Two major international galleries have teamed up to stage an exhibition while vetted art and antiques fairs continue to be put on hold.
London ceramics specialist Adrian Sassoon joins Stockholm’s 20th century Nordic design dealership Modernity for a show running until October 28.
Adrian Sassoon at the London House of Modernity takes place at 14 Cavendish Square, Marylebone, which the Swedish gallery adopted as a new UK showroom in February.
“London is without a doubt one of our strongest markets,” Andrew Duncanson, owner and director of Modernity tells ATG. However, the promising acquisition was quickly followed by advent of coronavirus.
“In the beginning we dropped 70% of our turnover. Now it has stabilised and we are selling both in our London showroom and online,” Duncanson says. “The fact that we have no fairs for the rest of this year obviously affects our sales heavily.”
The fairs circuit is also important to Sassoon, who takes part in five international events annually. “Modernity participate in those same ones and more,” he says. “So we have known each other for years and I have a lot of respect for their stock and their presentation skills.”
When design fair PAD London, originally scheduled to open this month, became the latest to be scrapped due to coronavirus concerns, Modernity suggested joining forces at its new showroom.
The Palladian mansion provides 7000sq ft of space spread over five floors. Period detail as well as stripped walls and exposed brickwork and rafters offer a dramatic backdrop for the featured works.
Sassoon’s Contemporary highlights, such as a Kate Malone’s Atomic Snow Bowl and Danish glassblower Tobias Møhl’s new Seven-Part Leaf Collection, both created this year, are positioned around a range of furniture and design from Modernity. Stand-out works include a Stavenow rug by Märta Måås Fjetterström and an Alvar Aalto floorlamp.
Another highlight from Modernity is a Chieftain Chair designed in 1949 by Danish architect Finn Juhl. The example, which is from the original cabinetmaker and with its original leather, is offered for £145,000.
“Art dealers certainly are more likely to sell things to collectors if the latter can see them in person, so the lack of travel is very difficult to get around,” Sassoon says of staging a show in a time of pandemic. Even so, he joins in the familiar refrain of dealers that physical shows are still crucial.
“Most works of art are intended to be seen in a room; they live their life in a room or in a museum gallery, so we find that presenting them in that way is ideal,” he adds. “This is a way in which, with outstanding photography and filming, we are able to send out a visual account of a display, an exhibition, in a real interior. So it is not simply an exhibition, but also an online account of the show.”
The two dealerships are among many looking to tweak their usual models in the face of the continuing difficulties.
This month would also have featured the staging of Frieze London and Frieze Masters. Despite the launch of the Frieze Viewing Room to reach collectors around the world, businesses such as Richard Green,
Ingleby Gallery and Colnaghi are also holding shows in their own premises to mirror and sometimes supplement the virtual offering.
Meanwhile, Sassoon is offering an extra range of stock through Sotheby’s new direct purchase exhibition space in New Bond Street. The inaugural show, which runs until November 6, features 70 Contemporary items from Sassoon’s stock including ceramic, glass and silver.
As well as more recent works, Sassoon specialises in 18th century French porcelain.