LAW is a beautifully produced platform, easy to navigate and provides an alternative experience to other online platforms and art fair viewing rooms. The ability for collectors to see the works online and then, if they wish, in each participants gallery space is very special and a good way of bringing visitors back to galleries, particularly after such a turbulent year.
The above quote from first-time participant Piano Nobile sums up the hybrid London Art Week Summer 2021
, which took place online and in galleries from 2-16 July, and concurs with other exhibitors as to the warm response from clients to once again be able to view artworks in person.
Many participants staged special themed shows created for London Art Week drawing good attendance particularly in the opening 10 days. With international travel still limited, visitors were on the whole from the UK as were curators, including from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Ashmolean Museum and the British Museum. A number of overseas collectors and curators were in evidence, for example from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
Sales were made by galleries to both new and existing clients, in person and virtually. Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd made a major sale to a US institution. Stephen Ongpin Fine Art sold a modern watercolour, priced in excess of £100,000, to a new client. Elliott Fine Art, holding their first selling exhibition as a dealer, had a busy event and made multiple sales from his portrait-themed show, including one to a major museum.
Luce Garrigues, Director LAW Digital, commented: This July, we had a dynamic London Art Week and were pleased to see how well the hybrid format was received; our online events programme has been actively followed and the platform saw an increase in direct requests through the website. In particular, it was excellent to see collectors and dealers confidently engage in a digital space, more so than before. It is clear that London Art Weeks hybrid format placed LAW at the centre of the UK art markets revival and allowed us to grow stronger and become resilient to any future challenges.
Stephen Ongpin, Chairman of London Art Week, added: LAW exhibitors work with passionate collectors who still have the desire to augment their collections, and they have become accustomed to looking at dealers stock on websites over the past 18 months. They have now learned they can buy classic art online especially from a trusted dealer; this is the beauty of a relationship built between connoisseurs and dealers with shared tastes. It generates a reassurance, and collectors are now more willing to buy without necessarily seeing a work in real life. London Art Week, with its unique Digital platform, is well-placed to tap in to these new buying habits.
London Art Week also launched a satellite Showcase at Cromwell Place, the new arts hub in South Kensington, extending LAWs reach beyond the West End. Paintings, drawings, sculpture and ceramics were featured from a majority of the participating LAW dealers, giving a perfect overview of London Art Weeks diversity and expertise in a shared gallery space. Amelia Higgins, Director London Art Week, said It was exciting for us to reach a new, interested audience at Cromwell Place, and hopefully many of them took the short trip to the West End to see the individual galleries. There was a pleasingly positive response from dealers regarding visitor numbers, which seemed a lot more than expected this year.
This Summer LAW also featured an online group exhibition themed around Revolution and Renewal, curated by Dr. Arturo Galansino, Director of the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, who gave the Preview Day talk.
The numerous panel discussions and events held digitally during LAW were very well attended. For London Art Weeks talks, we were fortunate to collaborate with many high-profile international museums - Palazzo Strozzi, The Frick Collection, The Bargello and the Musée du Luxembourg among others and museum directors and curators, as well as art historians, expert authors and specialist dealers, said Board member Emanuela Tarizzo of Tomasso, who helped organise and participated in several of the talks. The success of LAWs cultural programme in terms of the quality of the content and audience reach, supports London Art Weeks collegial approach to understanding and appreciating pre-contemporary art in all its forms.
Alex Toscano, London Art Week Vice-Chair, sums up: Maintaining London as a centre of art will always be helped by dealers holding physical shows, and working together to attract and welcome buyers. London Art Week Digital is a wonderful professional platform giving us a year-round presence internationally, one that also enriches our currently constrained lives. We particularly want to thank our Continental exhibitors; their continued support and participation shows the global reach of LAW as well as its importance to London.
London Art Week will continue its mid-season series of online talks and events in October, and LAW Winter 2021 will take place in early December.