Magazine of art press and reviews from London
Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair 2014 in London.
Monday, 22nd June 2014
The 42nd edition of Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair closed its doors with success having attracted over 26,500 visitors from countries as far afield as Argentina, the Philippines, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Sales were reported across multiple disciplines.
Over 4,000 people attended the Preview Day, with several dealers reporting early sales. Craig Carrington saw a proliferation of red dots on his stand and sold a number of neoclassical objects for healthy five-figure sums, among them an early 19th century pair of bronze centaurs by Boschetti. Primal art dealer Clive Loveless sold two Wunda parrying swords, one of which was sold to an Australian client and another to the Garter King of Arms. New exhibitor Max Rutherston sold eleven pieces of Japanese Netsuke to an individual collector, and José Sanina sold a 19th century Chinese wine cooler within the first five minutes of the Fair. Gallery representative Leticia Goncalvez commented: “The atmosphere was amazing. There were lots of collectors who were very knowledgeable and we’ve made some great contacts. This is our first time at a UK fair and it has been a very positive experience.” Adding to the glamour of the evening, the Fair’s charity partner CLIC Sargent brought around 500 guests; Hana Tiller, Head of London Events for the charity commented: “We are well on target to raise the £100,000 net target that we set to support young people in our care at the Royal Marsden, Fulham.”
Several exhibitors made sales of Twentieth Century British Art, including Austin Desmond Fine Art, returning to the Fair after several years, who sold works by Prunella Clough, Barry Flanagan and Vanessa Bell. Bell’s 1930 painting Autumn Leaves in a Jug, which numbered amongst the works sold, carried a ticket price of £25,000. The Taylor Gallery sold works by Edward Seago, including a painting of Cromer in the region of £100,000.
Ian Walker of Walker Galleries Ltd commented “Having exhibited at Olympia for many years, and returned after a period away from the Fair, this was one of the best Olympia fairs we have ever had. We sold to clients from Portugal, United States and China.” Tony Haynes of Haynes Fine Art of Broadway stated: “We enjoyed what has proven our highest volume of sales in the past 23 years of us doing the show”, including works by L.S. Lowry, Dorothea Sharp, Andy Warhol and Banksy, a sketch by John Constable priced at £15,000 and eighteen paintings by contemporary artist Tony Karpinski.
Furniture dealers also reported sales spanning a wide spectrum of periods and styles. Patrick Sandberg Antiques sold a 19th century Sheraton style satinwood Carlton House Desk in the region of £20,000 to an American collector who had come to London especially for the Fair. Guy Dennler Antiques sold a George I serpentine side table and a pair of George III commodes, and Wakelin & Linfield sold a pair of faux bamboo Regency Bergère chairs to a new customer from Australia. S&S Timms Antiques Ltd sold a circular rosewood Regency breakfast table to an American dealer, and Anthony Outred Ltd sold two hall benches dated 1890 and a very large Spanish Planter dated 1860. Peter Bunting sold a number of pieces of oak furniture, and an Italian Atelier Fornasetti desk, circa 1990, was sold by Holly Johnson Antiques for £16,500. John Hansord of Hansord commented “We sold to new and old clients including Americans and Europeans, both trade and private buyers”.
This year Olympia welcomed a strong contingent of European dealers, from countries including Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Olivé Mayoral from Barcelona sold a work on paper by Joan Miro in the region of £100,000, and Portuguese exhibitor Manuel Castilho sold an early 17th century Mughal miniature with a ticket price of £15,000. New Italian exhibitor AJASSA sold a Qing Dynasty Family portrait and a Chinese porcelain vase, and Schütz Fine Art from Austria sold two paintings by contemporary Chinese artists Wang Xiaosong and Hua Li for a combined price of £35,000. Gallery representative Nikolaus Leskovar commented: “This is our first time at Olympia and we’ll definitely be back. I like the mixture of exhibits at the Fair – it means I meet collectors I wouldn’t otherwise meet. I really feel like I have potential here that I don’t have in other cities and fairs”.
