LONDON—Now in its 23rd year, the 20/21 British Art Fair opened the new London season at the Royal College of Art from Sept. 15–19 with its customary mix of serious modern British art— including works by artists such as Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Frank Auerbach—and more traditional contemporary art. For the former, the market appeared to be strong, though there were no seven-figure sales to report. Top prices appeared to be in the six-figure range, for paintings by Ivon Hitchens, David Bomberg and Peter Lanyon at Jonathan Clark Fine Art. Also selling works by Lanyon, a postwar abstract painter who is to have a retrospective show at Tate St Ives this month, was the Richard Green Gallery.
In hot demand were the paintings of the Scottish Colorist Samuel Peploe, another six-figure artist, by whom the Duncan Miller Gallery sold three works. Dreamlike paintings from the ’60s by the late Norfolk artist Mary Newcomb moved well, three selling in the £30,000/40,000 range at Crane Kalman, which also landed six-figure sales of paintings by L.S. Lowry and Auerbach.
Agnew’s, celebrating its move to new premises in Mayfair, had a bumper fair selling works by Sidney Nolan, John Piper, Moore, Elizabeth Frink and Graham Sutherland.
And Osborne Samuel sold nine pieces in the £5,000/50,000 range, including works by Adrian Heath, John Craxton, Alan Reynolds, Nicholson, Paul Feiler and Vanessa Bell among others. “It seems people still want to put their money into good art,” said gallery director Peter Osborne—just one of many exhibitors to confirm satisfactory sales at the latest edition of this niche event.