FRIEZE Art Fair Experience in London

Frieze Masters Preview today was buzzing, and when I left at 5 pm, they had already exceeded its visitor figures from last year.  Interest has not diminished after Brexit!  Foreign speaking were heard intently into their cell phones, Italians calling fellow Italians saying they 'must' come over to see it... and privatevisitors with partners and art advisers taking down lots of details.  

One completely different piece that caught my eye.  The Collector's Cabinet from Kunstkammer Georg Laue, Munich.  There are four photos attached and there is abookby Alvar Gonzalez-Palacio especially dedicated to this piece.  Below are the details and the price:  

Collector¹s Cabinet
with 48 Wax Reliefs by Caspar Hardy
Cologne, circa 1795
Cherry wood, brass marquetry, wax reliefs, height 225 cm, width 145 cm, depth 62 cm


Conceived as a collector¹s cabinet to house and display 48 wax reliefs by Caspar Bernhard Hardy (1729-1819), this unique secrétaire was made in ca 1795 by the cabinetmaker Theodor Commer (1773-1819), who trained in the Roentgen workshop in Neuwied. The intertwined letters JWN inlaid on the front refer to the collector who commissioned this extraordinary piece of furniture: Johann Wilhelm Neel (1744-1819), a canon from Cologne, who was, like so many amateurs of his time, a fervent admirer of Hardy. Known for his colourful wax reliefs depicting allegorical figures, Hardy was celebrated as one of the most important sculptors of his time.

Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who knew the artist personally and also collected his work, wrote the following about his reliefs: they deserve to be shown in a museum in Cologne for they clearly demonstrate that we are here in the city of Rubens, in the Lower Rhine, where colour has always dominated and exalted works of art. Clearly, Johann Wilhelm Neel also considered Hardy¹s wax sculptures worthy of a museum or at least a special display such as the secrétaire he commissioned for his own collection of waxes by Hardy.

The price:   EURO 750.000

By Gillian Craig, OTE European Associate based in London.