A woman in a pink dress standing in front of golden and wooden doors
A woman in a pink dress standing in front of golden and wooden doors

Nazy Vassegh photographed in the Grand Hall at Two Temple Place. Photo by Alex Board

This May sees the second edition of Eye of the Collector kicking off the summer art season in London. Conceived as a new style of art fair, the concept sees Two Temple Place transformed into an imaginary collector’s home for a boutique style fair. Ahead of the opening, the founder, Nazy Vassegh, tells us why she created this unique fair and the key focus this focus this year

The idea for Eye of the Collector came about from a work trip I took to the opening of the 2019 Venice Biennale. As I wandered around extraordinary palazzi full of carefully curated breath-taking art from all eras, I questioned why art fairs were so formulaic – boring white tents and aisle after aisle of white box booths. My collector friends were also starting to complain to me about suffering from ‘fairtigue’. Given that I worked in what was supposed to be a creative industry, I thought it was time to take action.

A white tree with antlers coming out of the top

Image from Eye of the Collector 2021: Susie MacMurray, The Stalker 2021. Courtesy of Pangolin gallery

Returning to the UK, the search for an appropriate home for Eye of the Collector began. My husband was working in the fashion business at the time and had staged a show during London Fashion Week at Two Temple Place. When he showed me the building and I learnt more about the history of the interior it became quickly clear that this was the perfect home for what we wanted to achieve.

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Built in 1895 for William Waldorf Astor, then one of the richest men in the world, the brief to the architect had been to create ‘the finest building irrespective of cost’. The result is a riot of neo-Gothic panelling, stained glass windows and rare marble mosaic floors created by the finest craftsmen of the time. As a sign of true quality, the supporting pillars of the galleried landing were carved from solid ebony and, in the reinforced safe room, William Waldorf kept the title deeds for most of modern Manhattan.

A wooden room with art on the walls

Image from Eye Viewing Room, 2021 showing the Lower Gallery

My intention had always been to present art and design in a setting that collectors could imagine in the context of their own homes and this fitted the bill perfectly. Owned and run by the Bulldog Trust I also liked the idea that we were re-purposing a historic building and in so doing supporting a charity dedicated to good causes.

After a digital-only edition in 2020, Eye of the Collector finally launched in real life in September 2021. Given all the disruption of the previous eighteen months I really didn’t know what to expect. This was going to be the first real art event in a long time and no-one could predict how collectors and the wider art world would react, especially to something as new as Eye of the Collector.

A red couch in a grey and beige room with art on the wall

A range of art is shown at Eye of the Collector from works by emerging artists to the masterpiece classics

Art and design from modern day to antiquity was presented from thirty international galleries, curated as if in an imaginary collector’s home free of the traditional booths and putting the art centre stage to encourage new collecting pathways and creative artistic juxtapositions. Prices ranged from a few thousand pounds for an original work by an up-and-coming young artist to a few million pounds for an early masterpiece by Lucien Freud. This allowed collectors of all types and at all stages of their collecting journey to engage.

Read more: Sophie Neuendorf’s Inside Guide To The Venice Biennale

Our next edition will take place from 11-14 May once again at Two Temple Place, WC2. This time around we are placing an emphasis on female artists. A wide variety of works will be offered for sale including contemporary art, some made especially for the fair, mid-century and modern design, ancient art and studio ceramics.

Find out more: eyeofthecollector.com

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Auctioneer Oliver Barker directing Sotheby’s global e-auctions. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Following the announcement of Sotheby’s Cologne office, artnet’s Vice President and LUX columnist Sophie Neuendorf discusses shifting collecting habits and the potential for Germany to become a key player in the art world

The recent news that Sotheby’s is opening an office in Cologne, Germany has made waves internationally but also ruffled a few feathers within the German market. However, given the ramifications of Brexit, which is making import and export transactions much more cumbersome, it’s hardly a surprising decision. Christie’s has been steadily strengthening its presence Paris over the last few years and Amsterdam is much smaller in terms of buyer opportunities so the EU’s largest country in terms of size and economic strength seems the logical choice for Sotheby’s.