A number of exhibitors remarked on an increase in international collectors. Jeremy Astfalck of The Old Corkscrew, commented “We have made twice as many sales as last year”, selling to collectors from New Zealand, South Africa, United States, The Netherlands, Germany and The Channel Islands. Offer Gildor of Gilden’s Art Gallery commented “We sold throughout the fair and were impressed by the quality of people. There was a good international mix, and we sold to buyers from Italy, the US, Kuwait and Brazil”. Roger Aiken of LocksonServices Ltd observed “This year we have seen a much broader geographical spread of shipping bookings and enquiries, covering countries including the United States, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, UAE, Germany, Japan and South Africa.”
Sales of smaller items were made throughout the Fair, with Alexandra Alfandary selling 13 important Meissen pieces to collectors from countries including Indonesia and Russia, and Andrew Muir, specializing in Clarice Cliff, selling over 80 items. Glass dealers Mark J West also sold over 80 pieces and M&D Moir sold an Emile Galle ship in the region of £2-3,000. Mary Cooke Antiques Ltd sold a 1769 Tea caddy modelled as a tea chest by royal silversmiths Parker & Wakelin to a buyer from America.
Jewellery exhibitors sold over the course of the event; Anthea AG Antiques Ltd made sales up to £50,000 and sold a number of pieces on the Preview Day to the US Ambassador and his wife including a pair of Kutchinsky earrings and a silver cuff by Buccellati. Dutch jewellery specialist Aimée Van Kranendonk Duffels, who gave a popular talk on the subject of Post-War American Jewellery, commented “We were very happy to see new younger collectors on our stand this year.”
A stand that attracted a significant amount of attention belonged new exhibitor ArtAncient Ltd, complete with a 7ft prehistoric cave bear skeleton. Owner Costas Paraskevaides commented: “There was a good level of well-informed buyers who were particularly interested in antiquities with a strong provenance.” Sales included a terracotta Pre-Columbian Nayarit Ball Player, a Roman Monument to Apollo, 160-170 AD (ticket price £22,000), a European Bronze Age Sword (ticket price £25,000), and five ancient coins priced between £5,000 – £10,000. A particular highlight of this year’s edition was a guest exhibition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Art Nouveau designer Archibald Knox, organised in association with the Archibald Knox Society.
Showcasing the largest collection of Knox’s silverware and metalwork ever displayed in a single venue, the exhibition attracted visitors from Nottingham to Cincinnati. Alongside this non-selling exhibition, a number of dealers reported sales of British Art Nouveau items; Titus Omega sold a Liberty & Co Silver tankard designed by Archibald Knox for £38,500, and Jeroen Markies sold a large painting by Scottish Art Nouveau artist Robert Burns A.R.S.A. with a ticket price of £18,500.
Alongside the Fair’s 141 exhibitors, Olympia also hosted a dynamic events programme with eminent speakers from institutions such as the British Museum, V&A, National Portrait Gallery and Sotheby’s Institute. The final day of the programme, which consisted of a series of three lectures organised by VIEW: A Festival of Art History in association with Institut français, proved especially popular. The programme also included lectures by leading interior designers and decorators Roger Jones, Mario Buatta and Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, whose talk “The Life of the House: How Rooms Evolve” was organised in association with the British Institute of Interior Design. Benjamin Aardewerk of Holly Johnson Antiques commented: “We noticed major interior designers were roaming the Fair”; and indeed a number of exhibitors sold to US decorator Rose Tarlow, including Wakelin & Linfield and Robert Barley Antiques, who had one of the best fairs of recent years. Fair Director, Mary Claire Boyd, commented: “Founded over forty years ago, the Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair is the most established art and antiques fair in London, and yet again our exhibitors put on a really fantastic event. This year we were delighted to welcome many returning dealers as well as a strong contingent of new exhibitors from around the world, collectively offering a remarkable range of quality art, antiques, furniture and collector’s pieces. There were encouraging sales across all of the Fair’s diverse disciplines, and a notable increase in international collectors, setting a very positive precedent for next year’s Fair.”
The Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair 2014 was at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, Kensington, London, from 6th until 15th June 2014.