Strong sales, highest visitor figures and successful auction
Collect, Europe’s leading art fair for contemporary objects, returned to the Saatchi Gallery earlier this month with close-of-show sales estimated at £1.5 million, over 14,000 visitors, and £30,550 raised in the Crafts Council Benefit Auction.
Collect featured 37 exhibiting galleries from 13 different countries on three continents showing work by over 400 artists. The healthy sales figure, expected to rise in post-show commissions and sales, shows that interest in craft is high, and rising. Collect provides a chance to see the most exciting and newest craft-led artworks from around the world with many premiering at the fair. A significant number of pieces were sold at a series of events where public and private collectors were out in force including the V&A, the British Museum, National Museums Scotland, Musée Ariana, The Fitzwilliam Museum and Ulster Museum.
Exhibitor Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections commented: “After a year’s break, Collect 2017 saw collectors keen to buy and doing so with confidence. Our sales included glass from Steffen Dam, furniture from Nest design and an important pair of ripple sycamore tables by John Makepeace. Prices for pieces sold ranged from £650 to £45000.”
The V&A made eight acquisitions: Genta Ishizuka’s lacquer piece Surface Landscape #1 (ARTCOURT Gallery, Japan), Katie Spragg’s porcelain piece Hedgerow (Flow Gallery, UK), David Bielander’s silver and gold Wellpappe Corrugated Cardboard bracelet (Gallery S O, UK) and Joseph Harrington’s glass piece Ravine (Bullseye Gallery, USA), Sachiko Kuroda’s lacquer brooch (Katie Jones Gallery, UK), Carina Shoshtary’s silver and steel The Secret Keepers brooch (Galerie Rosemarie Jäger, Germany), Matt Smith’s porcelain piece Wunderkammer 2 (Cynthia Corbett Gallery, UK), four glass pieces from the U-turn stories by Inger Andersson (Widell Projects, Sweden).
The following Collect Awards, in association with Champagne Pommery, were presented: benandsebastian, represented by Køppe Contemporary Objects, won Collect Newcomer Award for outstanding work by an artist exhibiting for the first time; The Scottish Gallery won the Collect Gallery Award for quality of curation and presentation for their display of iconic jewellers Wendy Ramshaw and David Watkins; and Claire Curneen won the Collect Open Exhibitor Award for her large ceramic diorama Tending the Fires.
Collect also provided the first opportunity to see the latest acquisitions to the Crafts Council’s national Collection - Essex House Tapestries: the life of Julie Cope (2015) by Grayson Perry and new touring exhibition Showtime, posters and objects from the Crafts Council Collections, which celebrates an the rich history of exhibitions from 1971.
Along with many leading artists and exhibiting Collect galleries, Grayson Perry also donated a print from his series Six Snapshots of Julie (2015) to the Crafts Council Benefit Auction powered by Artsy, which raised £30,550 for a new home for craft. This bold new vision for the Crafts Council building in Islington will transform the future of craft in the UK by providing a chance to discover new makers, engage with our Collection, handle objects, attend talks, debates and film screenings and much more.
Representatives from Alexander McQueen, Loewe, Shrimps and the British Fashion Council and a busy exclusive event for architects and designers reflected the growing cross-fertilisation between the worlds of craft, fashion, design and architecture.
“The energy of the refreshed Collect was palpable. The fair looked stunning, the quality of the work was exemplary and many galleries reported significant sales. We’re delighted that we had our largest ever number of visitors at the Saatchi Gallery reflecting what a tremendous experience Collect is for anyone who has an interest in contemporary craft. It was heartening that our first benefit auction raised over £30,000 towards a new home for craft.” Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council