Masterpiece is the prime location for collectors and museum curators to see international exhibitors showing works of art from six millennia. The Fair’s emphasis on cross collecting is highlighted by 150 exhibitors displaying sculpture, jewellery, objects d’art, antique furniture, china and old master paintings beside contemporary ceramics, photography and paintings; all gathered together in a magnificent purpose built environment in the grounds of the historic Royal Hospital in Chelsea.
The Fair is sponsored by The Royal Bank of Canada, a long-standing champion of arts, who have in 2016 alone invested £17 million in the support of the arts and cultural activity globally.
Some special exhibits noticed by this reporter were a collection of stunning Portuguese jewels at S.J. Phillips. A Spanish emerald pendant dated circa 1650 and a C17th emerald and diamond parure from France, with other pieces were part of an understated exhibition that attracted dramatic press and TV interest in Lisbon a couple of years ago, are now for sale at Masterpiece.
At Sandra Cronan’s elegant stand an inkwell exquisitely carved from an elephant’s tusk signed by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany in 1904 for St Louis World’s Fair, where the finely carved ivory and solid gold base featuring marching elephants and scrollwork was a highlight of the exhibition. Cronan is delighted with her find of a pair of Egyptian Pharaoh earrings circa1880, also attributed to Tiffany; the Pharoah’s faces are of blackened silver with diamond headdresses floating on rock crystal discs with a surround of enamel stylised hieroglyphs, they are quite extraordinary.
Walking through the Andy Warhol screen prints, past an Egyptian bronze head of Bastet- Goddess of cats from 663BC, a Meissen porcelain parakeet and 1960’s Finish furniture, one can stop and refresh at The Ivy Brasserie or The Caprice Restaurant. Arriving at Thomas Gibson Fine Art’s display of modern British artists, one faces a large pink acrylic John Hoyland and a rare strong green interior in oil by Graham Sutherland from a private collection in France, both unsold but with interest noted from Indians. Hugh Gibson mentions he has a new exhibition of Alberto Giacometti’s work at the gallery in St James, Piccadilly until September.
Piano Nobile are showing “The Famous Women Dinner Service” by Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, the principal members of the Bloomsbury Group, the intellectual artistic aristocracy of the early C20th. The unique 50 hand-painted plates portray renowned women, actresses, queens, literary figures, muses and saints as well as the artists themselves.
The Sladmore Gallery are excited at signing up Mario Dilitz, an Austrian sculptor of the African boy, who signifies a still and peaceful exterior but whose neutral gaze suggests an inner anxiety. Dilitz’ larger than life boy is made from limewood and oak glued, together with red glue. At the fair Sladmore sold out of two whole Dilitz series. Exhibitors noted there were more Indian billionaire collectors at Masterrpiece that ever before, seemingly replacing the Russians and Chinese.