Frieze Masters: Unprecedented Success

Ana B. Remos

London’s Frieze Masters set record sales

On October 20th, London’s Frieze Art Fair closed its doors leaving behind a trail of commercial success and critical acclaim. The effusive praise from artists, collectors and visitors also extends to one of its younger sister events, Frieze Masters, which, after only two years of existence, already flies with its own wings.Frieze Masters

Frieze Masters presented contemporary art with a historical approach, works from old masters through the end of the 20th century. This year, in its second edition, applications from artists and galleries to join the fair doubled in relation to the previous year. “I was amazed by the diversity and quality of the works on display,” says its director, Victoria Siddall. “I am delighted by the response from visitors about the artists, collectors and curators, and to see that the exhibitors have had such great success.”

The rewards of last year are still fresh in the memory of those who are interested in acquiring the best works of art available in the market. In 2012, we saw the sale of unique pieces like Pablo Picasso’s Bust of a Man (1969), which sold for $9.5 million or Joan Miró’s, The Arduous March Guided by the Resplendent Desert Bird (1968), which fetched 20 million dollars.

And if last year we discovered unpublished works like Andy Warhol‘s first drawings, this year’s event presented quite a few surprises as well: a handful of works by Jackson Pollock, a series of female portraits by Matisse and even some unknown pieces by Pieter Brueghel.

Frieze Masters

Also, new at Frieze Masters 2013 was the inclusion of brut or outsider art, which presented art created outside the boundaries of official culture or artists who have little contact, if any, with the art world or its institutions.

The key to the fair’s resounding success, despite a global economic crisis, can be attributed to the participation of 130 top ranked international galleries. The event was held inside a temporary structure designed by architect Annabelle Selldorf at Regent’s Park, which attracted a high number of visitors. So is the level of sales achieved. For example, Census of Bethlehem by Brueghel, sold for more than $8 million; Woman Sitting with Red Hat by Picasso, for about $8 million, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Harlem Paper Product brought in $5 million, and a 1962 abstract painting by Kazuo Shiraga sold for more than $1 million.

“We have been seen as a competitor, but in reality we are a complement to Frieze Art,” says Siddall. “The idea is to make sure that every visitor that passes through London during the days of the show will find something of interest.”


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