LONDON.- The 29th London Original Print Fair
at the Royal Academy of Arts came to a close on Sunday 27 April, with the exhibitors reporting some exceptionally strong sales and a lively interest from both private collectors and significant international art institutions. The Fair remains a firm favourite with established collectors and is an ideal starting place for those new to collecting, with many making their first art purchase at the four day event.
Hundreds of artists were represented, from Dürer, Rembrandt, Whistler, Sickert, Bacon and Warhol, through to contemporary works by artists such as Bridget Riley, Gillian Ayres, Marc Quinn, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Grayson Perry; a world of printmaking was on offer at this year's fair. As one visitor commented, "Picasso, Dürer, Hogarth, Gormley. There are some brilliant combinations and contrasts at The London Original Print Fair''.
With prices ranging from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands, exhibitors remarked that this year both regular visitors and new collectors were looking to buy at a serious level and that they made some key sales to overseas private buyers. Curators from a number of major public print collections were hosted at the 2014 fair including the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cleveland Museum of Art, USA; the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, National Galleries in Munich and Paris, the British Museum and the British Library and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. As Helen Rosslyn, Director of LOPF said "We are dedicated to providing a broad mix at the fair to attract the widest possible audience. Our ethos is to make it a friendly, approachable and educational event which stimulates intelligent collecting, and which ultimately encourages an interest in prints by both loyal collectors and a new generation of art enthusiasts."
Strong sales of newly published works were reported by Edinburgh's Ingleby Gallery who sold a number of impressions of Harland Miller's new print Overcoming Optimism, offered at a special launch price for the Fair. Likewise, Advanced Graphics were delighted with the reception to Humphrey Ocean's Wall of Sound I III. Sir Peter Blake proved his continued popularity with collectors this year with his recent Under Milkwood portfolios sold by Enitharmon Editions, including one portfolio to a private Chinese collector, and there were very strong sales of his new print celebrating 75 years of The Beano launched by the CCA Galleries at this year's fair. A specialist Fair like LOPF also provides an essential shop window in central London for a wide spectrum of dealers and publishers who do not have galleries. As a result of the Fair, Paupers Press are in discussion with a major US institution about a series of newly published prints by an artist not yet represented in their collection.
Old master print sales were also reported at the Fair with important acquisitions made by international institutions. Early in the Fair, Christopher Mendez sold his part-set of 24 prints by Adriaen Collaert (c.1560-1618) to a major UK museum collection as well as Las Meninas after Velazquez to a major US museum. The Fine Art Society were pleased to have sold the Fruit Stall by Whistler and additional works by Samuel Palmer, Walter Sickert and Edward Bawden. Interest generated by the US market in Old Master prints was further enhanced by the return to the fair of C.G Boerner and The Old Print Shop, NY. Elisabeth Harvey-Lee reported good sales throughout with 66 prints selling including a Tiepolo, and sold to both new and old clients as well as two museums. Andrew Edmunds was delighted to sell c.18th prints to new buyers on the Young Collectors evening, demonstrating that interest amongst younger collectors extends beyond the contemporary.
The war artists of WW1 were well represented at the Fair and popular with collectors, with Osborne Samuel selling Nevinson's London Bridge to a private collector, as well as two WW1 works by lesser-known Canadian war artist, Kerr Eby. Gerrish Fine Art sold important prints by Nevinson from his series of war lithographs, including In the Air. The Fine Art Society also sold a key Paul Nash print. Gordon Samuel, Director of Osborne Samuel remarked of the 2014 Fair "We were delighted with the number of serious international collectors at this year's London Original Print Fair and have made some significant sales and met a number of new clients. There is consistent interest in our collection of Grosvenor School prints. We have been delighted with sales across the board and have enjoyed meeting a number of curators from institutions who regard the Fair as an important and necessary date in their arts diaries."
Marlborough Fine Art reported strong sales of Francis Bacon and other key modern masters, and works by Miro, Braque and Gabo were sold by Sims Reed.
The next London Original Print Fair will be the 30th anniversary of LOPF and will be held at the Royal Academy on Thursday 23 Sunday 26 April 2015.