IT is always difficult to assess the success, or otherwise, of an international fair less than a week after it has closed; clients may take some weeks before they clinch a deal initiated at the fair and institutions, particularly American museums, can take months to finalise a purchase.
But there were some things everyone agreed about at this year’s Masterpiece, which ran in its spectacular marquee in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, from June 28 to July 4. Firstly, this is without doubt the best looking fair anywhere and, more importantly, it has consolidated its status as an international destination and the UK’s leading such event.
Fortunes varied among the more than 160 exhibitors and while there were stunning sales aplenty, many said they had just done OK – but they loved the fair and would be back.
I bumped into two leading London specialist dealers who this year drew a complete blank in sales. But, tellingly, one of them, a seasoned Maastricht exhibitor, said that he would still keep coming back and that the whole top end of the trade should also support Masterpiece since as art capital of the world London deserved a very top fair and without doubt Masterpiece was it.
Sales were strongest at the glittering all-day preview on June 27 which drew a record 5,175.