Contemporary Art Market: Birthday celebration of names at low prices

Geraldine Norman
Sunday 27 June 1993 23:02

RED DOTS have spread like measles over the labels of the 25th Anniversary Exhibition at the New Grafton Gallery in Barnes, south- west London. David Wolfers, the proprietor, now 76, knows the kind of painting many middle-class collectors like: inexpensive, figurative but seasoned with a dash of modernism and, if possible, signed by an established name.

Mary Fedden, a past president of the Royal West of England Academy, is a perfect example. Her still- life paintings owe a debt to Braque in their formal geometry and a debt to Matisse in their blazing colour. But she insists on keeping them cheap. The three on show were priced at pounds 800 to pounds 950 and all sold.

Mr Wolfers has a remarkable record for spotting winners. Among the long list of artists he has given their first shows are: Elizabeth Frink, Peter Greenham, Henry Lamb, Cedric Morris, John Piper, Keith Vaughan and Carel Weight. The current show includes two small beach scenes ( pounds 350 each) by Sarah Spencer, who graduated from the Royal Academy Schools in 1991.

He is having two exhibitions to celebrate his 25th anniversary, both titled Artists of Today and Tomorrow. The first, which is mostly devoted to his older and more famous artists, runs until Saturday; the second runs from 8 July to 28 August.

Sir Roger de Grey, president of the Royal Academy, is represented in the show by La Troublade ( pounds 3,500), which depicts coastline near his summer home in Bordeaux, France. His predecessor, Sir Hugh Casson, is showing two watercolours of the Greek islands, Ferry Departure, Samos and Boat Park, Aegina ( pounds 450 each).

The most expensive painting in the show is a still life of flowers in a vase by Sir Cedric Morris. It dates from 1943 and costs pounds 10,000.

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