The old and the new(ish): Frieze Masters 2015 presents a plethora of classic works

Bartolome Esteban Murillo
This year's Frieze Masters offered a plethora of eclectic and beguiling objects from across the centuries, with less of the hustle and bustle of the main Frieze tent. Pictured: The Infant Christ and the Infant St. John the Baptist in wilderness, by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo c.1655–1660.
(Image credit: press)

As the more serene, stately and buttoned-up cousin of Frieze Art Fair (opens in new tab), this year's Frieze Masters (opens in new tab) offered a plethora of eclectic and beguiling objects from across the centuries, with less of the hustle and bustle of the main tent. To the untrained eye, there were lots of works that looked like more famous paintings — a portrait of Napoleon's coronation copied from the original by Jacques-Louis David and an anonymous German crucifixion scene that looked like it might have been a Rogier van der Weyden. Then there were the pieces that really were by who you thought they were by: a real Samuel Palmer watercolour, an oil painting by Esteban Murillo, a drawing by Egon Schiele and so on.

Another conceit for many of the fine booths at Masters was to mix the old with the new(ish), perhaps pitting Renaissance and Roman busts against a backdrop of subtle abstract waveforms in gouache by Bridget Riley — the whole enterprise being a collaboration between antique dealers Tomasso Brothers and contemporary gallerist Karsten Schubert. A New York gallery bringing Agnes Martin drawings shared space with a cabinet of historical curios including spooky mannequins and spiky rackets for a brutal looking ball game from 17th-century Italy called 'pallone'.

As always, in the aisles of an art fair the singular or solo presentations shone brightest, with Cuban painter Carmen Herrera's elegant geometric compositions charting five of the ten decades she has been on the Earth appearing to have landed from some other, futuristic planet. An amazing mixed collection of cubism adorned the stand of Simon Dickinson, while another London-based gallery showed an astonishing range of Richard Hamilton prints, going back to the 1940s. Now an annual fixture, the ambitious Helly Nahmad installation imagined an asylum as inhabited by the brutish French painter Jean Dubuffet, while a two-person show at the quirkily inventive Museum of Everything also included a secret cocktail bar behind the curtains to provide weary time-travellers with a bracing horseradish vodka — itself a strange combination of flavours that somehow combined to work wonders.

Frieze Art Fair

Masters is the more serene, stately and buttoned-up cousin of Frieze Art Fair. Pictured: Green Garden, by Carmen Herrera, 1950.

(Image credit: Courtesy Lisson Gallery)

The Virgin Suckling the Child

To the untrained eye, there were lots of works that looked like more famous paintings. Pictured: The Virgin Suckling the Child, by Defendente Ferrari, c. 1530.

(Image credit: Courtesy Sarti Gallery)

picture of Evening Church

Then there were the pieces that really were by who you thought they were by, such as a real Samuel Palmer. Pictured: Going to Evening Church, by Samuel Palmer, 1874.

(Image credit: Courtesy The Fine Art Society)

picture with mix of colour

Another conceit for many of the fine booths at Masters was to mix the old with the new(ish). Pictured: Yesterday's Sandwich (plate 46), by Boris Mikhailov, c.1966–1968.

(Image credit: Courtesy Sprovieri)

Noli Mi Tangere, by Fontana Workshop

Noli Mi Tangere, by Fontana Workshop, c.1560. 

(Image credit: Courtesy Bazaart Ltd)

wooden statue

Late Classic Dayak Ancestral Post, Borneo, 1474–1635.

(Image credit: Courtesy Bernard De Grunne)

Selbstbildnis mit steifem Hut

Selbstbildnis mit steifem Hut, by Max Beckmann, 1921.

(Image credit: Courtesy Simon Theobald)

Seated semi-nude with hat and purple stockings

Seated semi-nude with hat and purple stockings, by Egon Schiele, 1910.

(Image credit: Courtesy W_K, Wienerroither_Kohlbacher)

Head of E.O.W

Head of E.O.W, by Frank Auerbach, 1957.

(Image credit: Courtesy Marlborough Fine Art)

Cycladic art

Head of a stylized anthropomorphic statuette, Cycladic art, c.2500 BC.

(Image credit: TBC)

Snakes, Spiders and Caterpillars picture

Snakes, Spiders and Caterpillars contorted to spell the Artist's Name, by Jan van Kessel, 1657.

(Image credit: Courtesy Johnny van Haeften)

 Schlitten

Schlitten, by Joseph Beuys, 1969.

(Image credit: Courtesy Thomas Dane Gallery)

Keiichi Tanaami's painting

Doll B, by Keiichi Tanaami, 1969.

(Image credit: Courtesy Nanzuka)

painting of three girls

Les Trois Soeurs, by Léon Frédéric, 1896.

(Image credit: Courtesy Jack Kilgore)

Master of Petrarch’s Triumphs

St John on Patmos, Master of Petrarch’s Triumphs, c.1490–1500.

(Image credit: Courtesy Dr Jörn Günther Rare Books)

Wall Hanging

Untitled (Wall Hanging), by Melvin Edwards, 1982.

(Image credit: Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery)

Adam and Eve in Paradise

Adam and Eve in Paradise, by Roelant Savery, 1617.

(Image credit: Courtesy Salomon Lilian)

Surrealist Head

Surrealist Head, by Roy Lichtenstein, 1986.

(Image credit: Courtesy Castelli Gallery)

colourful Crystal

 Crystal, by Sam Gilliam, 1973.

(Image credit: Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery)

Returning from the Shin Yoshiwara by Moonlight

Returning from the Shin Yoshiwara by Moonlight, by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, c.1834.

(Image credit: Courtesy Sebastian Izzard LLC)

Langobardic relief

Langobardic relief.

(Image credit: courtesy of Sam Fogg)

Langobardic relief detail

Langobardic relief detail.

(Image credit: courtesy of Sam Fogg)

INFORMATION

Frieze Masters is on view until 18 October

ADDRESS

Frieze Masters
Regent’s Park
London

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