Insights

On the one hand it’s a bit premature to begin ‘year in review’ insights, with another six weeks remaining in 2020; on the other, it’s hard not to reflect on a highly unusual TEFAF Maastricht 2020 when we are already receiving communications about TEFAF Maastricht 2021! Although this year’s Maastricht was an abbreviated one, it brought a string of successes on the sale front. Some of these took place during the fair while others called for lengthier, ongoing discussions – including during lockdown.

Dickinson’s directors Emma Ward and James Roundell with Van Gogh’s Paysanne devant une Chaumière

 

Looking back now, we are proud of our team’s efforts, which resulted in important sales in all 3 categories: Old Masters, Impressionist and Modern, and Post-War and Contemporary. (And not just at TEFAF: we also saw sales across all categories through virtual fairs and other online channels.) According to the current schedule, we expect to participate in no fewer than four fairs in the span of two months in the spring of 2021. We are optimistic about the chances these will go ahead, and, having sold this year’s highlight pieces (link here to Van Gogh and Picasso highlight videos), we are eager to get to work securing consignments for next year’s stand!

G.P. Panini, Rome, the Pantheon, a view of the interior, on Dickinson’s stand at TEFAF Maastricht 2020

 

Maastricht 2020 sales included Van Gogh’s Paysanne devant une Chaumière, painted in late July 1885. So far as Maastricht showstoppers go, a Van Gogh is about as good as it gets! This painting, which had attracted considerable attention from both collectors and the press in the run-up to TEFAF, was quickly put on hold and sold to a private collector during the VIP preview.

Dickinson’s stand at TEFAF Maastricht 2020, including Picasso’s Mandoline et portée de musique and Trois Nus

 

Among the Old Masters, the outstanding highlight was Panini’s superb Rome, the Pantheon, a view of the interior (1734), consigned for sale by the Asbjorn Lunde Foundation to benefit arts charities. The Panini was sold this summer to a private collector, thanks to an ongoing conversation that continued during the first lockdown. (Dreams of Italy must have seemed all the more appealing under the circumstances!) A lengthier discussion – one that began with our pre-fair checklist of works on offer – also resulted in the sale of Picasso’s important 1923/24 still life Mandoline et portée de musique, again to a private collector.

P. Cézanne, La Montagne Sainte-Victoire,  c. 1890, watercolour on buff paper

 

Further highlights from TEFAF sold this year included Cézanne’s atmospheric watercolour La Montagne Sainte-Victoire (c. 1890), whose provenance read like a Who’s Who of notable collectors: Ambroise Vollard, Gertrude Stein, Paul Rosenberg, Norton Simon, Eugene Thaw; and Picasso’s large-scale drawing Trois Nus (5 August 1938). Both works went to private collections.

P. Picasso, Trois Nus, 5 August 1938, pen and India ink on paper

 

The ongoing challenges caused by Covid have highlighted the importance of our extensive marketing, PR, social media and other outreach campaigns. Long before our artworks reach a fair, they are photographed, condition reported and thoroughly researched, with the most important pieces featured in scholarly brochures; in some cases, as with the Picasso Mandoline, we collaborate with leading scholars in the field. Our PR team drafts press releases to send to journalists and editors, while our Social Media team schedules coordinated posts across various channels (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) to highlight individual pieces in advance of – and during – the fair. Our e-mail blasts alert mailing list subscribers to upcoming fairs, while our specialists and directors write to collectors and curators to point out artworks of particular interest. During the fair, we film videos, speak to journalists, and lead tours for museum patron groups. By recording a 360-degree stand tour and a series of installation shots, we can continue to promote the stand and its highlights throughout and well after the fair itself.

Picasso’s Mandoline et portée de musique and Trois Nus in Dickinson’s London gallery

 

With our client “wish list” for artworks growing by the day, the limiting factor at the moment is inventory. And demand is likely to increase further in 2021 with collectors clamouring to view artworks in person once again. If you’re considering selling through private channels, now could be the right moment, so please get in touch if we can be of help.