London Art Fair 2024 in Review
A Spotlight on Prints & Editions

Advert image for the London Art Fair 2024© London Art Fair 2024
Joe Syer

Joe Syer, Co-Founder & Specialist[email protected]

Interested in buying or selling
an artwork?

Browse artworks

Market Reports

The art market has officially begun to whip into action for 2024, with auctions ensuing across the major houses and the first noteworthy fair of the calendar year: London Art Fair. The 2024 fair emerged as a dynamic fusion of tradition and modernity, marking a pivotal shift in the focus of the art market at large. For the first time, it dedicated an entire section exclusively to prints and editions: a clear nod to burgeoning demand and growing appreciation for this segment in the market. Boasting an array of prints and originals from the postwar period to the über contemporary, the fair seamlessly showcased how prints and editions are becoming an indispensable component of contemporary collections.

The 2024 London Art Fair proved fertile ground for disruptive narratives while retaining the tradition of the event, set against the backdrop of an art market ripe for evolution. Punctuating the typical booths of established gallerists and dealers were elements of great innovation, particularly in the upper level of the fair. This disruptive atmosphere, symptomatic of a wider lethargy with the traditional mechanisms of the art market, pushed against the conservatism which has long shaped it. As in previous years, the Encounters section of the fair is heavily subsidised, supporting emerging talent and providing smaller galleries with exposure and access to an audience of budding and experienced collectors alike. A particular triumph of this year’s fair is the aptly-titled Platform segment, guest-curated by Gemma Rolls-Bentley. Bringing together works championing queer love and life, Bentley addresses the intense cultural divides of our time against a pastel pink backdrop: “At a time when LGBTQI+ life is increasingly under threat in the UK and globally, Rolls-Bentley calls on the words of queer ancestors as she brings together art that reflects the resilience, beauty, and passion of queer love and life.”

A dynamic fusion of tradition and modernity, the 2024 London Art Fair caters to an art market that is increasingly conducted online and based on secondary sales of household names.

The Ascendancy of Prints & Editions: Evolving Trends and Opportunities

In the main arena of the fair, a blend of tradition and contemporary flair was evident. Established British gallerists and dealers showcased an eclectic mix of modern and ultra contemporary works. However, a noticeable trend was the inclusion of prints and editions within their collections - as well as the segment of the show dedicated solely to editions - reflecting the sector’s growing appeal. This strategic inclusion underscored the market’s evolving appetite for prints and editions, bridging the gap between established art-forms and emerging market trends.

Sarah Monk, the fair’s director, highlighted that introducing prints and editions was primarily aimed at nurturing new collectors. In her words, prints provide a more accessible entry-point in terms of price, making them ideal for those beginning an art collection via the fair. However, the presence of prints by blue-chip artists like Bridget Riley, David Hockney, and Andy Warhol - with prices ranging from <£5,000-£300,000 - indicated a deeper value. These works cater to new and seasoned collectors alike, a duality many gallerists and dealers at this year’s fair have enthusiastically embraced.

A painting by Marie Elisabeth Merlin depicting a scene of people outside in bright, neon coloursTin Man Art / © Marie Elisabeth Merlin

Highlights from the 2024 London Art Fair

Amongst exciting offerings from emerging artists and prints priced as modestly as £300, the 2024 fair presented a plethora of opportunities for budding collectors - something the fair has aimed to deliver since its inception. For more well-versed collectors, a host of originals and exceptionally covetable prints were offered throughout. Crucially, the inclusion of household names in the blue-chip category highlights an ongoing trend for secondary sales - rather than investing in emerging artists with little to no sale history.

Here are the highlights from the fair:

David Hockney Etchings at Gerrish Fine Art

Within the subversive Platform segment of the fair, Rolls-Bentley platforms Gerrish Fine Art and their neat collection of David Hockney etchings. Depicting scenes of queer intimacy through the simplicity of etched black ink on white paper, these works have particular impact when exhibited together like this. The inclusion of Hockney in this segment of the fair is testament not only to his significance in queer artistry, but also the greater trend in the market for his earlier etchings that we saw develop throughout 2023.

Two black and white figure studies by Keith HaringHidden Gallery / Two Figure Studies by Keith Haring

Rare Keith Haring Figures at Hidden Gallery

Amongst Hidden’s extensive offerings of major Post War & Contemporary editioned works, two small Keith Haring studies shone through. These two studies - which should really be bought as a pair - are a rare instance in which Haring’s cartoonish figures are represented in isolation and in monochrome. The viewer can clearly delineate Haring’s creative process in these studies, with faint lines alluding to the energetic movement so intrinsic to Haring’s work.

