Victim of the Brexit

It’s clear to see that the art market is one of the victims of Brexit. What taxes will be applied to artworks due to leave Britain? What will be the potential obstacles to their circulation?

Turning toward Paris

Certain major galleries have reacted by turning towards Paris. Zwirner, which has branches in London, Hong Kong and New York, is basing itself in Le Marais. White Cube in London and Hong Kong is setting up offices on Avenue Matignon, and Hauser & Wirth, a truly multinational gallery, is also seeking to open premises in Paris.

300 galleries

It’s within this difficult context that on Wednesday 2 October Frieze art fair opened in London’s Regent’s Park. Bringing together a total of 300 galleries, the fair is arranged in two parts across two sites, housed beneath marquees located 15 minutes’ walk from one another.

Frieze London

One site is occupied by Frieze London, the original fair, which has a very bustling and colourful atmosphere and is dedicated to current artistic creation.

Frieze Masters

The other is Frieze Masters, which is more muted and classically themed and showcases works spanning the rest of art history, from antiques to postwar art. For Victoria Siddall, the show’s director, “while waiting to see what happens the only thing we can do in the face of a pending Brexit is to show that London is a global platform for the art market. The fair has never been so international, with 35 participating countries.”

Watch the video to find out more:

Goodman Gallery

Against all expectations, the most powerful gallery in South Africa, Goodman Gallery, has chosen this month, to open a large exhibition space in London, on Cork Street.

Liza Essers

Goodman’s director, Liza Essers, explains: “70% of our revenues come from foreign clients. It’s important to be closer to them. South Africa is currently going through a very serious economic and social crisis.”

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At her gallery they are exhibiting 20 artists from their roster including, among others, the South African art star William Kentridge (see the report on him) and the photographer David Goldblatt (see the report on him). The prices range from 30,000 to 1.4 million dollars.

Excellent results

Also against all expectations, from the first half day of the fair Frieze obtained excellent results at numerous booths.

Almine Rech

Almine Rech Gallery, for example, who were showcasing artworks by, among others, one of the activists of the major Italian art movement Arte Povera, Jannis Kounellis (see the report featuring one of the artist’s last testimonies), sold two thirds of their booth for sums ranging between 50,000 and 400,000 euros.


At a higher price level, Hauser & Wirth stated via one of their directors, Neil Wenman, that “we have never obtained such good results at Frieze on the opening day”. The first day’s transactions went up to 5 million dollars for a painting by the American artist Philip Guston (1913-1980) (see the report with a testimony from his daughter).

Sandro Botticelli

But the undisputed star of this 2019 edition of the fair, and probably the most beautiful work on show at Frieze, is a painting made in around 1497 by Florentine Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510). It depicts a poet and humanist with an enigmatic gaze, Michele Marullo Tarchaniota. It was unveiled at the booth, which is entirely dedicated to him, by the dealer from London’s Trinity Fine Art, Carlo Orsi.

30 million dollars

It is on sale for 30 million dollars. This painting enjoys a very impressive pedigree, having been exhibited for a long time by the Prado and also by the Royal Academy in London. It jointly belongs to 14 heirs of the Spanish Cambó i Batlle family.

Temporary transit

But its disadvantage – other than the state of conservation, which is not excellent, as is often the case for works of this age – is the Spanish government. The painting is effectively only in temporary transit in Britain, and to secure a definitive exportation it must first be given the green light by the authorities.

Carlo Orsi

Carlo Orsi hopes to attract the interest of a client at Frieze for one of the last works in private hands by this legendary figure from art history. This would have the effect of triggering a decision from the Spanish officials, who would be obliged to rule on a possible acquisition. “If the administrative problem didn’t exist, the work could be double the value,” explains the dealer.

Watch the video to find out more:

Female artists

The market for female artists is booming.

Pang Tao

Pearl Lam of Shanghai is exhibiting a selection of works – ranging from socialist realist figurative pieces through to abstraction – from the career of a Chinese woman painter who remains little known in the West and whose evolution charts China’s political history. Pang Tao (born in 1934) has been the subject of museum exhibitions in her country. Her paintings are on sale for between 75,000 and 450,000 dollars.

Watch the video to find out more:

Jacqueline de Jong

On the theme of female rediscoveries, Dutch artist Jacqueline de Jong (born in 1939) is exhibited at the booth of English gallery Pippy Houldsworth with her remarkable paintings dating from 1968. Tangles of colours and shapes forming exceptional compositions depicting bodies in motion are on sale for between 35,000 and 45,000 euros. The artist talks about her experience of 1968 in Paris in the midst of the student protests.


The market has never been so partial to these proven talents, painters with a long career behind them yet who have remained consistently underrated.


Until 6 October.

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