London’s Eclectic Open Art Fair Will Carry On With Its Debut, But Is Offering Virtual Access to Those Who’d Prefer to Stay Home

One hundred dealers will showcase a range of art and decorative objects from antiquity to the present in London's Duke of York Square.

The Open Art Fair will open in Chelsea in London next week.
The Open Art Fair will open in Chelsea in London next week.

This show will go on: the Open Art Fair at London’s Duke of York Square will proceed as planned next week despite growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. A common-sense caution and a resilient sense of camaraderie are driving the organizers and dealers as the eclectic fair prepares to open. They assure visitors that hand sanitizer will be available in abundance. “We feel this fair is important as a statement to the art world that we can and must continue to trade. Wisely, judiciously but above all we must continue,” said the fair’s director Thomas Woodham Smith.

The fair—which is making its debut —will bring together 100 dealers, including 20 new participants, to showcase thousands of works of art and objects from antiquity to the present. The mix of objects is meant to offer a visual feast of inspiration for collectors, organizers say.  

Newcomers to the renamed fair include contemporary-art dealers Tanya Baxter Contemporary, which will present works by Banksy, David Hockney, and Lucian Freud; Rebecca Hossack Gallery, which focuses on Aboriginal art; and Atlas Photography, a dealer of Modern and contemporary photographs that will bring works by Ansel Adams and William Klein. 

The fair’s wide-ranging offerings are more varied than one might imagine, with dealers who focus not only on various eras of fine and decorative art, but also aeronautica, jewels, vintage mechanical devices, handmade car models, Art Deco cocktail cabinets, and games tables, including 1930s French café football tables. 

The Open Art Fair is also planning to present 360-degree virtual tours of the booths, opening after the second day of the fair, for those who would prefer to attend remotely, to which exhibitors will be able to tag and link items.

“The Open Art Fair aims to provide a less stressful experience for the buyer than having to enter a shop, equally it presents an impressive and eclectic spectrum of art and design that would otherwise take months to get round,” said Woodham Smith. “We are celebrating excellence, but also charm and decorativeness.”

See a selection of fair highlights below.

Sud-Ouest Espadon Wind Tunnel Model (circa 1947-48). Courtesy of Hatchwell Antiques.

Sud-Ouest Espadon Wind Tunnel Model (circa 1947–48). Courtesy of Hatchwell Antiques.

George Stubbs, Two Hacks (1789). Courtesy of the Parker Gallery

George Stubbs, Two Hacks (1789). Courtesy of the Parker Gallery.

Queen Anne burr walnut & feather banded double dome bookcase (circa 1705). Courtesy of Millington Adams.

Queen Anne burr walnut & feather banded double dome bookcase (circa 1705). Courtesy of Millington Adams.

Apollo Decanter. Courtesy of Justin Evershed Martin

Apollo Decanter. Courtesy of Justin Evershed Martin.

Thomas Pitts, Silver Epergne. Courtesy of Forrest & Fraser.

Thomas Pitts, Silver Epergne. Courtesy of Forrest & Fraser.

A Rare Example of St. George and the Dragon on a Jasper Base (c 1870). Courtesy of Antique Enamel Company

A rare example of St. George and the Dragon on a Jasper Base (c 1870). Courtesy of Antique Enamel Company

Andy Warhol, Greta Garbo. Courtesy of Ottocento.

Andy Warhol, Greta Garbo. Courtesy of Ottocento.

Meissen Nude Figure. Courtesy of Alfandary Antiques.

Meissen Nude Figure. Courtesy of Alfandary Antiques.

A Pair of Chinese Export ‘Famille Rose’ Cockerels Qing Dynasty (circa 1736 – 1775). Courtesy of Gibson Antiques.

A pair of Chinese export ‘Famille Rose’ cockerels from the Qing Dynasty (circa 1736–1775). Courtesy of Gibson Antiques.

Shane Couch, ‘Ingomar – vs – Meteor III’ The Kaiser’s Schooner at Cowes Week (1904). Courtesy of Rountree Tyron

Shane Couch, ‘Ingomar – vs – Meteor III’ The Kaiser’s Schooner at Cowes Week (1904). Courtesy of Rountree “Tyron”.


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