Hanging on a shoestring

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The Independent Culture
If you thought that buying art is only for the privileged few, think again. The Affordable Art Company, now in its sixth year, today unveils a huge selection of top quality works to suit practically every taste - from net-curtain conservatism to the purposefully bizarre.

But a bazaar is what this show is not. This is no Mayfair art boot sale either and the work has not merely been thrown together. All of it comes from the hallowed stock rooms of a handful of London's top galleries including Gimpel Fils, Redfern Gallery, England and Co, Raab Boukamel Gallery, Annely Juda and Marlborough Fine Art as well as the host gallery, Connaught Brown. Hung salon-style, one painting technique collides happily with another, a landscape next to a portrait, an abstract hard by a figurative work. The initial impression is one of chaos and confusion. But strangely this method of hanging ensures that viewers home in on what pleases them almost immediately.

"The exhibition is an important introduction to any new collector in the art market," says Anthony Brown, ebullient director of Connaught Brown. "The works in the Affordable Art Company have been carefully chosen and any buyer can expect a level of quality that is not always associated with a low-budget exhibition."

Be safe and choose a Henry Moore lithograph or a Shani Rhys James oil on gesso (Turning Head, above) for pounds 1,200, or a Barry Flanagan etching at pounds 650. Or strike out and acquire the hilarious work of Dave White or the beautiful, hypnotic paintings of David Jones for much less. Both are relative newcomers to the art scene. The art world and especially its market has almost always been exclusive and purposefully prohibitive. The Affordable Art Company exists to redress the balance a little and ensure that a few would-be Von Thyssens get a chance to buy a quality piece to hang next to that Athena poster.

ROBIN DUTT

Prices from pounds 50 to pounds 2,500 at Connaught Brown, 2 Albermarle St, London W1 (0171-408 0362), weekdays 10am-7pm, Sat & Sun 11am-4pm to 17 Mar

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