectacle of historic artwork returns to London’s Regent’s Park from October 5-8. Aiming to catch the eyes, and the wallets, of major international museums as well as top-flight collectors, it features cross-period art historical show-stoppers against a slick, stripped-down backdrop.

The fair continues to pull in some of the top international galleries. Among exhibitors this year are Caylus (Madrid), Andrew Edmunds (London), Tina Kim Gallery (New York) and Bernard Jacobson Gallery (London). There are also a clutch of new names including Luhring Augustine, Olivier Malingui and Gió Marconi, which will collaborate with returning gallery Luxembourg & Dayan.

Ancient and modern

Cross-over collecting was the inspiration behind the fair when it launched in 2012. Among the recent success stories are Johnny van Haeften who last year sold a major piece to a contemporary collector and Colnaghi which will take a bigger stand this year after selling several pieces to a new overseas collector last year.

But there is an urge on the part of the organisers to set it apart from other, major art and antiques fairs such as TEFAF Maastricht or Masterpiece London and not just through sales. Organiser Victoria Siddall says an extensive programme of ‘curated’ talks helps bring “insights into art history and how it continues to influence artists working today”.

This year’s schedule includes appearances from artists Marina Abramovic and Peter Blake as well as representatives from The Met, The National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Academy. The suggestion is that it is an event to delight the mind as well as entice the buyer. It also has the added benefit of bringing internationally renowned institutions on board.

For exhibitors, the drive to put on a good show can present a challenge. In an effort to stage ‘museum quality shows’, Frieze Masters encourages dealers to stage thematic stands. The exercise can be restrictive, limiting the amount or variety of stock that can be shown. But at a show with the reputation of Frieze Masters, there is a willingness to comply.

Robert Bowman of Bowman Sculpture, made his first appearance at the fair last year. At the request of the organisers, his gallery staged an exhibition of Rodin sculptures on the stand – an effort he says resulted in few sales. However this year Bowman will return for a second pass, this time sharing a – yes, curated – stand with Koetser Gallery.

“ There is an urge to set Freize Masters apart from other major fairs – and not just through sales

Other themed stands include a show of early works by Anthony Caro at Annely Juda Fine Art, a survey of Expressionism in Europe at the stand of Dickinson and a selection of nine post-war sculptures by Barbara Hepworth at Richard Green.

These are grouped under the ‘museum quality exhibitions’ section. Elsewhere, Kallos Gallery will feature a stand constructed as a piece of Classical architecture to showcase art formerly held in renowned collections.

The Collections section will highlight works new to the fair and this year includes ancient Andean textiles ranging from 200 BC-1500 AD from Paul Hughes Fine Art, a collection of books, ephemera and catalogues annotated and illustrated by visual artists from Benjamin Spademan Rare Books and the art of Kawanabe Kyosai from Israel Goldman Japanese Prints.

Frieze Masters is the younger sister of the sprawling contemporary giant Frieze London, which takes place at the same time.

Now in its 15th year, Frieze features yet more talks (this year focusing on living in an age of ‘alternative facts’), a programme of live performances, a sculpture park and, for the first time, a series of film commissions and an evening of music (‘Dancefloor Meditations’).

frieze.com

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