Eleanor and Anthony Wardle on their Fresh: Art Fair
PUBLISHED: 14:32 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:32 29 July 2019
Now launching their first show at Ascot Racecourse, we ask Fresh: Art Fair’s daughter and father team, Eleanor and Anthony Wardle, about Britain’s most successful new fair
Firstly, what is an art fair?
In a nutshell, it's a big exhibition where people can browse and buy art from a huge choice in one convenient place. In our case, it's mainly contemporary art, from 54 leading UK and European galleries, showing some 6,000 works by 600 artists. There'll be original prints and paintings, sculpture, glass and ceramics from £100 to £30,000. There'll be a very broad spectrum of genres, styles, subjects and media from emerging new talent, established professionals and Royal Academicians… Blake, Hockney, Hirst, Emin, Banksy and McLean will all be on show.
And it all takes place over three days in late September in the spectacular Grandstand Concourse at Ascot Racecourse. We're expecting at least 6,000 visitors. There's strictly no racing, just art… and coffee, wine, lunch, talks and artist demonstrations.
Because there are a lot of art fairs and they can look alike − they can be a bit predictable. We wanted to bring in galleries and art that people hadn't seen before and also introduce some new ideas.
For example, we are the first art fair in the world to partner with a fine art auction house. International Auctioneers Bonhams will again be with us to advise visitors on how to sell their pre-contemporary art and provide free valuations.
We are also the first art fair to include an Outdoor Sculpture Park. We launched the Park successfully at Cheltenham in 2018 with 90 sculptures from five specialist galleries. We plan to introduce one at Ascot in 2020.
How is Fresh: different?
Unlike most fairs in this area, we host galleries only, not individual artists. Artist fairs tend to be quite a bit smaller. With galleries, we can show the work of many more painters and sculptors, 600 or more, and, because they have been selected by leading galleries, our visitors can be confident they are looking at recognised talent. All our exhibitors are experts with their fingers on the pulse of the art market and more than happy to describe the merits of the work and the artist's background.
And you can talk to artists and watch them work… there will be at least seven artists demonstrating their talents over the weekend.
Unlike central London fairs, we're really easy to get to, less than 15 minutes from three motorways and with unlimited free parking. If you're planning to buy a painting or two it's handy to have the car with you. If you want to come by train, it's only a five-minute walk from Ascot station.
What's the secret of your success?
We'd love to know, although the quality of the work is vital and free parking helps a lot. One factor is that art lovers no longer have the time to shop around the high streets. With Fresh, they can see 54 leading art galleries in a couple of hours in one convenient place with a glass of wine in their hand.
The other major factor is the quality and variety of Fresh: exhibitors. There'll be Chelsea's Quantum Contemporary, Marylebone's Cube Gallery, Bristol's Lime Tree Gallery, Japanese Prints from Hanga Ten, and Doorway Gallery, Gormley's and Sol Art all from Dublin.
Fresh: Art Fair will be at Ascot Racecourse from 20-22 September 2019 with a Private View on the evening of the 19th. Fresh: is sponsored by St. James's Place Wealth Management and in partnership with Bonhams, Oxford's Ashmolean Museum and H R Owen Specialist Cars.
- What you can expect at the first Fresh: Art Fair at Ascot - With Fresh: Art Fair at Ascot fast approaching, we ask co-founder Anthony Wardle what we can expect