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20/21 British Art Fair to Show the Best in British Art this Year
Graham Sutherland, Figure and Maize, 1948. Canvas, 16 x 20 in. Gallery where purchased by A. Poliakoff in February 1952.

LONDON.- The 20/21 BRITISH ART FAIR, the fair that champions Modern British art, will take place from 15 – 19 September at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London. It will be opened by Ed Vaizey, MP, Minister for Culture, Communication and Creative Industries at 5pm on Wednesday the 15th.

It is the first big fair of the autumn season and the Royal College of Art, arguably ‘the spiritual home of British art’, provides an ideal setting to see work by the great names of the 20th century: Bacon, Freud, Frink, Frost, Hepworth, Hockney, Hodgson, Lanyon, Lowry, Moore (honoured this year with a major exhibition at Tate Britain), Nash, Piper, Riley, Scott, Matthew Smith, Spencer and Sutherland. Alongside will be a large selection of work by established and emerging contemporary artists.

Recent Modern British sales have witnessed strong prices across the board: from the Cornish primitive Alfred Wallis to Lowry, Moore, Hitchens and Auerbach. Sculpture prices too have been notable with records for Jacob Epstein and Barry Flanagan posted.

The 20/21 BRITISH ART FAIR is now in its 23rd year. Almost all of the 56 leading dealers have re-applied which clearly demonstrates the popularity of this fair that not only offers an enormous variety of art, but is also an opportunity to meet expert dealers, many of whom regard it as being the most important fair of the year for Modern British art.

You will find the history of 20th century British art represented here: Scottish Colourists, the Newlyn School, the Bloomsbury Group, surrealism to post-war abstraction, pop art, the YBA’s and more recent graduate work. With paintings, sculpture, prints and works on paper from 1900 to 2010, British art in all its strength and depth, is yours to enjoy, under one roof, for five days in September.

Sales at the 2009 British Art Fair held up well – probably one of the reasons why there is such a very high percentage return rate of dealers to this year’s fair – and the sale of Sir Richard Attenborough’s Modern British art last autumn fair consolidated the market. More recently, sales have seen some high prices across the board for work by Alfred Wallis to Lowry, Moore, Hitchens and Auerbach – all of whom will be represented at the fair.

There have also been some excellent specialist exhibitions of key Modern British artists (and some are taking place in the autumn) both at public galleries and at the galleries of many of our exhibitors and the work of these artists will be highlighted at this year’s fair.

For instance: Matthew Smith – to co-incide with the acclaimed catalogue raisonee by John Gledhill of this much underrated painter, Crane Kalman had a gallery show in May and will bring his work as will Agnew’s who have an oil ‘Fruit in a Bowl’, dated 1939.

Alan Davie, described as Scotland’s greatest living painter, will be 90 on 28th September and his work will feature prominently on the stand of Gimpel Fils. There is a special ‘birthday’ display at Tate Britain during September as well as a large exhibition of new work in his home town of Falkirk from June to September.

Gimpels will also show work from the estate of Peter Lanyon to celebrate the first retrospective for 30 years at Tate St. Ives opening in 0ctober.

Ceri Richards – Jonathan Clark held an exhibition which was very well received and will be featuring his work as will Martin Tinney from Cardiff who is showing ‘Girl with Cat’, dated 1947.

Interest has risen in drawings by Henry Moore following the success of the exhibition at Tate Britain with Richard Green showing a fine shelter scene and a watercolour called ‘Two Standing Figures in Landscape’, dated 1951. 0sborne Samuel will also show drawings and sculpture by Moore.

Good provenance is always a plus and ‘Tree Form’ by Graham Sutherland, dated ‘58’ in oil, gouache, ink, pencil and colour oil pastel on paper, being shown by Whitfield Fine Art fits the bill: Elizabeth Organ (1934-2009), wife of the painter Bryan Organ, by whom acquired directly from the artist.

As does the Christopher Wood which Lucy Johnson is bring: ‘Pill Creek, Feock, Cornwall’, dated 1928. In August of that year, Wood joined Ben and Winifred Nicholson at Feock where he painted this and one other picture of Feock Church. The former belonged to Winifred and thence by descent in private collections.

Whilst Agnew’s is showing one of the earliest works at the fair ‘Portrait of a Boy’ by Henry Lamb, dated 1910-13. Provenance: Lytton Strachey; Noel Carrington (brother of Strachey’s lover Dora Carrington, given to his daughter and thence by descent.

Gillian Jason has a fine William Roberts watercolour, dated 1975, called ‘As Large as That’, priced £9,000 and with a direct provenance.

Keith Chapman has Jacob Epstein: 'Euphemia Lamb' [1st Portrait], 1908, bronze, ed.6, 37 cm high - one of Epstein's first bronze sculptures with a wonderful provenance: Leicester Galleries, 1917, one-man show - Edward Shinman collection [the greatest collection of Epstein's work] - another cast in Tate Gallery, £28,000. (The artist achieved his highest price, £120,000, at a sale in May for the 1911 Mother and Child Standing.)

Interest in British sculpture seems to be on the up and there is always a good selection: Robert Adams, Reg Butler, Lynn Chadwick, Jacob Epstein, Elisabeth Frink, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Eduardo Paolozzi to name a few.

0ther items of interest include: ‘The Witherns, near Haworth’, 1942 by LS Lowry (Crane Kalman); ‘Adolescence’ 1923 by Mark Gertler (Boundary Gallery); two scenes of Cassis by Scottish Colourists SJ Peploe, c. 1913 (Duncan Miller) and FC Cadell, c. 1923 (Ewan Mundy); ‘Purbeck Landscape’ 1963, by Keith Vaughan, Howard Hodgson ‘Realism’ 2001, Caroline Wiseman. Alfred Wallis ‘Sailboat with brown sky’, signed on reserve and numbered 250, oil on board, 1930 (Lucy Johnson)

An early Elisabeth Frink gouache on paper ‘Head of Christ’, signed Frink ’51. (Whitfield Fine Art).

The 20/21 BRITISH ART FAIR | Ed Vaizey | London | Royal College of Art |

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