Masterpiece London 2012 triumphs on its opening day

  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • /
  • June 28, 2012

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‘High Windows (Happy Life) 2006’ courtesy of Robilant + Voena

Yesterday saw Masterpiece London’s busiest Preview yet, with a record 5,195 international and UK collectors and designers streaming through its doors to find the most beautiful pieces, from the best of the best. 

Dealers from the world over, collectively selling £1billion of art under one roof at Masterpiece London, are confident that the third year, which has brought together more exhibitors than ever before, will be a resounding success. 

Masterpiece London strives for quality and diversity, offering the world’s very best in fine and decorative arts and premium collectors’ items, within supremely elegant surroundings.  Taking in this unparalleled fair gives fascinating insight into current art market trends, supported by significant sales.

Egypt is in the headlines at Masterpiece London too

A remarkable wealth of Egyptian artefacts can be seen at this year’s fair, demonstrating a fascination with Egypt’s rich and influential culture.  Sycomore Ancient Art’s large wooden statue of a high ranking Egyptian official dating from 2570-2350 BC sold almost immediately, to a German museum for well over £1 million. Meanwhile, Rupert Wace Ancient Art has sold four pieces of an Egyptian stucco falcon head from c.300 BC, to a new customer introduced to the dealer through Masterpiece London.

Celebrated jeweller Hemmerle chose the first day of the fair to launch its spectacularly bold Egyptian-inspired jewellery, and Safani’s incredibly rare, museum-quality Egyptian polychrome wood “Posno” sarcophagus (Dynasty 21, c.1,000-900 BC), Egyptian bronze figure of a seated cat (Dynasty 26-30, ca. 664-343 BC) and Egyptian bronze and wood Ibis (Late Period - Ptolemaic, ca. 664-30 BC) are all the focus of great interest.

Contemporary art and design making waves

2012 also sees Masterpiece London’s most extensive offering of contemporary art and design yet. A first-timer to the fair, Based Upon brings its highly acclaimed, large-scale and bespoke artworks and sculptural furniture, and has already successfully sold two key pieces – its ‘Table / Twist / Mini” sculpted table, and bespoke urban landscape entitled ‘Remembering Knightsbridge’, created specially for the fair. 

Recently knighted Marc Newson makes two appearances: exhibitor Geoffrey Diner exhibited Newson’s iconic Lockhead Lounger, widely considered one of the 20th century’s most coveted pieces of furniture, and which sold almost instantly; and Riva’s impressive stand exhibits its show-stopping collector’s edition powerboat “The Riva Aquariva by Mark Newson”.

Damien Hirst is also very well represented: Gagosian Gallery unveiled the eminent artist’s gold-plated silver ‘Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain 2008’ to great acclaim, and Robilant + Voena’s ‘High Windows (Happy Life)’ 2006 [pictured] has received tremendous interest.

The calibre of jewellers exhibiting at Masterpiece London is second-to-none. Hancocks London, Theo Fennell, Fred Leighton, Symbolic & Chase, Sandra Cronan, Epoque Fine Jewels, Verdura, A La Vieille Russie, Wartski, Deborah Elvira, S. J. Phillips and 21st Century Jewels are all involved. Siegelson, from New York sold an exquisite Cartier Brooch for approximately US$350,000 to a private collector, and Symbolic & Chase have had strong interest in a Cartier necklace with a price tag of over US$6,000,000. 

Sladmore Gallery has had an incredible start to the fair, with all Martinet sculptures on their stand sold on day one to multiple buyers.

The award for best stand went to Sam Fogg, Hancocks London coming a close second. Amir Mohtashemi won the object of the year, for a Gujarat pen box from the Simon Digby Collection - late 16th to early 17th century, inlaid with mother of pearl figures and animals.

Harry Apter, Fair Founder and Director of Apter-Fredericks Ltd, sums up the atmosphere of the Preview: “This has without doubt been our very best opening day at Masterpiece London yet.  We’ve already sold to clients we have not seen in five to ten years, who wanted to know what the ‘Masterpiece’ buzz was all about.”


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