A view from London Art Week opening night party at Trois Crayons in Cork Street.

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While works on paper were London Art Week’s (LAW) special focus this year, a wealth of variety could be seen from leading international dealers in master paintings, contemporary art, sculpture and objects.

During LAW 2024, new collaborator Trois Crayons was the focal point for hosting international works on paper dealers, largely from France and Belgium. It is also the venue where you could attend seminars and workshops.

Located at No 9 Cork Street, it forms the Frieze fair’s permanent exhibition space. This fresh collaboration aimed to highlight the capital’s importance as a magnet for Old Master drawings in particular, maintaining London’s position as a destination for global collectors and museum curators.

The exhibition at Trois Crayons was a sidestep into a slightly unfamiliar concept - a ‘fair’ with neither booths or dealers. The mixed hang displayed schools and periods rather than bracketing each gallery’s works together in definitive sections.

Museums in town

LAW brought together 17 participating galleries and 150 works, spanning 500 years. Nearly 20 museums were in town to visit, including Toledo Museum of Art, Getty, The Met and National Gallery of Art, Washington.

The opening party for LAW, held at Trois Crayons, was a giddy and glittering affair. As the crowds jostled for cocktails, spilling onto the street clutching vapes and catalogues, one could almost overlook the Picasso, Warhol and Gainsborough drawings, quietly playing second fiddle to the colourful, high-volume crowds.

Other galleries taking part in LAW distinguished themselves by embracing unique themes, presenting a smorgasbord of creativity.


Antoine-Louis Barye (French, 1795- 1875), Tartar Warrior, c.1845, silvered bronze, 14in high (37cm), priced £14,500 at Sladmore.

Messum’s (Bury Street, St James’s) exhibition titled British Impressions continues until July 26. It aims to showcase the evolution of the post-Impressionist movement into the 20th century and the establishment of the post-war modern movement. Many of the paintings hail from the Staithes, Newlyn and St Ives artist colonies. Many of those artists are now fêted as ringmasters of British Modernism.

Stanhope Alexander Forbes (1857- 1947) was a fixture in that Cornish crew, but while residing in France, painted The Church of St David, Quimperlé. The 3ft 4in x 3ft 8in (1.02 x 1.12m work is offered at £285,000.

From the 1880s to the early 20th century, Quimperlé proved a popular destination for a dynamic contingent of British and Irish painters, largely due to the quality of light and availability of affordable studio spaces.


Outside Chapelle Saint-David in Quimperle by Stanhope Alexander Forbes, priced £285,000 at David Messum Fine Art.

Quirky quartet

Lullo Pampoulides (also see 5 Questions on facing page) sought to highlight rebellion, counterculture and provocation in a show titled The Outsiders’ Genius. The exhibition focused on works from four artists, united by an unusual approach to creativity.

This quirky quartet lived lives that were eccentric at the time, but seem positively radical in retrospect. The artists selected are Johann Carl Schönfeld (1609-84), Louis Cretey (c. 1635-after 1702), Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908) and Lorenzo Viani (1882-1936).

It is probably Viani who provokes the keenest curiosity, as his work is undoubtedly the darkest in content and he is regarded by many as an overlooked genius. The poet, writer and enthusiastic anarchist is largely unknown outside of Italy.

A prolific painter and draughtsman, he worked mostly in Viareggio and, for a short period, in Paris. After serving in the First World War, the brutalised veteran became unnerved by the plight of those who exist on the shadowy fringes. Viani turned his focus onto people and institutions the public prefer to ignore, and the authorities forget or wilfully abandon.

This confrontational, but socially conscious perspective can be seen in his work The Albergo dei Poveri (Poorhouse), 2ft 4in × 3ft 3in (70.5cm × 1m), dating to c.1925. Priced at £120,000, the arresting oil on cardboard is not just a bleak and honest view of the neglected, it is a mirror being held up to society.


Lorenzo Viani (1882-1936), The Albergo dei Poveri (Poorhouse), 1925-7, oil on cardboard, signed L. Viani, 2ft 4in x 3ft 3in (70.5cm x 1m), priced £120,000 at Lullo Pampoulides.

Something about Mary

If there was one exhibition which launched in LAW that might be deemed ‘unmissable’ it would be Mary & the Women She Inspired at Sam Fogg (Clifford Street).

The Virgin Mary is familiar to most people. She is that unviable, quixotic role model, bestowed on women by the patriarchal church. Poor Mary had no idea of the centuries of misogyny that would ensue from giving birth to the Son of God. However, there are at least five other Marys that pop up in biblical narratives: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, Mary of Clopas, Mary Salome, and Mary, the mother of James the Lesser.

The exhibition boasts 22 objects, including a 6th-century Coptic textile of the Virgin and Child and a sculpture of Mary Magdalene covered by her own hair that looks spookily serene and incredibly modern despite hailing from Ile-de-France in the 14th century. It is offered for £500,000.


Mary Magdalene as a hermit, 1305- 13, limestone, 4ft 11in × 15¾ × 11in (1.5m × 40cm × 30cm), available from Sam Fogg for £500,000.

The story which inspired this creation is that following the death of Christ, while in exile in the desert, Mary sprouted hair over her entire body. She returned to society as an ascetic gnostic while sporting a hirsute bodystocking. The temptation to call her ‘Hairy Mary’ must have been overwhelming for the residents of Ephesus, where she is said by to have retired. Obviously, her new found fur was viewed as a miracle and proved an inspirational source for artists and various branches of Christianity.

The show is brilliantly curated, mildly subversive and truly fascinating. It runs until July 26.