Maastricht Netherlands

New faces: Thomas Gibson Fine Art, London

The up-and-coming dealers at Tefaf discuss why they joined the fair

Gibson: showing contemporary art at Tefaf "made people realise we were broadening our horizons"

Hugh Gibson, 38, the director of Thomas Gibson Fine Art in London, says that a turning point for the gallery, which was founded by his father in 1969, came in 2006 when he showed works by Chris Ofili, Jenny Saville and Glenn Brown in an exhibition of post-war British art. The show also included pieces by Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon and Frank Auerbach, whose work was sold at the gallery by his father, but the contemporary element was a new departure for the gallery.

“[It] made people realise we were broadening our horizons. Another significant exhibition was that of Raqib Shaw and Rina Banerjee which took place in 2009 just before Shaw joined White Cube,” says Gibson who, prior to joining the family firm, worked at Christie’s in London and Sotheby’s in New York. “We also, throughout this time, became more involved with contemporary art on the secondary market and started to take part in fairs such as Art Basel and Tefaf Maastricht, which my father had not done since the 1980s,” he says.

The gallery is set to show works at the fair ranging from an early Monet portrait of Jean Monet, the artist’s nephew, dating from 1868, to contemporary pieces by Shaw and Lisa Yuskavage. Raoul Dufy, Camille Pissarro and Henry Moore (below, Figure, 1932) will also be represented. Drawings by Giacometti of his biographer James Lord and the billionaire philanthropist David Sainsbury, the Chancellor of Cambridge University, will be available. The most expensive piece is by Corot, priced at $2m. Last year, a large-scale work by Saville (Pause, 2002-03) was available with the gallery for $1.95m.

Why is Maastricht important? “Every year we have been there so far, since 2007, we have met new people,” says Gibson, though “this does not always translate into sales but often does. There seems to be good loyalty among Tefaf clients.” Paying for a stand for ten days is, he says, “not cheap”, but potential sales and meeting new clients compensate for the high costs.

For more profiles of new dealers at Tefaf, see our supplement in the March print edition, or go to the special Maastricht section of our website and sign up for our newsletter.

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