17:30 PM

Frieze Masters 2019: Strong Sales Spanning Six Millennia of Art History


The 2019 edition of Frieze Masters in London’s Regent’s Park closed on Sunday 6 October, reporting significant sales throughout the week, to private collections and public institutions. From pre-historic wonders and antiquities to Renaissance masterpieces and 20th-century art from around the world. Attendees included established and new collectors, and a record number of museum groups and curators. Presented 3-6 October 2019 in The Regent’s Park, Frieze Masters coincides with Frieze London and is supported by global lead partner Deutsche Bank, continuing a shared commitment to discovery and artistic excellence.

Frieze Masters brought together over 130 dealers of international acclaim showcasing Old Masters, antiquities, ethnographic, Surrealist and Modern art. Welcoming new expertise in Asian and 20th-century art, highlights included major works by Cy Twombly, Indian paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries, the last work by Sandro Botticelli (1445 – 1510) in private hands, rare Chinese antiquities and a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite.

Continuing to affirm the quality and diversity of Frieze Masters, the fair collaborated with leading cultural figures and institutions. For the first time, the 2019 Frieze Tate Fund supported by Endeavor, acquired work at Frieze Masters for the national collection, with the purchase of textiles by Jagoda Buić (Richard Saltoun Gallery, Spotlight). Following their celebrated collaboration last year, Frieze and BBC Radio 3 presented the Frieze BBC Museum Debate and Keynote, with a lecture by Michael Govan (LACMA) at Frieze Masters and a panel event at RIBA. The Royal Academy’s Tim Marlow returned to oversee the Frieze Masters Talks programme which featured art world luminaries Ai Weiwei, Mark Bradford, Elizabeth Peyton, Edmund de Waal, and Michael Craig-Martin in conversation with leading museum curators and directors. Sir Norman Rosenthal was joined by Amin Jaffer (The Al Thani Collection) to curate the Collections section, and Laura Hoptman (The Drawing Center, New York) curated the lauded Spotlight section for the first time. The Art Fund Curators programme returned in collaboration with the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.

Victoria Siddall, Global Director, Frieze Fairs said: ‘The atmosphere in London this week has been electric and visitors from all over the world have really seen the city at its best – from the great works shown at Frieze London and Frieze Masters to the fantastic exhibitions and events at museums and galleries across town. The fairs this year were the most international we have ever staged, with galleries from 35 countries and visitors from all over the world, including a record number of curators and museum groups. This strong international presence, coupled with major sales across both fairs, once again attests to London’s importance as a global centre for art and culture. It has been a fantastic fair, and I am enormously grateful to everyone who contributed to its success.’

Nathan Clements-Gillespie, Artistic Director, Frieze Masters, added: ‘Frieze Masters is a unique event with a winning formula that delivered exceptional sales throughout the week. The fair brings together the very best galleries, collectors and professionals from diverse geographies and specialisms. We have been delighted this year to once again see many galleries selling historic works to contemporary collectors, many of whom they have met for the first time at the fair, as well as returning collectors. I want to thank our galleries for bringing exceptional works to Frieze Masters and for making the fair such a success. Thank you also to Art Fund, the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, and BBC Radio 3 for enabling our academic and public programming.’

Art Market

Galleries across the fair’s main and curated sections – Spotlight and Collections reported strong sales at all levels of the market.

Notable transactions included Gagosian’s sales of Cy Twombly paintings, works on paper and sculptures, with numerous works selling in the millions of dollars. Skarstedt sold pieces including a vase by Keith Haring with an asking price of USD 1,300,000, as well as work by Pablo Picasso and Georg Baselitz. David Zwirner sold Release (1964), an important early work by Bridget Riley, as well as works by Ruth Asawa, Raoul De Keyser, an oil painting by Gerhard Richter and a suite of prints by Cy Twombly. Thomas Dane and Richard Saltoun Gallery made a number of key sales including a major work by Bob Law for GBP 220,000. Osborne Samuel Gallery who shared a booth with Koetser Gallery, sold early works by Lynn Chadwick in excess of GBP 100,000. BorzoGallery sold a number of works at their solo presentation of Jan Schoonhoven to European, South American and North American collectors.