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According to the auction house, “German collectors remain essential to Sotheby’s business, featuring in the list of top ten countries most actively buying and selling in Sotheby’s sales for the past three years.” In this light, it’s hard to imagine that the aim of the opening is centred solely around the potential of new collectors, but what is of interest is the abundance of private collections in Germany, which provide ample opportunities for acquiring unique and unseen masterpieces.

Germany is renowned for its impressive history of supporting the arts, from fine arts to music or literature. Many of the most important art collections worldwide are located in Germany, and quite a few of these marvellous collections will be handed down to the next generation before too long.

pop art exhibition

Neuendorf Gallery pop art exhibition 1964 in Hamburg, Germany.

“The German art market is outstanding in Europe with its strong collectors on the one hand and its internationally sought-after artists on the other,” comments Alice von Seldeneck of Germany’s prestigious Lempertz auction house. “After Brexit and the uncertainties and costs associated with it, it was a logical conclusion to establish another foothold on the continent. We had expected this to happen much sooner.”

Read more: The art of cross-collecting by Philip Hewat-Jaboor

According to artnet data, German collectors have historically favoured Impressionist and Modern art, closely followed by Post War and Old Masters paintings. Now, these same categories are tied to tedious export rules and regulations, newly introduced by Germany’s culture minister (ostensibly to protect Germany’s cultural heritage), which are suppressing international trade. The fourth most popular collecting category is Contemporary Art, which is much easier to buy and sell internationally. With the rise of the new millennial generation of collectors, perhaps the German market is primed for a shift in wealth and collecting habits?

graph showing art sales

Infographic courtesy of artnet

Germany ranks 4th in terms of sales in western countries after the United States, the United Kingdom, and France (source: art net). “In 2020, 40% of German bidders were new to the company, while the number of German buyers in online sales tripled, ” revealed a spokesperson from Sotheby’s. With many of Europe’s hottest emerging artists flocking to Berlin, it’s only a matter of time until the country becomes a hot spot in terms of Contemporary and Ultra Contemporary art.

“Berlin is an ideal combination of a strong primary and secondary market with different generations of collectors,” says von Seldeneck. “The strong consignments from abroad show us how highly regarded the German art market is internationally.”

graph showing highest paid artists

Infographic courtesy of artnet

The city is a place of inspiration for many creatives from around the world as reflected by the plethora of blue chip galleries that have recently opened in the German capital. Four of the world’s top earning artists – Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, and Frank Auerbach – are also Germany-based. But will this rise in popularity be reflected in actual sales and growth of the market?

Read more: The gastronomic delights of Suvretta House, Switzerland

According to Berlin-based gallerist and former BVDG (German Association of Galleries) board member Klaus Gerrit Friese, the entry of Sotheby’s into the German market is a testament to the country’s strength and potential for growth. “I’m very positive about the future of the German art market. The new generation of gallerists have developed radically new ideas about viewing and selling art, which goes hand in hand with the rise of millennial collectors. So, the real potential lies in the Contemporary and Ultra Contemporary market, where I have observed a lot of upward movement in Germany over the past few years,” he says.

While Germany seems primed to become one of the world’s most important countries in terms of both creativity and sales, it remains to be seen whether the coming generational change and shift in collecting preferences will propel the country into the upper echelons of the market.

Follow Sophie Neuendorf on Instagram: @sophieneuendorf

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Render of a timber stacked contemporary structure
Render of a timber stacked contemporary structure

OMM designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates. © NAARO

Last weekend saw the opening of Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM), a major new art museum  founded by art collector Erol Tabanca and designed by Kengo Kuma & Associates in North West Turkey. Here, we recall the event in pictures

Home to Erol Tabanca’s 1000 piece contemporary art collection alongside a curated program of exhibitions, OMM officially opened its doors to the public on Sunday 8th September following a glamorous launch party on the Saturday night.

Black tie guests at VIP opening party

Guests at the opening party of OMM

Guests at VIP opening party in front of OMM branded wall

Erol Tabanca with Kengo Kuma and Yuki Ikeguchi

The opening celebrations saw Japanese bamboo artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV completing the final touches of his largest ever installation, alongside performances by Turkish artist Lin Pesto, and singer-songwriter Jonathan Bree , and two immersive installations by British digital art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast.

