LONDON.- Art Antiques London
had much to celebrate when its doors closed on Wednesday 15th June after eight very busy days. The Fair acted as a magnet for collectors and connoisseurs with many established buyers visiting the Fair. Visitors commented on the light airy feel of the Fair and responded very well to the mix of disciplines and objects on display. Strong sales were reported across the board, the lecture series was universally praised and the restaurant, run by the Admirable Crichton, was an outstanding success. The final visitor figure was in excess of 15,500, and up just under 10% on last year. The visitor profile was very international with Middle Eastern and Asian buyers making their mark. A number of dealers made significant sales to Australian collectors.
2011 marked 30 years of Haughton International Fairs. The International Ceramics Fair and Seminar was launched in 1982 and when Art Antiques London was launched in 2010, it was incorporated into and became a distinct part of the new Fair.
Given the Fair's background and heritage sales of ceramics were predictably strong. One of the star sales of the Fair was made by Parisian specialists, Dragesco-Cramoisan, who were delighted to sell a very rare green ground Saint-Cloud porcelain jug and ewer with polychrome decoration, 1722-26 to a new private collector. The decoration, which includes birds and dogs, was inspired by Indian textiles. Only one other example is known, which is in the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut, the oldest public art collection in the United States.
Brian Haughton Gallery reported a number of sales including a very large pair of Chelsea artichoke tureens and covers decorated in tones of green and yellow, c. 1754-6 to two separate private buyers; a pair of extremely rare Chelsea sunflower dishes c. 1754 and a Sevres plate, painted by Taillandier from the Duchess of Manchester service c. 1782.
Stockspring Antiques reported an excellent fair having sold things across the board, including one of their highlight pieces: Barr, Flight and Barr-Worcester topographical garniture of five vases, 1807-13, which are painted with views of Launceston; Ullswater, Cumberland; Near Crogen, On the River Dee; Kirkham Priory Gateway, Yorkshire and Beauchief Abbey, and Derbyshire. Oriental ceramics also found buyers, J.A.N Fine Art were pleased to sell a large 18th-century tall neck baluster vase in blue and white from Kangi Xi to a private collector.
Japanese objects and works of art were much in evidence and were a well received addition to the Fair. New York dealer Erik Thomsen commented that he had met new American clients in London, had had steady sales, particularly of porcelain and was expecting significant after sales.
TAI Gallery from Santa Fe were delighted by the reception that their bamboo art received. A new London audience showed great interest in bamboo artist Sugita Jozan, who worked at the Fair every day, attracting both attention and admiration. Their sales included a piece by Fujinuma Noboru (.b. 1945) entitled Spring Tide.
Laura Bordignon Antiques was delighted to sell one of her most important pieces, a Japanese bronze okimono of a boy asleep over a drum while a cat rests on his shoulders, Meiji period 1868-1912, amongst their sales. A unique collection of Japanese Girl and Boy Festival Dolls from the Late Edo period was brought to the Fair by Mary Deeming and bought by a private Amsterdam Museum for their collection. She was also delighted to sell the majority of her 18th-century wood block prints as well as some 20th-century masters. She commented that the Fair has been a '...phenomenal success, attracting a potent mix of museum curators and private collectors'. Her sentiment was echoed by William Agnew, who sold 32 works of art during the course of the Fair, a performance not matched by his attendance at any other Fair over his long career.
Jewellery dealers, Lucas Rarities debuted at the Fair this year and were delighted to sell one of their key pieces - a pavé-set gemstone heart made up of yellow diamonds, rubies and sapphires made by Hollywood jeweller Paul Flato in 1938 and owned by Millicent Rogers Balcom, the Standard Oil heiress, who was photographed wearing the piece in Vogue in 1939. Indian jewellery specialist, Samina Khanyari reported steady sales to new and serious buyers while Sandra Cronan sold ever day to a mixture of new and established clients.
