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Art

It must be hard enough being the first out of the traps for a new season in London, but throw in a change of location and a re-emergence for the Fair after a year out, and Gay Hutson and Angela Wynn - the Fair Organisers of 20/21 British Art Fair - were doubtless on a knife edge as to whether things would work out.

Situated on the Mall at the Mall galleries, this quintessentially British Fair, having run for 28 years in various locations, was well supported by a top named raft of Galleries. Whitford Fine Art, Richard Green, Osbourne Samuel Gallery, Duncan Miller and Messum’s to name a few. 

Essentially, the whole Fair centers on British art, mostly from the 20th century, some contemporary, but a very British affair indeed with a price point starting at £500.00 up to and in the region of £350,000.00. Well represented were artists such as Sir Terry Frost, Dame Elizabeth Frink, Henry Moore, Keith Vaughan and Ivon Hitchens. Strangely enough, given the surroundings (Admiralty Arch, the Mall, Buckingham Palace) you really do feel what it’s like to be British on the way into the Fair, so the new location seems totally compatible with the content, and with the level of support the Fair has from exhibiting Galleries, I’m sure 20/21 will be back at the Mall Galleries next year, guns blazing.

The exhibitors were offering a mixed bag of comments as to how the Fair had progressed. The comments ranged from best Fair ever, to some clients seemingly sitting on their hands in as far Brexit is concerned, however, I’m always of the belief that if a client really likes a piece, they’ll buy it, and as is the case so often with Fairs, there may well be some after-sales. Certainly the onsite wrapping, packing and shipping people seemed happy, with a response to the ‘how’s the Fair going’ question, being “we’ve been constantly busy”.

2021aThe Main Hall at the Mall Galleries 20/21 - Sunday afternoon

A somewhat poignant exhibition within the Fair, was that of Sim Fine Art who presented a whole wall of works by an ambulance driver come wartime artist called Ronald Fuller. He was a conscientious objector who faced a tribunal, and was exempted from military service during WW2 on the basis that he performs alternative civilian duties. This window into wartime Britain during the Blitz was moving, and acutely gentle in so far as its emotional pull. A collection of very polite renditions of life in London during those harrowing years. Sim Fine Art currently have an exhibition running titled ‘Holding the Line - The Art of the War Years’, with more information available on their website.

S.21.a'Holding the Line - The Art of the War Years' part of the current exhibition at Sim Fine Art

R.F.1The Stretcher Party by Ronald Fuller - Duty Room CAT. 50 Graphite, dated Jan 31, 1942

So what sold at 20/21? 

Speaking with a few dealers after the Fair, all but none were upbeat about 20/21, and its future. Alan Wheatley Gallery had a very busy Fair with a number pieces selling by Alan Davie; prices ranged from between £3000.00 and £100,000.00 with some serious interest in the upper bracket works being followed up after the Fair. Mark Goodman of Goodman Fine Art said he had a fantastic Fair selling twelve pieces, with only two of those works going to existing clients. He was thrilled at having sold a Graham Sutherland for somewhere in the region of £100,000.00. "A real testament to the pulling power of the Fair and the organisers" he said.

Matthew Travers of Piano Nobile Gallery noted that a number of new collectors visited the Fair, perhaps looking to make the jump from contemporary prints. He has some strong after-show interest in a major Ivon Hitchens, and he sold a number of pieces by John Golding in the £8,000.00 - £10,000.00 price bracket. Sarah Long of Long and Ryle sold a stream of works by Kate Montgomery in the region of £2,000.00 and a piece by John Monks for £21,000.00, amoung others. Again, Sarah had nothing but praise for the focused offering at the Fair.

What came through loud and clear in the conversations with dealers both during the show and after the doors had closed, was the level of support for 20/21. There may have been a hiatus last year for this quintessentially British Art Fair, but the dealers we spoke to were hungry for more, and they enjoyed exhibiting at the Mall Galleries in 2017, and for the most part, ready to do it all again next year.

abc KM2017 Walk At Dusk30 by 20cms minWalk at Dusk 2017 casein on birch panel 30 x 27 cm by Kate Montgomery - sold at £ 1,100 inc. vat at Long and Ryle Gallery

1abcSalon by John Monks min 2Salon 2017 oil on canvas 92 x 107 cm by John Monks £ 21,000 incl. vat at Long and Ryle Gallery

Screen Shot 2017 09 19 at 15.05.48John Golding 1929-2012 Untitled, 1981 Signed and dated lower right 'Golding 81' Pastel on paper 55 x 75 cm 21 5/8 x 29 1/2 in sold for £12,000 at Piano Nobile Gallery

abcTwo and Two image 1 min 2'Two and Two' by Norman Dilworth sold in the region of £7,000 at Redfern Gallery

Gaye HutsonGay Hutson 20/21 British Art Fair Organiser

For additional information: 20/21

 

About the Author

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee founded his antique business in 1994. Having bought his first Antique piece at the tender age of eleven, it has since then been his passion for Antiques, Fine Art, and aesthetically beautif...