Contemporary bamboo art installation expanding from a museum gallery wall

The largest installation to date by Japanese bamboo-artist Tanabe Chikuunsai IV © NAARO

Read more: OMM’s Creative Director Idil Tabanca on creating an art institution

The night also launched the museum’s first exhibition Vuslat​ (loosely translated as The Union). The group show features a selection of over 100 works by 60 leading artists predominantly from Turkey including Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Canan Tolon, Erol Akyavaş, İlhan Koman, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Sinan Demirtaş and Tayfun Erdoğmuş.

Guests attending a VIP party

Rana, Idil and Erol Tabanca

Woman standing in blue and gold blazer with red lips

Fashion designer Dilara Fındıkoğlu has designed the uniforms for the museum’s staff in collaboration with Creative Director Idil Tabanca

Digital art display in a museum

For more information visit: omm.art

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Portrait of art collector Aeneas Bastian
Polaroid of artist David Hockney taking a photo

David Hockney byAndy Warhol, ca. 1972, Polaroid © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Licensed by DACS, London. Courtesy BASTIAN, London

Established in 1989 by Celine and Heiner Bastian, BASTIAN opened its first gallery in 2007 in Berlin. Now, the gallery has placed itself on the global art map with the grand opening of a new space in Mayfair. LUX speaks to the founders’ son and gallery director Aeneas Bastian about Andy Warhol, the London art market and how collectors are doing things differently
Portrait of art collector Aeneas Bastian

Aeneas Bastian. Courtesy BASTIAN

LUX: Tell us about the London gallery and how it came to be.
Aeneas Bastian: I felt that when coming to London we should be in the middle of the traditional gallery district in Mayfair so we found a space on Davis Street [No. 8], which is fairly close to Phillips auction house and the Gagosian gallery. I remember starting this search for a London exhibition space about two years ago. I looked at quite a number of properties, but I had a very specific idea in mind so it took quite a long time to actually find the right space and this feels perfect now.

I really like Berlin, it’s my home town, I grew up there and I think it’s become a fantastic metropolis, but it is not a major market place. So I think trying to build a bridge between Berlin and London, Germany and the UK could be an ideal combination of two different worlds. And I could not think of any other major city in Europe that has the same the same kind of status or importance as London, especially when you look at the quality of exhibitions, both commercial exhibitions at private galleries and exhibitions in public institutions. Especially in Mayfair you can see that people are trying to achieve something outstanding, they’re committed to excellence. Berlin is different – it is quite experimental – so you see promising young artists working in their studios and creating fantastic work. And it’s probably the same in other fields, in restaurants or fashion. You would find some of the leading individuals in London, and maybe some of the most interesting new talent in Berlin… I think that’s the difference between the two cities.

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LUX: Why did you choose Andy Warhol rather than a German artist for your opening show?
Aeneas Bastian: That’s a good question! I’ve thought about this for quite a long time because obviously we would also like to be a showcase of German art in London, showing well known German artists who may not be as well known in the UK, but also younger emerging artists too.

Warhol, along with [Cy] Twombly and [Joseph] Beuys, has been one of the key artists when we look back at the early years of the gallery’s history. So I thought it would be interesting to bring that back and to take it to London, but I’d like the following exhibitions to be devoted to German art.

LUX: Is it Warhol’s polaroids particularly that you specialise in?
Aeneas Bastian: Yes, it’s the polaroids and we have some of the rarest and most important polaroid portraits, especially of other artists and some writers, actors, musicians and also a few people who came to the Factory when it was not just a studio or a place of production, but also an international meeting place. So, in a way, looking at these polaroid pictures is also a bit like taking a time machine and landing in New York in the late 70s early 80s. Some people are maybe lesser known today and some have become even more iconic, or famous. It’s very interesting looking back at this period now…

The gallery has always had a particular focus on post-war German and post-war American art too, including artists likeJoseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg as well as Warhol. They’ve always had a special place in our exhibition programme and have been essential for the development of the gallery, which was founded thirty years ago by my parents, Céline and Heiner Bastian. They were both curators and they knew Warhol well. There was no commercial link in any way at the time, but they worked together on exhibitions, projects, books, publications, and brought some of Warhol’s exhibitions to Germany during his lifetime. Today, we would probably define my parents as art advisers, but at the time, I think the term wasn’t really used.

