Brothers Robert and Jonathan Sandelson have bought the fair from co-founders Gay Hutson and Angela ‘Bunny’ Wynn, who launched the event as the 20th Century British Art Fair in 1988.
The event’s focus has been on modern and contemporary British art. For its upcoming edition (September 20-23), however, it will be expanded in size and remit and will include pre-1900 to contemporary British art.
The much-loved event’s edition at Mall Galleries last September was its first staging at that venue after many years at the Royal College of Art and a hiatus in 2016.
Robert Sandelson, a dealer and now the fair organiser, and Jonathan first approached Wynn and Hutson after that latest fair, with a view towards finding a new home for it.
The Sandelsons agreed a five-year deal with Saatchi Gallery.
“The offer was a complete surprise but, just maybe after over 30 years, the fair needs an injection of fresh ideas and investment which we feel the Sandelson family can provide,” said Wynn and Hutson (who also founded the fair’s precursor, World of Watercolours Fair, in 1986) in a statement.
“We are very grateful to all our exhibitors who have made the fair what it is today and are confident it will be in very safe hands.”
The pair will stay on as consultants for at least two years.
The Sandelsons attended the first edition of the fair in 1988 with their mother’s gallery, Montpelier Studio, and Robert later exhibited. The next edition of the fair will be held in honour of their father Victor, a collector and journalist.
“This September will be the 30th edition of the fair and we’re looking forward to the next 30 years,” Jonathan said.
Nigel Hurst of Saatchi Gallery said: “We’re delighted to be working with the British Art Fair and helping them provide the high-profile platform British artists and their galleries deserve at the Saatchi Gallery this September.”
Future plans for the fair including moving it to New York where the Sandlesons say that interest in British art remains high.
“We are confident the fair will be in very safe hands