With Frieze Week in the rearview, the marathon of art fairs subsides from London. Amid speculation and curiosity, art week in London can be summed up as: ‘Old dog, new tricks’.
The last three London Friezes have operated in the shadow of Brexit and political uncertainty in the United Kingdom. But with the October 31st deadline set, gallerists and collectors entered the Regent’s Park tents with more certainty than previously expected. “[D]ealers reported that sales were steady, with several larger galleries pre-selling enough work to sell out early….Gagosian had sold its entire booth of eye-catching neon yellow paintings by Sterling Ruby, for $325,000 each, the fair had been open for ten minutes.” (Artsy).
Artprice, a Paris-based art market information provider recognised a 5% increase in overall prices; within their Artprice100, an index of ‘blue-chip’ artists designed for ‘ financiers and investors’ contributed 16% growth to the market. Within the tents of Frieze and auxiliary fairs, collectors bought with more confidence and turned to a trusted medium.
Painting. The gold standard of the art market.
This phenomena is a marked change from the previous years where more multidisciplinary works inhabited the fair, and these shifts can be seen with established and emerging artists. And while things such as political uncertainty originally turned collectors skittish, The Art Newspaper points out:
“Paintings are easier to sell to private collectors because they are unique pieces rather than editions,…While providing a more reliable market than other more cutting-edge art forms, painting has the added bonus of being practical, says the Financial Times art market columnist Melanie Gerlis. ‘It’s a lot easier to contemplate buying a painting for your wall than a conceptual installation that requires feathers or flowers to be replaced once a month.’”
Whether you collect as an art lover, as an investment for returns in the future, or for a potential tax write-off, the trend towards collecting paintings over “newer” mediums ultimately shows the strength in painting and its ability to hold not only value, but collector attention. As pointed out by Silvia Ortiz, the director of the Madrid-based gallery Travesía Cuatro “People don’t want to lose the humanity of making things by hand” (The Art Newspaper)
With the dominance of the traditional medium of painting at this season’s London fairs, the reliance on the art market’s gold standard shows the resilience of London’s place as a center of art and an adaptive market of creators.
For our newest show “Romeo, Romeo! Drop me a Pin”, established artists John Paul Fauves, Sara Pope and Dimitri Likissas, all artworks are created using oil paint — a material often forgone in favor of fast drying acrylic paint. Many works from the show have found their way to collectors worldwide.
All works available now on Artsy.
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