Portrait of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Andy Warhol

Jean-Michel Basquiat by Andy Warhol 1982, Polacolor ER © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Licensed by DACS, London. Courtesy BASTIAN, London

LUX: The market for post-war art and now, what we call 20th century and modern art — did that rise and then fall again in the 90s?
Aeneas Bastian: Yes, looking back at those changes, of course we’ve seen remarkable increases in values, but also several moments of crisis. When I speak with my parents about those times they always tell me that the art world was so much smaller, it was essentially a few European countries including France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and the UK, and then there was America, but except for maybe a small group of Japanese collectors there was no Asian market, and no one would ever go to Australia or India or Africa, or the Middle East. There was no global market.

LUX: Do you think there’s been a renewal of interest in late 20th century art recently, or has the interest always been there?
Aeneas Bastian: I think it’s always been there, at least in London. Berlin has had this sort of edgy, young contemporary art focus that sometimes modern art, twentieth century art seems to be missing because it’s always about the present. But I think London has always had this particular strength of offering such a wide range to art collectors from Old Masters to the present day. There is no other place in the world that could offer that kind of quality, especially when collectors are a bit more eclectic and interested in different periods and different forms of culture.

LUX: Are the big twentieth century artists, the ones who are no longer with us – such as Pollock or Warhol or Lichtenstein and so on –  mostly collected by people of that era or by younger generations too?
Aeneas Bastian: I think it’s both. It’s two worlds coming together. Elderly collectors who have had the privilege of maybe knowing the artist, and young collectors who have obviously not met the artist, but who are now becoming familiar with the work and studying, going to see survey exhibitions and reading catalogues raisonné and books written by experts, immersing themselves in the world and work of the artist.

Read more: A taste of Hong Kong’s future

LUX: In terms of collectors and the people buying art: how are they choosing? How do they come to their conclusions and how are they guided?
Aeneas Bastian: It used to be a very personal thing. You would meet a professional or an adviser or an art dealer and have a face to face conversation, and while this still happens today, now it’s also about digital communications. People are increasingly using these new ways of communicating, they are more open to just having a look at websites, they even use social media, like Instagram.

I don’t think people would necessarily say that an expert opinion is something that counts more than anything else, and I think that used to be the case. You used to say that there’s a particular scholar or an expert who would really be the person with an expert opinion and the ability to judge a work and the purchase or inclusion of that work in an exhibition would very much depend on that person. I think that’s not necessarily the case any more.

LUX: Is that a good thing?
Aeneas Bastian: I think it’s just the way that the world has changed. It has become more open in many ways, and I do think, in the end, that this is a good development. We are not limiting ourselves any longer to an art world centred in Europe and the United States, seeing men rather than women as experts, or looking at European artists all the time and forgetting about artists from other places in the world.

Exterior of Bastian art gallery in Mayfair, London

BASTIAN Gallery, 8 Davis Street, Mayfair, London. Photo by Luke Walker

Portrait of Paloma Picasso by artist Andy Warhol

Paloma Picasso by Andy Warhol ca. 1983 © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Licensed by DACS, London. Courtesy BASTIAN, London

LUX: How important is it for artists, whether alive or dead, to be shown and supported by public galleries as well as commercial?
Aeneas Bastian: I am deeply convinced that it can have a tremendous impact, of course we are art dealers too, but we really understand understand the significance of public and non-commercial exhibitions. I think a talented artist only shown by commercial galleries may be one day more or less forgotten if there’s no public recognition. If the works are not part of museum collections, then the artist may disappear.

LUX: Finally, can you reveal anything about the other exhibitions you’ve got planned for London?
Aeneas Bastian: I’m certain we will have an exhibition of Emil Nolde, one of the German expressionists and a prominent German artists of the generation of Kirchner and Beckmann who is regarded as one of the most influential 20th century artists in Germany. He’s not unknown in the UK, but I think his work really deserves to be seen.

BASTIAN Gallery’s inaugural London exhibition ‘Andy Warhol: Polaroid Pictures’ runs until 13 April 2019. For more information visit: bastian-gallery.com

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