The nationwide lockdown has not made things easy for the 2020 art calendar. As covered in The Net Gallery’s article on the impact of COVID-19 on London art events, many of the events we look forward to each year have had to be rescheduled or cancelled entirely. Unwilling to cancel the events they work so hard to put on each year, some organisers have been finding creative ways to carry on despite the current restrictions.
The 35th annual London Original Print Fair, for example, was due to take place at the Royal Academy of Arts this May but has been relocated to the virtual world. LOPF Online launched on Friday 1st May at www.londonoriginalprintfair.com and will run throughout May.
Hosting 51 of the best print dealers, galleries and publishers of the world, LOPF Online aims to provide a resource for collectors across the globe and to showcase the very best prints on the market. We asked representatives from six London-based galleries taking part to tell us about favourite pieces they’ve chosen to exhibit.
Osborne Samuel Gallery
LOPF Stand 14
Christopher Richard Wynne NEVINSON – Returning to the Trenches, 1916
Signed and dated lower right from the edition of 75
Ref: Black 9
15.2 x 20.4 cm plate size (6 x 8 in)
Gordon Samuel of Osborne Samuel Ltd selected CRW Nevinson’s Returning to the Trenches as one of his highlights.
“One of the most important works is this drypoint print by CRW Nevinson, Returning to the Trenches, 1916. It is undeniably one of the great masterpieces of British printmaking and indeed avant-garde British art in any medium during the early part of the 20th century, in the midst of the Great War…
“During his service he’d been particularly struck by the dense column of French soldiers or ‘poilus’ as they were called, marching in their distinctive uniforms with hats, capes and raised bayonets up to the Front Line and almost certain death. The print is imbued with the motion of the purposeful troops marching from left to right expressing the dynamic motion of a human war machine, whereas in the painting and pastel study, they march in the opposite direction because in the drypoint, the image is reversed when printed. The oil of the same subject, painted in 1914, is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
“Nevinson’s work didn’t glorify the destruction caused by this first mechanized war… Instead, following his experiences as an ambulance driver and medical orderly, he portrayed the dehumanized columns of soldiers who were part of the great machine of modern warfare.”
The Osborne Samuel Gallery was set to run an exhibition from April to early May titled Impressions of War and Peace: Nash and Nevinson. This exhibition was then to be transferred to their stand at the London Original Print Fair.
The exhibition was to be accompanied by a hardcopy catalogue that could not be printed. Instead the gallery has released a ‘virtual’ version that you can view by clicking here
LOPF Stand 48
Raymond Ray-Jones – Portrait of the Artist, c1910-1916
Signed in pencil. Second state, as published. Edition of 40.
32.8 x 24.5 cm (12.9 x 9.6 in)
Since 1986, Elizabeth Harvey-Lee has specialised in the sale of artists’ original etchings & engravings. Harvey-Lee selected Raymond Ray-Jones’ Portrait of the Artist for her LOPF Online ‘room’ as “one of the greatest etched self-portraits of the early 20th century”.
Ray-Jones was a student at the Royal College of Art from 1907-1910. His chalk drawn self-portrait is believed to have contributed to his success in receiving a British Institute Etching Scholarship, which enabled him to travel and continue his studies in Paris at the Academy Julian, in 1911. It is uncertain whether he made the etching at the same time, or later.
Frank Short dropped the plate when only three impressions had been printed, most likely in the year 1915. To remove the damage, the plate was cut down for printing the edition of 40.
LOPF Stand 45
David Shrigley – Make Your Mark, 2020
8 Colour Screenprint with a Varnish Overlay on Somerset Tub Sized 410gsm Paper
55 x 75 cm (21.7 x 30 in)
Jealous is a contemporary gallery based across two London locations, and a Fine Art Printing Studio known for high quality work with a hands on and experimental approach. Their most recent release, which coincided with the launch of LOPF Online, is David Shrigley’s Make Your Mark.
“Our reason for selecting this piece is because it is a new edition and shows our resilience as a print studio, as well as our persistence in getting art out to the world against the odds. It also carries an optimistic message which we think buyers will appreciate in these times.”
Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery
LOPF Stand 24
Andrew Mockett – Tipu’s Tiger, 2018
Screen printed woodcut, hand painted with calligraphy inks on Bockingford paper
Edition of 20
136 x 167 cm (53.5 x 65.7 in)
Established in 1988, the Rebecca Hossack Art Gallery has a long-standing commitment to printmaking. For them, contemporary printmaker Andrew Mockett’s Tipu’s Tiger encapsulates the lasting appeal of the London Original Print Fair.
“The process of British printmaker, Andrew Mockett, is highly impressive; each print is painstakingly created by screen printing woodcut blocks, before hand-painting them using calligraphy inks. Tipu’s Tiger is part of Mockett’s ‘Chap Books’ series, which reimagines popular eighteenth-century Chapbooks on a monumental scale, and with the vibrant colours of the screen-printer’s palette. We thought this contemporary work – rooted in British history – is very fitting for this long-standing fair.”
LOPF Stand 46
Duane Michals – Empty New York, 2018
Edition of 25
22.8 x 30 cm (9 x 11.8 in)
Enitharmon Editions, founded in 1967, is an independent British publisher specialising in artists’ books, artworks, and literary editions. One of their favourite works on show at LOPF Online is the artist book, Empty New York, by Duane Michals.
“We’ve chosen to showcase here the work of American photographer, Duane Michals, one of the most important and influential photographers of the last 100 years. His work, Empty New York, reproduces a suite of photographs Michals began in 1964 of New York City. He depicts the city in a tantalisingly unfamiliar guise, virtually empty of inhabitants at dawn or dusk. In deeply evocative black-and-white images he depicted storefronts and interiors; deserted stations, subway cars, funfairs and arcades; derelict markets, vacant theatres and diners.
“In 2020, in the light of the Covid-19 outbreak that has virtually shutdown New York City, his work takes on an even more poignant note, which none of us could have foreseen.”
Peter Harrington Gallery
LOPF Stand 31
Egon SCHIELE – Mädchen. Girl., 1918
Crayon lithograph printed in black on cream rag paper
Edition of 125. With the ‘Egon Schiele 1914’ signature stamp to the verso upper left.
40 x 54 cm (15.7 x 21.3 in)
Our final Selection comes from Peter Harrington Gallery, which specialises in original prints across all mediums, spanning the late 1900s to the present day. They feel that Egon Schiele’s Mädchen. Girl. is particularly relevant at this point in history.
“In this work, Schiele gives us a solitary woman resting her head on a pillow. The subject cuts a lonely figure and depicts the expressive, often contorted body lines that are characteristic of much of his work. Although we chose this print before the UK was placed into lockdown on account of the Covid 19 pandemic, we feel this piece will resonate with many at this time.
“Schiele and his pregnant wife Edith themselves succumbed to the last major pandemic, which became known as the Spanish flu, in 1918. Schiele died just three days after his wife. He was only 28 years old.”