Sales that came via ambitious themed stands included those at Hauser & Wirth, who placed works that ranged from EUR 65,000 up to EUR 6.5 million by artists including Mimmo Rotella, Mario Schifano, Gastone Novelli and Carla Accardi among others. Galleria Continua sold Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Tavolo con tavaglia bianca (1982) for EUR 600,000. Dickinson sold Jean Dubuffet’s Escalier (1967) to a private collector.

Old Master specialist, Johnny van Haeften sold Abel Grimmer’s 1604 The Tower of Babel for a price in excess of GBP 1 million to a European collector and Jan Josefsz van Goye’s The Ferry, dated 1625, to an American collector for GBP 300,000. Further highlights included Sam Fogg’s sale of a Pieta (c.1390) from South Germany to a European collector of contemporary art in the region for GBP 200,000 and ArtAncient who sold a 4.5 billion-year old meteorite for an undisclosed price, as well as two Lower Paleolithic axes totaling GBP 50,000 to European collectors of contemporary art. Grosvenor Gallery sold multiple Indian Lingam Stones in the range of GBP 1,000 - 5,000 to new and old collectors.

In the Collections section of the fair, Galerie Kevorkian sold 13 pieces on the first day to collectors and European museums, with prices ranging between EUR 10,000 - 500,000; and Gregg Baker Asian Art sold Shiryú Morita’s So (Wilderness/ Deep Blue) (1963) to a private collector. In the Spotlight section, work by Jacqueline de Jong was a major draw, with all paintings selling out via Pippy Houldsworth’s solo booth.

Sales of works on paper included Cristea Roberts Gallery, who sold 15 works by Michael Craig-Martin over the course of the first day with prices ranging between GBP 10,000 - 25,000; first-time exhibitors Kasmin found success with a number of Lee Krasner charcoal works (USD 125,000 each); and Shapero Rare Books who sold works by Cy Twombly and Roy Lichtenstein in the range of GBP 50,000 - 100,000 to UK collectors.

Museums and Curators

In addition to major UK institutions, more than 200 international museums and other arts groups attended the fair, including trustees and patrons from: Albertina, Baltimore Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), Dia Art Foundation, The Dutch Masters Foundation, Gallery Weekend Beijing, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Peabody Essex Museum, Stedelijk Museum and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

International directors and curators who attended included Kristine Bøggild Johannsen (Thorvaldsens Museum), Julien Domercq (DMA Dallas), Michael Govan (Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Katie Hanson (MFA Boston), Catherine Hess (The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens), Joanne Heyler (The Broad Museum), Brian Kennedy (Peabody Essex Museum), Courtney J. Martin (Yale Center for British Art), Jessica Morgan (Dia Art Foundation), Rose Marie Mousseaux (Louvre Abu Dhabi), Kevin Salatino (Art Institute of Chicago (ARTIC), Kitty Scott (The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), George Shackelford (Kimbell Art Museum), Eve Straussman-Pflanzer (Detroit Institute of Arts), Sheena Wagstaff (MET), and Betsy Wieseman (Cleveland Art Museum).

Gallery Response

Johnny van Haeften, Founder, Johnny van Haeften said: ‘The formula is really excellent. Frieze Masters is the only fair we do now and have seen old and new clients coming from all over the world. We have always done well but feel that the level of interest this year has been even greater. We have had multiple interests in every work we brought to the fair and have sold four paintings, all to brand new buyers which is extraordinary. Two of these works were bought by young collectors, it is very encouraging to see young interest in Old Masters at the fair.’

Alison Jacques, Founder, Alison Jacques Gallery said: ‘Our experience of Frieze has yet again proved that London is an important fair for both emerging and established artists. We have sold works from the 1950s and ‘60s through to new works, showing that Masters is bringing different kinds of collectors to the main fair and cross-fertilization is taking place. Spotlight at Frieze Masters is an incredible launch platform for artists we have recently begun to represent. Our Gordon Parks presentation has reached so many collectors and curators with a fantastic response […] sales wise. Spotlight proves that you don’t need a large stand to make an impact and achieve strong sales.’

