Enticing collectors, curators and art enthusiasts off the chilly London streets is a rich programme of specially curated exhibitions, talks and events – many of which are free to attend. Here’s how to make the most of this six-day visual extravaganza of pre-contemporary gallery-based art.
Plan your visit: London Art Week Winter 2019
While the contemporary art crowd flock to Miami for Art Basel Miami Beach during the first week of December, buyers and lovers of art from antiquity to the 20th century make a beeline for London. The third winter edition of LAW brings together 29 commercial galleries and three auction houses from across Mayfair and St James’s.
Massimo Listri (b. 1953) Hermitage San Pietroburgo, chromogenic print (C-print), mounted on aluminium, 180 x 225 cm, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art
The number one tip is to plan your visit in advance to avoid getting lost, missing the registration for key events or talks, and, most importantly, suffering from art overload.
Check out the Insta feeds of participating galleries ahead of time to get an idea of what you like and download the LAW Winter 2019 map (drawn by artist Adam Dant) to familiarise yourself with the area (alight at Bond Street or Green Park if you’re travelling by tube). Most events during LAW are free, but you may need to register in advance on the LAW website.
On the day, travel light (you are bound to pick up more leaflets than you could possibly imagine), wear comfy shows and bring an umbrella. Nipping in and out of galleries will be much more enjoyable if you’re not soaking wet!
What’s on: London galleries
London Art Week offers collectors a wonderful opportunity to engage with museum-quality pieces on a one-to-one basis. Visitors are warmly encouraged to wander freely around the galleries and curated exhibitions, ask questions and interact with the art on view. All the works on display are for sale. But with prices starting under £1000, launching (or adding to) your pre-contemporary art collection is more affordable than you may think. Old Master drawings and maiolica porcelain, for example, are a great entry point for new collectors.
Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599 – 1641) Mary Barber, later Lady Jermyn (d.1679) [?] Oil on canvas, 48 x 37 ¼ in. (122 x 94.5 cm.) Painted circa 1637, The Weiss Gallery
Highlight works: Among the treasures on display are a richly painted portrait of Mary Barber, later Lady Jermyn by Flemish baroque artist Sir Anthony Van Dyck (The Weiss Gallery); and a rare portrait of the young Queen Elizabeth I, in the first years of her reign, wearing pearls, white ermine and gold chains by the Workshop of Steven van der Meulen (Bonhams). Elsewhere, there’s everything from carved marble angels that once adorned a large altarpiece in St. Paul’s Cathedral (Trinity Fine Art), to paintings by Yves Klein and Man Ray (Olivier Malingue).
Karl Parsons (London 1884 – 1934), Patricia, Monogrammed upper right and dated 1933, Pencil on paper, 38 x 29.5 cm. (15 x 11 2/3 in.) Colnaghi
Must-see Exhibitions: A new exhibition at Colnaghi, Dangerous Beauty, explores the influence of the female form in art from antiquity to the present day, while Ordovas gallery in Saville Row stages an exciting exhibition of work by Jean (Hans) Arp and Yves Tanguy to showcase the parallel collecting interests in Abstraction and Surrealism of the great gallerist Peggy Guggenheim. Head to Tomasso Brothers Fine Art to discover large-scale photographs of majestic interiors, including museums and sculpture galleries, by Italian photographer Massimo Listri.
Events to book now
London Art Week offers an extensive programme of free events, talks and exhibitions. See below for our hand-picked highlights. Pre-registration may be required:
Achille Funi, Ugo and Parisina, 1934, Pastel on mounted paper, 93 x 72 cm, Laocoon Gallery Ltd
Friday Late at Sotheby’s: Old Masters
29 November, 6:30PM – 9:30PM | Sotheby’s London
Discover a selection of fabulous Old Masters by the likes of Artemisia Gentileschi and Francisco de Zurbarán, with a glass of fizz in hand. Stick around until 8:30pm to catch a talk on the Fakes and Forgeries in Old Master Paintings. Free to attend. Registration required.
XX: The Female Gender in XXth Century Italian Art
4 December 6PM – 7PM | Laocoon Gallery
On 4 December, Laocoon Gallery hosts an evening of discussion on the female gender in 20th-century Italian art. For the occasion, Old Masters will hang alongside works by some of the biggest names in 20th-century Italian art. Free to attend. Registration required.
Art Adorned: Christie’s x Dolce&Gabbana
Until 3 December | Various opening times
A new exhibition at Christie’s explores the enduring influence of fine art on Dolce&Gabbana’s Alta Moda, Alta Gioielleria and Alta Sartoria collections. Old Master Paintings and Decorative arts from the 14th century to the 19th century hang alongside exquisite haute couture gowns and dazzling jewellery. Christie’s London. Free entry.
Beyond the London galleries
As well as being home to many of the most notable commercial galleries in London, Mayfair and St James’s house some of the capital’s biggest (and best) museums. The Royal Academy is currently showing Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits, an intimate yet poignant exhibition exploring how Freud interpreted his changing face over six decades, while The National Gallery (London Art Week’s museum partner) presents Gauguin Portraits, the first ever exhibition to focus on solely on the artist’s portraits.
London Art Week Winter 2019 runs from 1 to 6 December across Mayfair and St James’s
|What||How to get the most out of London Art Week 2019|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
01 Dec 19 – 06 Dec 19, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information|