Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2021 closed on Sunday 17th October with reports of strong sales and praise for the positive mood across all five days of the fair. Together, the two fairs reunited the world’s major galleries in a celebration of the creative spirit of the city.
Following a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event saw strong international attendance, with sold out tickets across the week, bringing together galleries, institutions, artists, and arts organisations for a safe and successful week. Frieze London and Frieze Masters are supported by global lead partner Deutsche Bank, continuing a shared commitment to artistic excellence.
Director of Frieze London, Eva Langret, said: “It was a joyous moment to see everyone come together after so long. This year’s fairs are the result of two years of thinking about new models, hybrid events, the opening of No.9 Cork Street and the launch of our membership programme – all those conversations have now come to fruition. We are grateful to our participating galleries for all rising to the challenge and joining us to celebrate everything London has to offer.”
Director of Frieze Masters, Nathan Clements-Gillespie, added: “We want to thank all our participating galleries for their outstanding work and achievement – the art shown at Frieze Masters this week was above and beyond, and this was reflected in the results.”
In line with this year’s reduced capacity, Frieze London and Frieze Masters attracted 80,000 visitors and featured over 290 galleries, showing across both fairs as well as via Frieze’s online platform, Frieze Viewing Room. The fairs’ celebrated curated programme was led by Unworlding, a section of Frieze London curated by Cédric Fauq (Chief Curator, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeau) and Stand Out at Frieze Masters, curated by Luke Syson (Director of Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge). Hybrid programming included LIVE, curated by Languid Hands (Rabz Lansiquot and Imani Robinson) and both Frieze London and Frieze Masters talks series. This year’s fairs were also accompanied by the launch of Frieze’s new hub for galleries, No.9 Cork Street and the London roll-out of Frieze’s new membership scheme.
Throughout the fair galleries saw swift sales and major placements, many of whom reported sold-out booths and high interest, as well as compliments for the positive mood across both fairs.
Early sales at Frieze London included Stephen Friedman Gallery’s sold-out booth of works by Deborah Roberts priced at $125,000 – 150,000, which was followed by quick reports of sales from Xavier Hufkens including a large bronze by Tracey Emin for £350,000, two works on paper by Louise Bourgeois at $100,000- $250,000, and a work on paper by Paul McCarthy in the range of $200,000. David Zwirner also sold out their booth on day one, including five paintings by Michaël Borremans from $180,000-$600,000, four sculptures by Carol Bove at $300,000-$450,000, a major painting by Kerry James Marshall for $2,200,000 to an American collection, and Rose Wylie’s Pineapple 2021, featured in Frieze Sculpture, for $250,000.
Classic names found favour at Hauser & Wirth, who sold a Günther Förg painting priced at €1,500,000 and Louise Bourgeois fabric sculpture of a couple embracing for $2,400,000, as well as a watercolour by Charles Gaines at $350,000 and a painting by Gary Simmons for $200,000. In the early hours of the fair Pace Gallery sold a Robert Longo for $650,000 to a private UK collection and a work by Loie Hollowell for $175,000, amongst others.
Showing in both Frieze London and Frieze Masters, Thaddaeus Ropac sold works including an Antony Gormley for £400,000, a work by Alex Katz for $950,000; four works by Georg Baselitz ranging from €75,000-€1,200,000 million, amongst others. White Cube sold two works by Theaster Gates for $500,000 each, a work by Park Seo-Bo for $360,000, a work by Mona Hatoum for £175,000 and works by Antony Gormley for £400,000. Interest was seen for moving-image work too, with Lisson Gallery selling Garrett Bradley’s film, AKA priced at $35,000 to a private institution.
Solo stands were a major draw with Gagosian selling all their paintings from their showing of Jennifer Guidi in the early hours of the fair. David Kordansky Gallery also sold all seven paintings by the LA-based Lucy Bull for prices between $25,000-$85,000. Seventeen also sold all works from their solo presentation of Erin O’Keefe. Participating in the Unworlding section of Frieze London, Tanya Leighton sold all works from Esteban Jefferson’s series of paintings at prices ranging from $25,000 to $55,000.
Xavier Hufkens, owner and director, Xavier Hufkens, said: “The fair is an opportunity to engage with our community of artists and collectors again in-person. Collectors have returned to London with an appetite for premier art. We have seen great demand for our artists from far and wide, and the turnout by American and Asian collectors has been especially strong.”
Maureen Paley stated: “This year’s Frieze London far exceeded my expectations. It has been wonderful to connect with everyone we missed over the past 18 months. London felt alive with the energy generated by the fair and all that happens in its wake. We saw interest in all our artists but were particularly pleased to donate a work by Wolfgang Tillmans (Lignin Duress, 2014) and arrange a sale that benefited the Gallery Climate Coalition.”
Rakeb Sile, Cofounder and Director, Addis Fine Art – a first-time exhibitor at Frieze London in the Focus section of the fair said: “For our first time exhibiting at Frieze, which is a major milestone for us, we are exhibiting the works of biomorphic abstractionist painter Merikokeb Berhanu who has been with us since the beginning, and we have always felt her work should be seen on the art world’s biggest stages so we are delighted to be exhibiting her work at Frieze London. The reception so far has been phenomenal, we sold out the booth on the first day, including placing works in institutions. We couldn’t be happier with how the fair has gone.”