“One of the lovely things about editions is that they are an affordable option for some collectors, and a starting point to get some of the household names on your wall.”
Adrian Hill

Opportunities in Prints & Editions at Adrian Hill

Within dealer Adrian Hill’s small booth is a selection of original and editioned works, from renowned blue-chip like Chris Levine, L. S. Lowry, and Hockney. As Hill explains, editions are “an affordable option for some collectors, and a starting point to get some of the household names on your wall.”

“We mainly focus on Modern British art. In and amongst that world, you have to have a Bridget Riley. The reason I have this one print alongside all of these original works on paper is because she is such an important name.”
Simon Shore

Exhibiting the Best of British Art at Stow Art House

Though tucked away in an upstairs corner of the fair, Stow Art House brings together an exceptional array of Modern British original works on paper. A particular gem is a Henry Moore work on paper which features studies of his iconic sculpted figures in muted colours, which Simon Shore reveals to be the result of ink transferring from the back of the paper when he turns the frame around. Amongst other treasures like an original Tracey Emin ink on paper, a bold Michael Craig Martin and an original Lowry is one print: a Bridget Riley print titled Between The Two. Though Shore’s primary focus is on original works on paper, he explains that he had to include this colourful print because Riley is “such an important name.”

A photograph of an artwork by Bridget Riley depicting colourful straight vertical lines against a graph paper background.Julian Page / 4 Colours, R,Y,B,G. 9 Whites © Bridget Riley 1983

Bridget Riley at Julian Page

Riley was an extremely popular presence at this year’s fair, with numerous gallerists touting her prints: from the monochromatic Fragment prints to her delicately coloured Waves. The piece-de-resistance of Riley’s at this year’s fair was - undeniable - an original gouache on graph paper work presented by Julian Page. The work, 4 Colours, R,Y,B,G. 9 Whites lays bare Riley’s graphic and mathematical approach. Set against graph paper, the work reveals the technical process underpinning Riley’s Op Art, which is scrutinously mapped in order to play with the viewer’s perception.

The Crown Jewel: Andy Warhol’s Queen Elizabeth II at Tanya Baxter Contemporary

The most impressive of the editioned works at the London Art Fair is a rare-to-market Trial Proof of Andy Warhol’s Queen Elizabeth II of The United Kingdom from his Reigning Queens series. This unusual colourway - with an aubergine background, and the late Queen’s crown and necklace delineated in lime green - is quite unlike the others in the main edition, which typically feature colourful collaged blocks in the background. The inclusion of this Trial Proof speaks to the surge in demand for special editioned proof prints we witnessed in the Warhol market in 2023, and suggests that this trend is likely to continue through 2024 as collectors seek these editioned works which are akin to originals in their rarity and uniqueness.

Addressing the Intersection of Art and Tech

The 2024 fair also addresses the increasing significance of technology in the wider art market, a topic underscored by a panel event at the fair: AI - What is it and How is it Impacting the Art Market? Although digital art and NFTs were omitted from the fair itself, the inclusion of discourse around AI and tech reflects the broader art market’s ongoing digital migration.

The emphasis upon technology and AI underlines a significant shift occurring in the art market, gradually transforming the outdated mode of trading art through traditional venues. Increasingly, collectors and investors are turning to digital platforms - like our own at MyArtBroker - for accessible market insights, transparent valuations, and speedier transactions. This shift is not just about convenience, but also access to comprehensive and data-driven analysis of the market, which was previously limited to a select few.

Acknowledging the Art Historical and Market Significance of Prints & Editions

With an entire segment of the fair now dedicated solely to prints and many gallerists weaving editioned works into their offerings, prints are clearly in the market spotlight as we enter 2024. Offering a unique blend of tangibility, scarcity, and historical significance, prints have great appeal for their potential value growth and their status as the only truly comparable segment of the art market. The increasing prevalence of prints and editions at this fair - something we also witnessed at Frieze 2023 - underscore their unique ability to bridge accessibility for new collectors, with investment potential for seasoned enthusiasts. The London Art Fair thus served not only as a platform for showcasing diverse artistic talent old and new, but also as a reflection of the evolving dynamics in art collection and investment trends in 2024.

Buy and sell artworks