On Wednesday the Royal College of Art opened its doors to the annual 20/21 British Art Fair. Spread across two floors, the fair focuses on modern, post-war and contemporary British art. Large collections of work by Henry Moore, L. S. Lowry, John Piper, David Hockney, Lucian Freud, Bridget Riley, Antony Gormley and Francis Bacon are on display, alongside contemporary works by Hirst, Emin, Ofili, Banksy, Perry and more.
Established by Gay Hutson and Angela (Bunny) Wynn, the fair opens London’s autumn art season. 56 galleries and dealers are exhibiting, some of whom have returned regularly to the fair since its launch in 1988. The selection of paintings, original prints, drawings, sculptures and photography is evidently intended to appeal to both the young first time buyer and the established collector; something that was reflected in the crowds on the opening day.
St Ives artists including Barbara Hepworth, Peter Lanyon and Patrick Heron feature strongly this year. The Redfern Gallery on stand 12 have a poignant display of six artworks by Paul Feiler which –according to one of the managing directors, Richard Gault– represent ‘a tribute’ to the artist, as ‘great examples of his varying range’. As a commanding figure in the history of post-war British modernism, and a prominent member of the St Ives school, Feiler’s work can also be found at Tate. The Redfern display includes the impressive Grey Receding (1962).
Among the new and emerging dealers exhibiting is Dominic Guerrini (whose selection of modern and contemporary work includes Hockney’s lithographic print Paper Pools, 1980), and Dominic Kemp, with a display of modern British prints by artists including Terry Frost and Bridget Riley. Both dealers operate primarily online but use the fair as a way of reaching a wider audience of collectors. Also exhibiting for the first time is Beetles & Huxley, with a selection of iconic photographs including work by Cecil Beaton and Terry O’Neill’s David Bowie – Diamond Dogs (1975).
It turns out 20/21’s audience includes the Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, who told Apollo that he had come especially to see John Monks’ work after ‘taking a shine to him’, and left with two of the artist’s works (purchased from Long & Ryle) apparently destined for one of his own homes.