18 October, 2023
The 2023 edition of Frieze, the London art fair par excellence, has just closed its doors, after an intense week full of art happenings and events in the beautiful Regent’s Park setting, where the fair is based, and throughout the city.
Although the brand “Frieze” is expanding throughout the world, with annual appointments in Seoul, New York and Los Angeles, only in London, the homeland of the fair, we can see the presence of two sisters fairs based on two different formats: Frieze Masters, which offers a unique perspective on thousands of years of art history; and Frieze London, focusing only on contemporary art, which this year celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Overall, in its 2023 edition, Frieze saw the participation of 290 art galleries from all over the world, exhibiting their works at Frieze Masters (n. 130 galleries) and Frieze London (n. 160 galleries). The London-based galleries, or having at least one location in the city, are predominant, especially at Frieze Masters, where they represent the 50% of the participating galleries (n. 64), while they account for the 32% at Frieze London (n. 52). For the rest, while it seems to decrease the presence of European galleries, it is interesting to observe a growing presence of galleries coming from Asia.
Frieze Masters showed a great heterogeneity of artworks, from collectible objects to significant masterpieces from the prehistoric era and Old Masters to the late 20th century.
Focusing on the most ancient eras, David Aroon’s booth stood out with a 68 million-year-old T-Rex dinosaur skeleton, valued at $20 million, together with other unique pieces such as a prehistoric giant turtle fossil.
T-Rex Skeleton, David Aroon both, Frieze Masters
Moving forward with history, another top lot at the fair was a beautifully maintained Rembrandt piece, exhibited at David Koetser’s booth, valued £ 26 million and considered one of the most important artist’s pieces still in private hands.
Rembrandt at David Koetser’s booth
Focusing on a more recent historical period, Alighiero Boetti was among the most recurrent modern artists featured at the fair, confirming the current strength of the artist on the market. His work was present in the booths of many prestigious galleries, such as Robilant+Voena, Tornabuoni Fine Art, Ben Brown and Larkin Erdmann.
In relation to Frieze Masters, it is also worth mentioning 'Modern Women', a new themed section steered by Camille Morineau (Co-founder of non-profit organisation AWARE – Archive of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions) and dedicated to solo exhibitions by women artists with a special focus on works created between 1880 and 1980, a pivotal period for women’s rights and feminism. In the section, we found, amongst others, solo shows by Maria Lai (M77 gallery), Anna Eva Bergman (Perrotin) and Kangja Jung (Arario gallery).