Sure enough, less than a week later, they purchased a statue of a draped goddess listed at just under £200,000 from the firm’s stand – at Masterpiece.
It was a welcome reward for the gallery, one of several that chose to go through the gruelling process of appearing at both TEFAF and Masterpiece despite a one-day overlap this summer.
“Fortunately the client liked the goddess, fortunately we had enough stock to furnish two stands as well,” said Charles Ede managing director Martin Clist.
While the concurrence of the two art world giants forced some galleries to choose between them (MacConnal- Mason, for example, went for Masterpiece while Stair Sainty plumped for TEFAF) for a few, both events proved unmissable.
Dickinson, Oscar Graf, Bowman Sculpture, Osborne Samuel and David Aaron were among those joining Charles Ede to show on the continent and at home, whatever the cost.
“We were stretched very thin because we’re really only three people,” Clist said. While those three held the fort at TEFAF, Jamie Ede – son of the gallery’s founder – set up at Masterpiece with his wife.
Ultimately the effort paid off. TEFAF concluded with around 30 sales including an Egyptian sculptor’s limestone trial piece of a kneeling pharaoh, listed for €38,000, which went to the Musée Royal de Mariemont in Belgium. In London the firm parted with around 20 pieces but for bigger prices including three in the six figures, making it the gallery’s best Masterpiece to date.
Dealerships at both fairs found a difference between attendees at Masterpiece, making a triumphant return to its traditional timeslot, and TEFAF, which had been shuffled to a new one.
Emma Ward, managing director of international picture firm Dickinson, echoed the findings of other dealers when she reported that private buyers were thinner on the ground in Europe possibly because they had “already left [on holiday] for the summer or were in London”.
Its sales in London, where the fair returned at its traditional timeslot, included six pieces to private buyers, several of whom were new clients. As for the experience as a whole, “it was a challenge, I won’t lie,” Ward said. “It was not easy because you have completely separate presentations to put on at each fair.”
They capitalised on the breadth of their offerings featuring pieces by Barbara Hepworth, Frank Auerbach and various British Old Masters in London, while their stand at TEFAF was pitched to attract the museum buyers who came as hoped.
Though sculpture dealer Robert Bowman of Bowman Sculpture also reflected that some of the typical “heavyweight” buyers were missing overseas, he also reported sales at both events.
He manned the TEFAF stand presenting the gallery’s range of historic, Modern and Contemporary pieces. Sales there included bronzes by Auguste Rodin and Constantin Meunier. Meanwhile, his daughter and gallery director Mica Bowman curated and ran the Masterpiece stand with a presentation of Contemporary sculpture. Sales included works by Emily Young, Hanneke Beaumont and Maurice Blik.