When it launched in 1995, the event was one of only a handful of such fine art-focused events held around London annually.
In recent years, however, it has had its work cut out, jockeying to secure a visitor base as alternative events have sprung up around the capital.
Cooper (also of BBC Bargain Hunt fame) took over the event from founder Caroline Penman in 2013, though it remains part of a division of Penman Fairs.
The event has retained its traditional structure and continues to host 35 modern and contemporary art galleries from around the UK at Chelsea Town Hall on the King’s Road. What’s changed in recent years, Cooper argues, is the standard of the objects offered.
“We’ve worked hard to push the standard of the fair up,” he tells ATG, explaining that resin sculptures and unsigned prints are among the objects no longer included at the fair. “It’s all about quality and the fair is now at a good level.”
Cooper stresses also that the size of the fair, coupled with the variety of objects on show, makes it both more manageable and more appealing for some collectors.
“The main thing with Chelsea is that it’s a small, intimate fair. The visitors don’t feel punch-drunk when they’re done walking down a single aisle.”
But, he adds, despite the boutique-feel visitors can still find works priced anywhere between £500 and £50,000.
This year, Cooper has agreed to having photographs at the fair in limited number.
That’s thanks in part to the fact that he feels it can afford to diversify now and in part to accommodate the fair’s theme: musicians of the 1960s and ’70s who were inspired by the King’s Road.
A special selling exhibition of works features musical legends such as the Sex Pistols, The Who and David Bowie. Sculptor Guy Portelli, who is taking a stand, will also unveil a new piece commemorating a more recent event: the first anniversary of Prince’s death.
Among the exhibitors showing this year are international modern art dealer James Kinmont Fine Art, Freya Mitton and Holland Murray Fine Art who are both bringing 20th century British art, and contemporary specialist Francis Iles Gallery.