Frieze Masters 2016: A complete guide
Although Frieze Masters is billed as an art fair, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve walked into a museum convention. Each gallery’s stand is arrayed with curatorial precision and flair, and many of the objects on show are genuinely worthy of being shown in a first-class public institutions. With offerings from every era of art history from the ancient Greek world to Surrealism, there’s something for everyone.
Furthermore, while the fair’s title evokes endless stands of Old Master paintings, there are artworks here in every format, including illuminated manuscripts, furniture, sculpture and decorative armour – at Rupert Wace there’s even a 8,000-year-old neolithic pestle and mortar. It’s also great to see a huge range of items from outside of the western canon, and there are several stands dedicated to art and objects from India, various African countries, and the Far East.
The Kallos Gallery specialises in objects from ancient Greece, and offers one of the highlights of the show this year: a Cretan bronze battle helmet dating from the 7th century BC. Its hooked helm is terrifying and fabulous in equal measure. With a cool £3 million price tag, you’re probably not going to be taking it home in your handbag, but it’s a fantastic opportunity to take a closer look at the kind of object you usually see behind glass in the British Museum.
Jumping ahead in history, Moretti Fine Art is showing a work by Taddeo Gaddi, a well-known follower of the great proto-Renaissance painter Giotto. The 14th century painting features Saint Antony Abbot on a gold ground, and is a fantastic example of early Renaissance devotional art. More recently still, a Salvador Dali lips sofa and a stunning Magritte painting (with a vague price tag of “over £20 million”) are for sale at Dickinson.
It’s the unexpected juxtapositions that make Frieze Masters such as fascinating experience. Of course, with prices like that, you’re unlikely to walk away with something new for you wall. But it’s nice to dream.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
Frieze Masters 2016 is on from 6th to 9th October 2016, for further information visit here.
Read our Frieze Art Fair London 2016 guide here.