Here’s What to See at Masterpiece London 2019
Now in its tenth year, Masterpiece London returns to the Royal Chelsea Hospital Grounds on June 28 for the 2019 edition, presenting the best in art, design, and jewelry from antiquity to the present day. The varied and eclectic setup allows collectors the opportunity to view works from diverse disciplines in one place. With some 250 fairs around the world, it’s this cross-collecting ethos that sets Masterpiece apart.
“Mixing different fields creates a sum greater than their parts,” chairman Philip Hewat-Jaboor told Galerie at the fair opening last year. “Masterpiece is about opening up worlds and breaking down the traditional barriers between collecting in traditional and contemporary.” Of the 157 exhibitors this year, 24 are newcomers. With so many wonderful pieces on offer, we’ve done the legwork to share some of the standout offerings below.
1. Phyllida Barlow at Hauser & Wirth
Guests at this year’s fair will find themselves transported in an immersive installation by British artist Phyllida Barlow. The work is a continuation of Barlow’s suspended multicolored pom-poms that she developed during the 1990s. The installation is for sale as a whole, or individual pom-poms are available for between £35,000 to £65,000. Sculpture lovers shouldn’t miss the new selling sculpture exhibition curated by Jo Baring in the central areas of the fair, titled Sculpture Series.
2. Cindy Chao
Last year, the celebrated Taiwanese jeweler Cindy Chao (and one of Galerie’s 2019 Creative Minds) received the Outstanding Object Award for her exquisite ruby Peony brooch. She returns this year with her latest Black Label Masterpieces, the one-of-a-kind pieces that attempt to break new ground in jewelry-making. Treated as works of art, each jewel is sketched by hand by Chao before she embarks on hours of labor. Highlights this year include the Marguerite brooch, crafted with cabochon emeralds, diamonds, fancy-colored tsavorites, and lacquer on titanium, and her Royal brooch feathers, featuring a staggering 740 sapphires in nine color gradients with large central diamonds.
3. Janine Janet at Rose Uniacke
The London designer and antiques dealer Rose Uniacke is known in the upper echelons of the design world for her elegant, understated interiors that combine history with contemporary flair. At Masterpiece, she will present a beguiling plaster sculpture attributed to the French sculptor, set designer, and installation artist Janine Janet. The totem-like form is crowned with a deer’s head and celebrates Janet’s fascination with metamorphosis.
4. De Gournay collaboration with Félix Marcilhac
De Gournay has teamed up with Galerie Marcilhac of Paris to present beautiful new wall coverings. Félix Marcilhac’s exquisite repertoire of Art Deco–era pieces are paired with an exclusive hand-embroidered wall covering dubbed Deco Wisteria, an artful rendition of a Wisteria tree in threaded champagne and gold metallics on a wool sateen base cloth.
5. Chairs at David Gill Gallery
London dealer David Gill has a knack for mixing contemporary art with design. Highlights at his booth this year include a trio of bold chairs that are sure to make a statement in any room. An armchair by Italian designer Mattia Bonetti from 2014, for example, is crafted in gilded carved wood, gemstones, and mohair. Another standout piece is a patinated-bronze chair by American artist Michele Oka Doner, as well as a curious organic formed chair made of polyethene, rubber, and fiberglass by British duo Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard.
6. A Korean Moon jar at E&H Manners
The curvaceous, milky white porcelain moon jars were originally designed in the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910) as household containers for storing food, flowers, or wine before they were appreciated as artworks. Resembling the moon, this type of vessel is formed by throwing clay for each half separately on a wheel before they’re joined together at the widest point and glazed in white. This piece is on offer for $48,225.
7. Romano British Mosaic at Edward Hurst
The preeminent antiques dealer Edward Hurst, who always causes a stir with his finds at Masterpiece, will present a rare Romano-British mosaic from the early fourth century, which lay buried at a Roman villa in Dewlish, Dorset, before being discovered in 1740 during a storm. It’s the first time it has left the country in 1,700 years.
8. Anila Quayyum Agha at Sundaram Tagore
One of the more contemporary offerings at the fair is this intriguing installation by Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha at the booth of Sundaram Tagore. Titled Shimmering Mirages, the laser-cut suspended and illuminated steel cube installation casts a lacelike, floor-to-ceiling shadow that recalls the rich architecture of the mosque Agha was excluded from as a young woman growing up in Lahore.
9. George Nakashima bench at Geoffrey Diner
A master woodworker and M.I.T.-trained architect, George Nakashima was the leading designer of the American Studio furniture movement. His free-form, poetic style is encapsulated in this beautiful bench, which shows off the grain and marks in the wood, leaving the natural edge. His work can be found in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution.
10. Koichi Io boat vessel at Katie Jones
Katie Jones specializes in contemporary Japanese applied artists, showcasing stellar examples of ceramic, metalwork, textile, bamboo, lacquer, and glass. The young Japanese talent Koichi Io was born into a traditional metal-making family, learning the craft from his father before studying in Seoul. He is a finalist of this years Loewe Craft Prize, and his work is currently on view at the Sogetsu Kaikan in Tokyo through July 22. This patinated copper vessel is a stunning example of his craft.
11. Table lamp by Axel Enoch Boman at Modernity
This vibrant lamp is one of only two known objects designed by glassmaker Axel Enoch Boman for Orrefors, a glassworks in the Swedish village Orrefors in Samaland that closed in 2012. The traditional flower decorations in etched cameo technique relief illuminate both the base and the shade. The difficult glassblowing work was carried out by another important craftsman at the factory, Knut Bergqvist.
12. Aboriginal rain forest shield, northeastern Queensland, Australia, at Galerie Patrick & Ondine Mestdagh
The swords and shields from this region in Australia were used in big social gatherings to settle disputes and legal conflicts between different tribes. Carved from the trunk of a native fig tree, it is painted with white, yellow, and red clays using a piece of cane. According to traditional custom, initiated men would paint the design simultaneously.
13. David Hockney at Redfern gallery
The Redfern gallery is presenting a personal portrait of the American Abstract Expressionist Paul Jenkins (1923–2012) painted by David Hockney. The sitting took place at Jenkins’s studio at 831 Broadway during Hockney’s second visit to New York, in 1963. Paul Jenkins was a significant collector of Hockney’s work in the early 1960s and loaned a number of his paintings for the Hockney Whitechapel Gallery retrospective in 1970. This is the first time the portrait is hitting the market.
14. Terra-cotta zebu bull vessel at Charles Ede
This curious terra-cotta drinking vessel in the shape of a bull is presented by the London-based antiquities specialists Charles Ede. The muzzle forms an elongated pouring spout, which would have been used for wine, and the ears are pierced to feature silver earrings, which are still in place.
Masterpiece is on view at the Royal Hospital, London, from June 28 through July 3.