Camden Town’s Hidden Gallery brings a range of Modern and Contemporary artists to the London Original Print Fair (LOPF).
During the event, which runs from March 30-April 2 at Somerset House, the gallery showcases a range of works by highly familiar hands, such as Henry Moore, David Shrigley and Roy Lichtenstein, such as his Modern Head #1, pictured here.
It also brings a Marylin Monroe head offset lithograph in colours, Marilyn Invitation (Castelli Graphics), which was printed in 1981, just four years before the fair launched.
Back then, the fair was a slightly different event comprising a clutch of fewer than 20 dealers all specialising in Old Master and historic prints. Today it hosts more than 40 exhibitors, most of whom come armed with recent pieces. At this staging new work is set to be launched by Harland Miller, Gavin Turk, Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin and other major current names.
But at its heart it remains the same as it always was: a celebration of original works on paper attractive on their own merits and appealing for relatively affordability.
With 38 stagings to its name, the LOPF is now the longest-running specialist art fair in London (British Art Fair launched in 1988 and the London Art Fair in 1989).
Director Helen Rosslyn is determined that, despite the challenges familiar to all fair organisers these days, LOPF has many years ahead.
Prices to stage events are rising, and Rosslyn tells ATG it has been a tricky year – or three – for dealers.
“We have slightly fewer exhibitors this year because lots of people have been finding it difficult”, she says. “We have definitely taken that into consideration and we have to be forward looking when it comes to the fair.”
Some of those who have not returned are the clutch of more than 10 international dealers who stood before Brexit. For them, VAT and escalating shipping costs pose a challenge on top of regulatory red tape.
Rosslyn is keen to tempt more back, but welcomes some overseas presence, with Kunstverket of Oslo standing.
Meanwhile, several newcomers to this edition include Muban Educational Trust specialising in Contemporary Chinese woodblock printmaking, and fellow Contemporary specialist Counter Editions from Margate. Also joining is a new venture, Vistavaka Fine Art, mounting an exhibition dedicated to 18th century French prints.
Other exhibitors include Emanuel von Baeyer, Gwen Hughes Fine Art, Elizabeth Harvey-Lee, Hanga Ten and Sims Reed Gallery.
Among the significant losses this year is founding member Andrew Edmunds who died last year and will be remembered in a special display (see below left).
For many years the event was held at the Royal Academy. Following lockdown, scheduling at the institution meant that LOPF moved to Somerset House, but Rosslyn says they “couldn’t rule out” going back to Piccadilly. In the meantime, the fair is fostering its relationship with the Academicians thanks to an exhibition of prints by members curated by artist Stephen Chambers.
Also on offer is an extensive talks programme with artists such as Anita Klein and Tom Hammick as well as dealers and scholars.
Rosslyn adds: “We’ve been taking the long view when it comes to running the fair. That’s why we’ve kept going. We don’t want to fold. We want to bring a voice to prints.”
Andrew Edmunds Tribute exhibition
A special tribute exhibition celebrating the life of the late Andrew Edmunds is part of this year’s London Original Print Fair. Curated by his son Milo Edmunds and art historian Tim Clayton, it will feature the dealer and restauranteur’s collection of James Gillray prints, including works never before exhibited and rare impressions. It is hoped that the collection will find a single buyer.
Edmunds was a founding member of the event and exhibited there for more than 30 years. Fair director Helen Rosslyn said: “He epitomises a real print collector. Every time he bought a new, better edition of a print he would sell the less good one. We are looking to pay tribute to one of our founding dealers.”