|Masterpiece American Committee members: Susan Gutfreund, Philip Hewat-Jaboor, Betsy Pochoda, Jamie Drake, Audrey Gruss, Thomas Woodham Smith, Rose Tarlow, Scott Snyder, and Ellie Cullman.|
|London's Luxe Masterpiece Fair
by Brook S. Mason
LONDON. Paris has the ultra haute Biennale des Antiquaires while Maastricht, Holland sports The European Fine Art Fair, which snares a hefty 70,000 visitors every March. Now London boasts Masterpiece Fair, which ranks as a five star art, antiques, jewelry and design show. This relatively new event staged in a grand marquee along the Thames on the South Grounds of Royal Hospital Chelsea opened June 27 and ran through July 4, 2012.
Masterpiece fills the gap to perfection left by the untimely folding of the Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair only three years ago.
Philip Hewat-Japoor, Masterpiece chairman says, “Masterpiece was born out of the need to reinvigorate the market in London, the great historic hub of the art market and is a reflection of the eclectic nature of the collectors who live here.”
|Crowds outside Masterpiece Fair.|
|Inside the fair.|
|Ways in which Masterpiece proving a winner: the number of dealers has zoomed up from 117 to 165 this year. Plus, Philip Hewat-Jaboor reports that 150 are on the waiting list.
No wonder as the marquee is kitted out like a four-story Georgian brick edifice complete with a white columned facade. Inside under the 14-foot ceilings is a massive glittering Swarovski tree near the entrance.
Masterpiece is cleverly positioned right along side the Queens Jubilee, Ascot and Wimbledon and second this fair is spiced up with luxury dealers like Rolls Royce, Clarence Dillon Wines and upwards of twelve tony jewelry dealers.
|Scott's, the main bar at Masterpiece.|
|The Rolls Royce stand featuring Rolls Royce-Ghost Sixth Sense.|
|Other luxe touches include the swank Harry’s Bar, the Caprice Restaurant and even Rolls Royce taking a stand.
Attracting considerable attention is a celebration of her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee: a dazzling loan exhibition of diamonds entitled Brilliant, curated by Carol Woolton, the jewelry editor of British Vogue. This includes a remarkable holographic portrait of Her Majesty encrusted with diamonds, among a 31-carat D flawless diamond, which is set in a headpiece designed by royal hat maker Philip Treacy.
|L. to r.: Van Cleef & Arpels; Harry Winston; Tiffany & Co.|
|Tiffany Radiance by Karl Lagerfeld for NET-A-PORTER.COM (40-carat black diamond pavé and leather collar).|
|Clockwise from above: Diamond Chandelier by Solange Azagury-Partridge; Le Bal de Mai from Dior; William Pear Brooch by Michelle Ong of Carnet.|
|Shaun Leane diamond necklace sketch.|
|While the crowd is international in scope with Russians, Italians and the French as well, Americans are prominent. Sitting on the Masterpiece American Committee are Audrey Gruss, interior designers Susan Gutfreund, Geoffrey Bradfield, Mario Buatta, Ellie Cullman and Jamie Drake.
Second, Drake, whose interiors for Mayor Bloomberg are well known, designed a room specifically for the fair. For his room on display, Drake expresses his distinctive approach in combining a diversity of styles and periods.
Banked by modern columns, Drake’s room features two photographs: The Lovers and Concerning the Soul by David LaChappelle. Juxtaposed with those contemporary images are Louis Quinze chairs, Drake’s own custom designed furniture, 18th century black-lacquered chairs mixed in with antique porcelain. "Without question, I am going shopping here," says Drake.
|Jamie Drake's room.|
|Spotted shopping on the fair floor were Simon Parker-Bowles, Princess Michael of Kent and Jasper Conran. Among the treasures at Fifth Avenue’s A La Vieille Russie is a pair of two Nobel oil-themed diamond-set enamel brooches by Faberge jeweler. They are sold together for a low seven-figure price tag.
“We feel the fair has a certain amount of potential and we hope to develop our relationships there,'' says ALVR's Peter Schaeffer. Bound to spur their sales is London's huge Russian population with mansions costing millions of pounds sterling.
Ward Landrigan of Verdura was displaying examples inspired by Fulco di Verdura’s years in Hollywood.
|The Gold and Diamond "Curb-Link" Bracelet Watch with Mother-of-Pearl Dial. Based on the gold curb-link bracelet watch originally designed by Fulco di Verdura for Greta Garbo. $28,500.||Gold, Platinum and Diamond "Lily" Bracelet. This bracelet was designed for and worn by Marlene Dietrich. This bracelet is mounted in 18k yellow gold and platinum with over 6.4 carats of round diamonds. $83,500.|
|“We can tell you that we were impressed with the international appeal of Masterpiece last year,” says Landrigan who presides over the Fifth Avenue Verdura headquarters. “Clients who purchased ranged from Britons to those from continental Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia, the Far East, and of course the US,” he says.
Jewelry is moving briskly with Siegelson clinching a deal for a Cartier diamond brooch for $350,000.
