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A quick tour of the autumn art fairs

12 September 2017

The autumn season gets under way in London with LAPADA, which returns to Berkeley Square from 15–20 September. Now in its eighth edition and organised by the Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, the fair welcomes over 100 specialists who offer the best from a variety of disciplines – from jewellery and ceramics to paintings and carpets. The range of objects, as well as price points, means there is much to tempt even the first-time buyer. This year’s talks programme is organised by the Arts Society and the headline lecture comes courtesy of fair partner the Ashmolean Museum, and will look at the Oxford institution’s upcoming exhibition ‘Imagining the Divine’ (19 October–18 February 2018).

As always, there’s a strong showing of fine and decorative arts at the stands of long-term exhibitors Butchoff Antiques, Wakelin & Linfield, and MacKinnon Fine Furniture. The latter offers a George I gilt-gesso secretaire-cabinet dated to around 1720 and attributed to royal cabinetmaker James Moore, who was known for such richly decorative works. There’s also an impressive selection of English clocks with both Tobias Birch and Howard Walwyn, who presents an impressive late 18th-century George III musical clock, veneered with tortoiseshell and made for the Ottoman market at a time when trade between the English and Ottomans was at its peak. Dated to 1795, it is attributed to Huguenot clockmaker Henry Borrell.

Self–portrait aged 59 in a grey coat (1793), Joseph Wright of Derby. The Parker Gallery at LAPADA

Self–portrait aged 59 in a grey coat (1793), Joseph Wright of Derby. The Parker Gallery at LAPADA

Look out for a number of painting highlights, not least the Parker Gallery’s display of a self-portrait recently attributed to Joseph Wright of Derby, previously catalogued as being by a ‘Follower of Joshua Reynolds’. Discovered at auction over a year ago, the 18th-century painting has been traced back to 1793 when records suggest that Wright gifted it to his friend, the Rev. Thomas Gisborne of Yoxall. Elsewhere, new exhibitor Sphinx Fine Art brings impressive Flemish school portraiture, while more modern offerings come courtesy of Babbington Fine Art and MacConnal-Mason – both also making their debut. The latter has a selection of works by the self-taught French painter Eugène Boudin and that well-loved English painter of horses, Alfred Munnings. Alongside works by Georges Bernède and Frank Avray Wilson, Whitford Fine Art is showing La Mer (1947), a screenprint by Alexander Calder that plays with space as much as his more famous mobiles.

Last year the 20/21 British Art Fair was cancelled after it lost its Royal College of Art venue, but it returns in early autumn to the Mall Galleries in St James’s (13–17 September). Now in its 28th edition, the event welcomes 34 dealers specialising in modern and post-war British art, as well as a selection of contemporary work made after 1970. All the major players are on offer here, from Lucian Freud (Piano Nobile) and Graham Sutherland (Richard Green), to Ivon Hitchens (Alan Wheatley Art) and Victor Pasmore (Austin Desmond Fine Art). Other highlights include Howard Hodgkin’s soft-ground etching Thinking Aloud in the Museum of Modern Art (1979) at Gwen Hughes Fine Art, and Edward Bawden’s striking linocut The Queen’s Garden of 1983 (Dominic Kemp Modern British Prints). Ahead of Pallant House’s reassessment of David Bomberg next month, don’t miss the chance to see the artist’s works at the Boundary Gallery and Waterhouse & Dodd, which offers Portrait of Austen St Barbe Harrison from 1931.

Elsewhere in the capital, the fourth edition of START Art Fair presents a selection of contemporary work from 25 countries at the Saatchi Gallery (14–17 September). Celebrated for its global focus, this year the fair continues to support international emerging art by including a special focus on Vietnam through its Vietnam Eye project. Finally, don’t miss the 35th edition of the Goldsmiths’ Fair, which features 126 established and emerging gold and silver makers (26 September–1 October; 3–8 October).

Jeune fille (c. 1901), Emile Claus. Thomas Deprez Fine Arts at B/FAF

Jeune fille (c. 1901), Emile Claus. Thomas Deprez Fine Arts at B/FAF

In Europe, Brussels Art Square takes over the historic Sablon once again, with some 50 galleries and auction houses presenting a range of art and antiques (22–24 September). Each year the event partners with a different European country, and this year it’s France’s turn. Among the nine French galleries invited to show alongside their Belgian colleagues are Bailly Gallery, Galerie Steinitz, Galerie Xavier Eeckhout and Valérie Levesque.

Also in Brussels is the inaugural edition of  B/FAF – Brussels Fine Art Fair (20–25 September), the initiative of father and son Jean-Pierre and Nicolas Defossé. Bringing together around 100 international exhibitors, the event spans antiquity to the present day and features everything from painting and furniture to jewellery and sculpture. Among the many painting highlights on display is Boucher’s Small Bridge Landscape at Lux Art Consulting and a striking portrait of a young girl by the French Impressionist Emile Claus at Thomas Deprez Fine Arts. For modern painting, head to NF Art Gallery, which offers Léon Spilliaert’s suggestively eerie Colonnade au crépuscule (1920). Other stands worth visiting include Nicolas Bordet (antiques), Frank Van Laer Antiquiteiten (furniture) and Assour & Sumer (silver).

Seated figure of Guanyin, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), ht 42cm. Priestley & Ferraro at Fine Art Asia

Seated figure of Guanyin, Ming dynasty (1368–1644), ht 42cm. Priestley & Ferraro at Fine Art Asia

As September closes, attention turns to Fine Art Asia, which returns to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (30 September–3 October). Now in its 12th year, the fair is dedicated to showing fine art and antiques from East and West with some 100 dealers offering everything from Hindu paintings and antique timepieces to contemporary art. As always, there’s an impressive selection of antiques, led by London- and Hong Kong-based Rossi & Rossi, which brings an excellently preserved Mongolian gilt-copper sculpture of Chagan Sambhar-a dated to the late 17th or early 18th century. Other highlights include a 7th-century Ziwiye fragment from a famous gold belt with embossed animals originating in Central Asia, courtesy of David Aaron; a Ming dynasty bronze seated figure of Guanyin at Priestley & Ferraro; and a selection of classical Indian paintings at the stand of new exhibitor Carlton Rochell Asian Art. Elsewhere, Gladwell & Patterson presents two works by Monet, including one of his early paintings made in the south of France, Près de Monte Carlo (1883), and the striking Portrait of Georges Fournerie by Jean-François Millet, founder of the Barbizon school. Rare works by Japanese artist Inoue Yuichi, a master of ink painting, can be found at Kyoto-based Shibunkaku, and Runjeet Singh brings a group of exceptional Korean and Chinese eating knives from the 18th and 19th centuries.

From the September 2017 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.

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