After 60 years of happy residence in Mayfair’s Clifford Street, Maas Gallery is re-locating to the fresh pastures of St James’. In an interview with Flora McEvedy, Rupert Maas of Antiques Road Show fame, looks to the future.
FM: So Rupert, why the move?
RM: It was a case of not seeing eye-to-eye with our landlord, I’m afraid. They could have been more, well ….how shall I put this – flexible? After sixty years, I don’t think they actually thought we would leave…
FM: And will it be a terrible wrench?
RM: Yes, hard to leave our friends who run Morris’ café next door and the scholarly chaps at Sam Fogg’s on the corner. But since the re-development, Cork Street has changed beyond recognition. Not many of the old players left, just Browse & Darby, Flowers and Redfern. That re-development was not designed with art dealers in mind, as the interiors are all glass – nowhere to hang paintings!
FM: As an art dealer, how do you feel Mayfair compares with St. James?
RM: To my mind, the dividing line is Piccadilly. North of Piccadilly tends to be flashier, South is the traditional heartland of old-guard. Mayfair galleries are more commercial, their marketing more assertive. Halcyon, Maddox, Castle Fine Art are all on trend but it’s not my kind of trend…These days, St James’ is a better fit for Maas gallery. And obviously, great to be in such close proximity to Rafi Valls, Martin Beisley, Derek Johns and Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert.
FM: And will your new space in Duke Street re-create the Victorian feel of the old gallery?
RM: In fact, we have opted for a different feel in the new space. Our aim is to present Victorian paintings in an updated, contemporary setting. We have a bigger, lighter space now with white walls which will show off the paintings to their best advantage.
FM: How has Maas gallery weathered the pandemic?
RM: Pretty well, given my aversion for presenting art online! I am not a great believer in the virtual presentation of paintings; in digital images, the colours are often all wrong and it’s impossible to get a sense of a painting’s size and impact from a thumbnail on a computer screen. We’ve sold enough but essentially I have kept my powder dry and have some wonderful pieces for the opening at Duke Street, a fantastic work by Lord Leighton for example.
FM: And will 2021 see the physical return of the major art fairs?
RM: Personally, I think that this year the fairs will struggle. Yes, some will go ahead like TEFAF in September but the real question is – will people actually be in a mood to visit fairs? Without the crowds, it’s not worth it. Come 2022 confidence will hopefully have fully returned, and I will definitely be exhibiting at TEFAF. This year, the jury’s still out….
FM: Thank you Rupert and good luck!!
SET FAIR FOR 2021?
In the old days, the art world circus claimed to suffer from ‘fairtigue’ but these days, we are all looking forward to the return of the analogue art fair. The first to return was Palm Beach, which took place in Florida last month and was by all accounts a success. With many variables, however, nothing feels definite including London’s Masterpiece, scheduled to go ahead but still laced with an element of uncertainty. Here are some of most high-profile fairs set to go ahead this year:
29 th March – 3 rd April
The 14 th edition of this relatively new fair, yet to release a list of
ART BASEL, HONG KONG
19 th – 23 rd May
In the diary but will that translate as actually happening in reality?
24 th – 29 th June
Opening its doors only three days after lockdown ends here in
England, the organisers have high hopes of visitors being in good
9 th – 12 th September
Scheduled to run in Somerset House, this highly respected fair is
sibling to PHOTO PARIS (see below)
11 th -19 th September
The jewel in the European art fair crown, on an impressive scale.
23 rd – 26 th September
The prestigious Swiss edition of this world-wide brand.
FRIEZE + FRIEZE MASTERS
13 th – 17 th October, Regent’s Park
This was the fair that launched a thousand imitations from its first
incarnation in 2003 and is still out front leading the pack.
11 th – 17 th October
The Pavilion of Art and Design (PAD) sets up shop in Berkley
Square; a world of glamorous objects to deck out glamorous
Here’s hoping that these fairs go ahead and that once again, we are given the opportunity to suffer from fairtigue!
We See Hope
We See Hope is our chosen corporate charity. They do great work in equatorial Africa, indeed Tim went on a trip to see them at work in Malawi last year. They raise a significant portion of the annual cost of their work through a wonderful classic motoring event Hope Classic Rally which was cancelled last year and this summer too is in the balance, however they have come up with this great idea which you might enjoy. Very easy to bid and every £ raised will make a huge difference to children in Africa.
Head over to the link and place your bids!