In Uncertain Times, Young Collectors Turn to Time-Tested Modern and Classic Art at Frieze Masters

Minutes after 11 a.m., as the doors to Frieze Masters opened for its VIP preview on Wednesday, Nathan Clements-Gillespie, the fair’s director, was spotted greeting Mando-Pop King Jay Chou. and avid art collector from Taiwan, who arrived in London with his entourage.

Dressed in a black hoodie and denim jacket, the 43-year-old Asian celeb was first seen at the joint stand of Belgian decorative arts dealer Yves Macaux and London dealer Richard Nagy, which features a range of early 20th century works by Egon Schiele, Otto Dix and Ludwig Meidner. Chou then wandered the aisles before the crowds poured in, taking a closer look at works by other masters, like Alberto Giacometti’s 1947 painting. Seated Woman (The Artist’s Mother)which has an asking price of $6.3 million.

It might not come as much of a surprise to see Chou go through Frieze Masters, since he’s already made his enthusiasm for top-notch artists obvious in his viral music video. The greatest works of art in July. And he wasn’t the only younger face seen at the fair, which traditionally showcases a huge range of work made before 2000, spanning six millennia of history, and normally attracts a more mature crowd. The preview day, however, drew a strong turnout of visitors in their 40s, 30s and even younger, of various ethnicities, taking snaps of prized masterpieces and inquiring about prices.

Nike Davies-Okundaye on the ko Gallery stand at Frieze Masters. Photo: Vivienne Chow.

“There are a lot of familiar faces and collectors, but at the same time a clear appearance of young collectors. More Asians are also returning,” observed Thomas Stauffer, artistic advisor and co-founder of Gerber & Stauffer Fine Arts in Zurich.

Rediscovering forgotten or underappreciated artists is an ongoing trend, Stauffer noted, citing examples such as March Avery at Larkin Erdmann Gallery, Vivian Springford at Almine Rech or Meret Oppenheim, the Swiss surrealist who will have a major retrospective at MoMA in New York. York. later this month. And young collectors are catching up.

“In these economically and politically volatile times, young collectors are spending more time researching and examining historically overlooked positions, which is certainly helping to fuel the market for these underappreciated artists and fueling the trend to discover historical artists. overlooked,” Stauffer told Artnet News. .

This edition of Frieze Masters, which celebrates its 10th anniversary and its recent launch in Seoul, features more than 120 galleries, many of which have a strong focus on female artists. Sales may not be moving as quickly as its contemporary counterpart Frieze London, but the atmosphere at the fair was certainly energetic and visitors seemed happy to return to maskless art shopping.

Frieze Masters 2022

Frieze Masters returns for the 2022 edition. Photo: Vivienne Chow

The start of September in the South Korean capital certainly contributed to the astonishing increase in attendance by collectors from Asia, noted Clements-Gillespie. New Asian galleries are also taking part, such as Johyun Gallery in Busan, which presents a group exhibition of Korean masters, including Lee Ufan, Park Seo-bo, Lee Bae and the London debut of Kim Chong Hak, with prices ranging from 450,000 $ to $820,000. Lee Bae’s works were in high demand and four of the pieces brought to London were already in storage, said gallery director Minyoung Joo.

Attendance on the first day of the show also appears to be back to pre-pandemic levels, Clements-Gillespie added, and the buzz surrounding the launch of Paris+ next week doesn’t appear to be a concern either.

The strength of the US dollar, however, could make a difference, as it could translate into deep discounts for purchases made in pounds or euros. Clements-Gillespie said he has been meeting American friends at openings since last Thursday. They arrived earlier “because they wanted to enjoy their stay in London. And the strong dollar made it easier,” he told Artnet News. However, the favorable conversion rate does not only apply to Americans. ” I think about [a higher] level, so many people work in dollars.

Hyundai Gallery

Solo presentation of Lee Kang-so by Gallery Hyundai at Frieze Masters 2022. Photo: Vivienne Chow.

Some exhibitors shared a general confidence in the market. Among them, Stéphane Custot from the Waddington Custot gallery. Buyer habits may have changed in these uncertain times, he told Artnet News, and collectors might take longer to make up their minds, but deals could still be made after the fair, especially for works at higher prices.

“In times of financial turbulence, collectors are ultra-disciplined and seek nothing less than museum quality. Given the caliber of the works we are showing this year, we are confident,” said Custot, whose gallery exhibits works ranging in price from £350,000 to well over £2million, including a work rare of Jean Fautrier’s “Hostages”. series (1943-1945) which he created in a mental asylum. “It’s a powerful and timely reminder of the atrocities of war, and a stark reality check to be found among the fair’s treasures.”

Confidence in the market was reflected in the level of some of the works presented at the fair. London’s Marlborough Gallery presented a stellar range of modern British art with prices ranging from $35,000 up to Francis Bacon’s painting, Study of the human body – Figure in motion (1982), with a price tag well over $20 million that was already in the stash. Pace reconstructed the monumental installation of Mary Corse The cold room (1968/2022) in the Spotlight section dedicated to women artists. The presentation is organized by Camille Morineau, co-founder and research director of Archives of Women Artists, Research, and Exhibitions (AWARE), and her team.

Kasmin from New York presented a group exhibition, with works priced between $35,000 and under $5 million, including a large-scale piece by Lee Krasner from 1951. The gallery has confirmed the sale of eight works during the first hour of the fair, including Max Ernst, Jane Freilicher and two works by Lynne Drexlers. The gallery’s managing director, Nick Olney, said the works had been sold to collectors in England, the United States and Asia, adding that young collectors were not focusing on one specific type of art, but were “open to building collections of old and new art”.

At least three major museum acquisitions have been made from the Spotlight section, Artnet News has learned. The Kó Gallery has sold several works by Nike Davies-Okundaye in the range of $10,000 to $35,000 to institutions and private collections in London, the United States and Europe. James Brett of the Gallery of Everything said he has sold several works by Sister Gertrude Morgan in the range of £10,000 to £35,000, with many museums and major collections showing interest.

Hyundai Gallery, which featured a solo booth by Korean avant-garde artist Lee Kang-so, sold several works for around $82,000-90,000 and was in talks with European museums for works to six digits. Johnny Van Haeften sold a rare Jan Bruegel the Elder for around $10 million, the most expensive known sale on preview day, and a Hendrick van Steenwyck the Younger for around $200,000.

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