As the art world buzzes with the busiest sales week of the year, here are the highlights of Masterpiece London 2018.
Peony Brooch, rubies and enamel on titanium, 2018, Courtesy CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel
Among the distinguished Masterpiece newcomers are contemporary powerhouse Hauser & Wirth (A28), antiquities specialist Kallos Gallery (C20) and Hong Kong based jewellers CINDY CHAO The Art Jewel (B34). Hauser & Wirth presents a 'Wunderkammer' of modern and contemporary artworks alongside nineteenth-century furniture. The gallery also brings a delicate Alexander Calder mobile as a complement to its knock-out Somerset solo show (read our review here). Cindy Chao makes its Masterpiece debut with two museum-caliber collections of fine jewels referred to as 'OOOOT' by one interested collector.
Cindy Chao established the brand in 2004 with the aim of creating individual pieces that are regarded as miniature works of art. Dedicated to adopting the ancient European lost-wax technique, Chao’s beautifully extravagant creations boast organic, sculptural, artisinal and architectural characteristics. They may not be to everyone's taste, but on the glamour scale, they are out of this world.
Federico Beltran Masses, Madame Wellington Ku, 1932. Courtesy of Stair Sainty Gallery
Masterpiece veterans including picture dealers Dickinson (D2), furniture gallery Apter-Fredericks (C6) and manuscript and rare books specialists Les Enluminures (B1) return with decidedly strong stands this year. Off-the-beaten-track paintings gallery, Stair Sainty, brings an eclectic mix of nineteenth-century paintings, Impressionist masterpieces and twentieth-century portraits.
Highlights include a portrait of Berthe Morisot reclining on a divan by Edouard Manet — on sale for an estimated £4 million — and a striking larger than life Federico Beltran Masses society portrait of Madame Wellington Koo (above). Painted in 1932, the oil portrait depicting the beautiful wife of a famous Chinese politician boasts the figurative painter's trademark 'Beltran blue' and brooding palette of vermilion, emerald greens and blacks.
Marina Abramovic, Five Stages of Maya Dance, 1- 5 for Masterpiece Presents 2018
Masterpiece Presents, an initiative introduced last year to champion emerging or innovative talent, returns for another spectacular edition. Welcoming visitors at the fair's entrance is a phenomenal immersive work by performance artist, Marina Abramović. Working in collaboration with Factum Arte and Lisson Gallery, Abramović has created a mesmerising body of work that pushes the boundaries of her experimental vision.
Created over the past five years, Five Stages of Maya Dance comprises five alabaster portraits combining elements of light, sculpture and performance. As you walk around the portraits, Abramović's hauntingly physical presence decomposes into intricately carved Chinese ink landscapes.
The booth everyone's talking abut: BlainlSouthern (D24)
Chiharu Shiota, Turning World by, 2018. Photography: Peter Mallet. Courtesy BlainlSouthern
It's on everyone's Instagram accounts, and everyone's talking abut it. BlainlSouthern know how to make a statement. The Mayfair based gallery returns to Masterpiece with another magnificent solo presentation that quite literally envelops you. Berlin-based Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota has created a site-specific installation that fills the entire booth with a web of interlacing red yarn.
Move through the web and stumble across entrapped, found objects such as maps and suitcases, which, in Shiota's work, symbolise existential questions of fate, identity and belonging. Shiota is primarily known for her immersive installations and often uses personal belongings as the starting points for her installations.
Our Masterpiece 2018 wish list
With its embarrassment of riches, scouting out the unmissable art at Masterpiece is no easy task. So, in a nutshell here's what to check off the list:
Picasso, Les Dormeurs, 1965. Courtesy of Landau Fine Art
With an exceptional display of Impressionist and early modern works, including an exquisite late Piacsso (above), a rare René Magritte and one of only two Modigliani double portraits in oil, Masterpiece newcomer Landau Fine Art (B52) presents one of the most impressive booths at Masterpiece.
Elsewhere, English furniture specialist Ronald Phillips (D6) makes a statement with a solo stand of Thomas Chippendale, stockpiled over the last ten years, and design specialists David Gill (D3) present one of Masterpiece's most intriguing immersive booths — inspired by the interiors of Surrealist Patron Edward James. In terms of decorative arts, Parisian dealer Steinitz's (C27) veritable Aladdin's cave is one to make a beeline for.
An unusually complete and beautifully formed fulgurite, naturally formed glass created by lightning
strike through sand. Courtesy of ArtAncient.
Top lots include Robilant + Voena's (B28) exceptional Medici and Westminster Pietre Dure Tabletop (c.1568 - 1577) originating from the collection of Francesco I de'Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. A rare example of Renaissance pietre dure, the table comprising hardstones rather than coloured marbles, is one of only three tables in the world to retain its original border and inlaid apron.
Elsewhere, look out for The Redfern Gallery's (B10) distinguished selection of Paul Feiler abstract works, on display to celebrate his centenary year, and antiquities specialist ArtAncient's (B15) showcase of the most extraordinary collection of natural history. Among the stand's highlights is 'the world's finest example' of fulgurite (above), naturally formed glass created by lightning strike through sand.
A Masterpiece jewel can be found at Californian-based photography gallery Peter Fetterman (B21). Taking centre stage is a monumental black and white portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Staring straight at the camera, Basquiat oozes a ferocity and vulnerability that sparks an almighty tension within the frame. It's just one of a number of iconic celebrity images on display from the gallery's current LA exhibition, The Fashion Show.
Coinciding with London Art Week and Mayfair Art Weekend, Masterpiece is a glitzy affair where the people watching and star-spotting is as important as the art on the wall. Don the heels, splash on a glass of champagne and waltz around as though a million-dollar price tag is pocket change – even if it’s for one day only.
Tickets are now on sale and can be bought here.
11am - 9pm (Thursday 28 June - Wednesday 4 July)
11am - 7pm (Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July)
|What||What to see at Masterpiece London, 2018|
|Where||Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4SR | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Sloane Square (underground)|
27 Jun 18 – 04 Jul 18, 27 June is preview day. Times vary, see below
|Price||£35 general admission valid for 1 visit, £18 for students, £45 general admission full access ticket|
|Website||Click here to book tickets|