Georg Jensen specialists, Silver Fund made significant sales throughout the Fair. On the first day, they sold a Mexican Cubist water jug by silver designer Antonio Pineda c. 1960 to a new international client. They went on to sell an extraordinary Georg Jensen Fish Dish designed by Harald Nielsen c. 1930 with wonderful stylised dolphins and fitted, pierced mazarines to a new American collector.
Historic pictures were successful too. Strachan Fine Art sold their a recently re-identified portrait of Richard Burke Jnr by James Barry 1774 for the asking price as well as their Daniel Mytens c.1629 portrait of Lady Catherine Howard, Countess of Salisbury to Lord Salisbury, who will return it to Hatfield House. They also sold a silver cast model of Christ the King, which had been commissioned by Sir Edwin Lutyens for the projected Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral.
Sim Fine Art were delighted to sell over three quarters of the pictures from their Cyrus Cuneo (1879-1916) exhibition. A student of Whistler and flyweight boxing champion, American born Cuneo was one of the leading illustrators of his generation. An established Middle Eastern buyer bought two Orientalist pictures from Stephen Ongpin Fine Art including a black chalk and watercolour drawing by John Frederick Lewis RA (1804-1876) entitled A Young Woman from Bursa while Rountree Fine Art sold a delightful picture by Anthony Devis (1729-1816) depicting bowls on the lawn of Bishops Palace, Farnham circa 1780. The painting is from a series Devis painted for Wedgwood and sold to a private collector.
'People love this fair' said contemporary dealer, Lucy B. Campbell, who had a very successful outing selling a number of paintings by both Juan Luque, and Anna Pugh while Jonathan Cooper Gallery reported the sale of a work by Jonathan Pointer to a new client as well as one of their highlight pieces, 'Chulia Street' by Nicholas Phillips.
Dealer Holly Johnson sold a stunning Fornisetti screen and first time exhibitor, J. Roger (Antiques) Ltd were delighted to sell an unusual and rare Regency period secretaire cabinet, c. 1810 to an American client and were delighted with the number of new clients they met.
Museums and celebrity visitors
The central location in Kensington Gardens overlooking the Albert Memorial is one of Art Antiques London's greatest assets. The fair is convenient for the well-heeled local population, which includes a number of diplomatic missions, as well as visiting international collectors. That Art Antiques London attracted a discerning, knowledgeable audience was one of the most frequently heard comments from exhibitors.
The Admirable Crichton ran the 1851 restaurant, which attracted very good reviews from both exhibitors and visitors. The delicious food, stunning view and good service created 'a welcome respite from the bustle of the fair'.
The Fair was visited by many international museums from the UK and Europe including The Hermitage; The Wallace Collection; Bowes Museum; The Ashmoleon Museum; The Fitzwilliam Museum; The British Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum; Worcester Museum of Porcelain, Spencer House, The Bavarian National Museum; Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation, Berlin and Nymphenberg, Munich.
Representatives from a number of US museums visited Art Antiques London including The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Detroit Insititute of Arts, St Louis Museum of Art, and the J.Paul Getty Museum all sent representatives.
The Queen of Malaysia entertained a party of friends in the restaurant and was seen browsing ceramics, well known collector Dorrit Moussaieff, wife of Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson and HE Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani also visited and made purchases.
There was a visit from chat show royalty Oprah Winfrey, who braved the downpour on Thursday afternoon to visit the fair. Singer Mika and designer Paul Smith were also seen in the Fair.
The First Night Party in Aid of CFAB (Children and Families Across Borders) took place on 8th June 2011. The glittering evening began with a drinks party in the Kensington Gardens venue. Champagne, canapés and vodka cocktails were served. Nancy Dell'Olio - who was one of the lots in the live charity auction - Robert Brooks, chairman of Bonhams (third largest auction house in the world) and sports commentator Steve Rider all attended the event. Harvey McGrath the charity's president and co chairs of the charity gala Allison McGrath and Leni, Lady Miller were also in attendance. Music was provided by Lucinda Belle and her band.
Humphrey Butler, one of the UK's most successful jewellery dealers did sterling work auctioning lots in aid of the charity. A total of over £410,000.00 was raised for the CFAB over the course of the evening.