First it was Masterpiece, now the summer edition of the Art & Antiques Fair Olympia has been cancelled, though the event is expected to return for its winter edition on 31 October.
The fair’s director Mary Claire Boyd tells The Art Newspaper that “escalating costs” meant that the summer event “just didn’t have the strength of commitment that we needed to have to go ahead this year”.
Though largely reliant on British dealers, before the pandemic the fair always had an element of international exhibitors, mainly from Europe but also from Asia and the US. Boyd says Covid-19 and Brexit have both played a part in the dwindling number of dealers taking part—both local and global.
“It was a very hard decision to make because the fair has been around for so long,” Boyd says, noting that this year would have marked the event’s 50th anniversary. “We have been delighted with what we have achieved, presenting a wide range of art and antiques to our audiences.”
Meanwhile, Boyd says the Winter Art & Antiques Fair “has good support” and so is expected to run alongside the Spirit of Christmas Fair (30 October-5 November).
As for the art market’s traditional summer season in London, Boyd says there are now question marks hanging over it. As she puts it: “We have been a part of the landscape for so long, suddenly the peg is taken out of the ground—and what does that look like?”