On hand with jeweler to the stars Fred Leighton are an aquamarine and 18 karat gold cuff by Rene Boivin at $145,000 and a pair of 19th century old-mine diamond fringe earrings for $205,000.
|From Fred Leighton: An aquamarine and 18 karat gold cuff by Rene Boivin, 1930s, $145,000.|
|From Fred Leighton: 19th Century old-mine diamond fringe earrings, in silver on gold, $205,000.|
|From Epoque Fine Jewels, Belgium: A magnificent platinum and diamond tiara set with 45 carats of diamonds. This tiara can also be worn as a necklace. Circa 1905-1910.|
|From Epoque Fine Jewels, Belgium: Art Nouveau dragonfly pendant by RENE LALIQUE, depicting four dragonflies, with greenish-blue enameled legs and wings with complex gold veining set with diamonds and green and blue plique-à-jour enamel, centering a large oval aquamarine; on a rod and link enameled gold chain. Signed: Lalique. Paris, circa 1903.|
|Especially prominent are Regency antiques with Thomas Coulborn. On hand with Ronald Phillips is a grand gilt Chippendale over mantel dating from 1765 and tagged at £850,000. “The English country house look still endures,” says Simon Phillips.
Then Kentshire is showing a pair of Venetian glass and mirrored urns practically five feet in height. "They had belonged to Dodie Rosenkrans," says of Bob Israel of Kentshire, speaking of the late San Francisco socialite and philanthropist.
Park Avenue private dealership Collisart, which specializes in American paintings, is sporting a 1901 Mary Cassatt pastel Sarah and Her Mother with the Baby for $3 million and a Cecilia Beaux oil 1888 Twilight Confidence which had been locked up in a private collections for generations priced at about $1 million. Princess Alexandra took in the Collisart stand.
|From Thomas Coulborn & Sons Ltd: Regency Bronzed and Parcel-gilt Bergère Chair; England, circa 1800-10. With carved winged caryatid supports in the form of Nike, Greek Goddess of Victory, terminating in animalier hoof feet, the decoration restored.|
|From Collisart: Twilight Confidences, 1888. Signed Cecilia Beaux, Concarneau; 60 x 72cm.|
|Frederik Molenschot chandelier available from Carpenters Workshop Gallery.|
|Contemporary art specialists such as Gagosian with a staggering 11 galleries is showcasing for the first time Damien Hirst's monumental gold plated silver sculpture Saint Bartholomew: Exquisite Pain.
With London dealer Michael Goedhuis, who also has an office in Beijing and is frequently in New York, are the latest contemporary Chinese ink paintings. Goedhuis has curated an exhibition “Ink: The Art of China” on view at the Saatchi Gallery.
Although the average price for ink paintings by superb painters hovers in the $50,000 and up range, Goedhuis says that price tier will substantially rise.
“We believe these levels will appreciate in a short period of time to match those of Chinese oil paintings presently valued at $500,000 to $5 million” says Goedhuis.
Concurrently with Masterpiece, Goedhuis has curated an exhibition of contemporary Chinese ink paintings at the Saatchi Gallery.
On Tuesday, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice showed up to take in the show and wine tasting. "Michael's taste is impeccable," says Saeb Eigner, a billionaire banker who collects Chinese ink painting.
|Michael Goedhuis (curator of the INK exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery).||From Michael Goedhuis: Old Cypress from the Forbidden City, by Liu Dan, 2007, ink on xuan paper.|
|From Michael Goedhuis: Autumn Aria by Yang Yanping, 2009, ink colour on rice paper.|
|Masses of period silver from candelabra to wine buckets can be found with the London N. I. Franklin.
Also design is a strong component. Among the design dealers are Linley with a desk for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Fashioned from walnut and Bombay rosewood, the desk features an architectural miniature of the distinctive Horse Guards’ building designed by William Kent in 1745. Already significant design sales have been scored like Sir Marc Newson's 1990 riveted aluminum Lockheed Lounge for a cool $2 million plus with Geoffrey Diner.
|The Linley stand.|
|The event won wide approval from the New York set on day one. "This is now the best fair in the world," says Scott Snyder.
Spotted strolling through aisles were Princess Alexandra, Princess Michael of Kent, Lord Thompson, Sheikh Al-Thani, Charles Saatchi, and Jeffery Archer.
Celebs in the worlds of fashion, film and design included Tom Ford, Terence Conran, Jasper Conran, Vivienne Westwood, Julien Macdonald, India Hicks, Jasmine Guinness, and Paul Smith, as well as art world connoisseurs Lady Helen Taylor, Timothy Taylor, and Henry Wyndham.
|Princess Michael of Kent.|
|Clockwise from top left: The Duke of Kent and Lady Helen Windsor; Arun Nayar; Eddie Redmayne; Holly Valence.|
|Melissa Odabash and Julian Macdonald.|
|Interior Designer Rose Tarlow and her sister.|
|Bryan Ferry and friends.|