Unlike many other fairs in the UK capital, which cater predominantly to specific slices of the market, the London Art Fair (until 22 January) targets a wide range of wallets. Works on offer at the fair, which opened to VIPS and collectors on Tuesday 17 January, range from £600 etchings to six-figure prints by Warhol, while average prices seem to hover around the mid-to-low five-figure mark.
Robert Travers, whose gallery Piano Nobile is a stalwart of the fair, says it has always attracted “a strong local clientele that is different from the ‘Masterpiece crowd’, although we have met billionaires here”. Among the works on offer at his stand is a striking painting by the British artist John Armstrong, Spring (1944), priced at £46,000.
Also worth seeing is a mini-exhibition of the Ingram Collection, which is currently on loan at the Lightbox museum, in Woking. It presents a small selection of British masterpieces, including a mesmerising work by John Tunnard, titled Messenger (1969), and pieces by Barbara Hepworth and Edward Burra. Rule Britannia indeed.
Founded by the media entrepreneur Chris Ingram in 2002, the collection has more than 650 pieces. “It’s the Lightbox’s tenth anniversary this year and we want to make this collection as accessible as possible to everyone,” says its director Jo Baring.
Art from beyond Britain is also on show at the fair. One of the highlights of Art Projects, the programme of international contemporary art, is the Dialogues section, which is organised by Miguel Amado, the senior curator at the Middlesbrough Institute for Modern Art. Of the five projects included here, a particular highlight is the sound-art piece by Graham Fagen (who represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2015) at Golden Thread Gallery, and the works on show at First Floor Gallery from Harare, Zimbabwe’s first independent, artist-led gallery.