Gisèle Croës, Founder, Gisèle Croës - Arts d’Extrême Orient said: ‘I have found the visitors this year to be even more enthusiastic, showing more interest in the work. I have met a lot of new clients here, plenty from China and Japan, which is of particular interest to me as a dealer of Asian antiquities.’

Jean-Christophe Charbonnier, Founder, Galerie Jean-Christophe Charbonnier said: ‘This year, the level of the fair is really, really good. It's a good year for Frieze Masters. Personally, we have a lot of new contacts and a lot of sales. The quality of the visitors… they are important clients. We show spectacular items and a lot of people understand their quality. As usual, with the fair, the organization is absolutely perfect.’

Millicent Wilner, Director, Gagosian said: ‘We are absolutely delighted with the response to both single artist booths we have presented this year in London. At Frieze Masters, Cy Twombly paintings, works on paper and sculptures that span 50 years of his art making has been a great success, with numerous works selling in the millions of dollars.’

Iwan Wirth, President, Hauser & Wirth said: ‘Our Italian post-war museum quality presentation at Frieze Masters, and dedicated publication, resulted in outstanding sales all week including the important work by Cy Twombly (USD 6.5 million) on opening day, and a work by Lucio Fontana on the final day of the fair. This Frieze Week London's standing as a cultural capital has been reinforced. Our sales of over USD 20 million at the fairs and more than 2,000 people through our Mark Bradford exhibition on opening day set new records for the gallery.’

James Green, Director, David Zwirner, said: ‘We've had a very rewarding time at [Frieze] Masters – a notable sale being a Bridget Riley painting from 1964 on the first day. Our dedicated Raoul De Keyser presentation at Masters has been very well received, which has been reflected in the sales made...Frieze and London, are hugely important to us. Both the fair and our Mayfair gallery are reflective of London's prestigious position in the global art community. I think this might be the most international Frieze we've ever participated in, in terms of galleries and collectors visiting from around the world.’

Mary Sabbatino, Vice President, Galerie Lelong & Co said: ‘We've been happily surprised that even as a mature gallery, we've met new people and made new clients and, while of course there are overlaps with serious clients who attend other fairs, we felt the audience was different.’

Andrew Schoelkopf, Owner, Menconi + Schoelkopf said: ‘Frieze Masters was a terrific platform for the gallery to showcase the works of important American Modernists with an international audience. We had a very successful first experience at the fair with strong interest and sales of works by Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, Stuart Davis, Andrew Wyeth and other masters, to collectors from around the world.’

Nick Olney, Managing Director, Kasmin Gallery said: 'We are long-time Frieze exhibitors but this is our first year exhibiting at Frieze Masters. It has been an excellent experience. Sales have been good, and the quality of the collectors is high – there are noticeably high levels of connoisseurship. Among exhibitors too, the quality of the booths is very high and the layout of the fair works well. It is exactly what we hoped for.'

Art Fund Curators Programme

The Art Fund Curators Programme returned to Frieze Masters for its fourth year, bringing together museum professionals from the UK and around the world to explore the genre of portraiture and the opportunities it creates as a lens for exploring identity, representation, agency, celebrity and relationships between sitters, artists and patrons. The programme was presented in collaboration with Art Fund, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. The 2019 participants included: Kristine Bøggild Johannsen (Thorvaldsens Museum); Julien Domercq (DMA Dallas); Katie Hanson (MFA Boston); Catherine Hess (The Huntington); Rose-Marie Mousseaux (Louvre Abu Dhabi), Elyse Nelson (MET) and Eve Straussman-Pflanzer (Detroit Institute of Arts).

Sponsors and Partners

In addition to global lead partner Deutsche Bank, Frieze Masters 2019 partners with BMW, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE®, ARTO LIFEWTR®, RICHARD MILLE, The Royal Parks, Ruinart Champagne and Financial Times.

Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounges

This year, the Deutsche Bank Wealth Management Lounges at Frieze London and Frieze Masters featured the work of one of the most influential photographers working today, Viviane Sassen. The Dutch artist debuted an immersive installation of images drawn from a recent video made for a project at Versailles, using artefacts and architecture of the palace to allude to its many hidden histories. Viviane Sassen’s work features in the world-renowned Deutsche Bank Collection which forms part of the bank’s Art, Culture and Sports program.

Further Information

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