Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The brainchild of Matthew Shotover and Amanda Sharp, co-founders of Frieze art magazine, the four-day fair, which ended on Monday, was housed in a 11,000 sq m marquee specially designed by architect David Adjaye. It showcased work from 124 of the world’s leading contemporary art dealers from 16 different countries.

With two thirds of these exhibitors based outside the UK and major American players such as Gagosian and Marian Goodman taking stands, the Frieze fair is clearly perceived by international dealers as an event with the potential to rival established contemporary fairs such as Art Basel and Art Cologne (which opens on October 29).

One of the main draws for international dealers is London’s rapidly growing community of younger collectors in their 30s and 40s. This audience was cleverly highlighted by the organisers with the announcement that the young London-based collector Candida Gertler had joined together with 22 of her peers to donate £100,000 to Tate Modern to spend at the fair.

Collaboration between public and private collections was further underlined at the fair by the presence of eight specially commissioned works, of which Klaus Weber’s liquid LSD fountain was easily the most memorable (or was it forgettable?).

“We were very keen to avoid setting up just another trade fair. We wanted this event to be organised from an editorial perspective,” announced Frieze magazine’s Amanda Sharp at a press conference. Sharp was keen to emphasise that however much – or little – happened in terms of sales, the Frieze Art Fair is a long-term project. “We’re very committed to this fair. It’s going to be an annual event. We’re going to be here next year and the year after that.”

The fact that more than 200 journalists turned up to the press conference was a telling indicator of the unprecedented levels of interest this stylish and innovative fair has generated.

“Oh yeah, there’s going to be masses of interest,” commented one fair-hardened dealer as he set up his stand. But as the pregnant silence that followed so eloquently implied, it will be how much of this interest that ultimately turns into hard sales that will determine whether the Frieze Art Fair is here to stay.