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This year again Frieze London was buzzing with crowds of local and international collectors with major galleries reporting a spur of six-figure sales. The new works by young artists were in high demand reflecting a surge in prices at auction houses world-wide.

Across the Regents Park, Frieze Masters was celebrating its 10th birthday this year.

Over the years Masters has become more international both in variety of works offered and the exhibitors but while the show tries to bring lesser-known artists to the fore; its emphasis is inevitably on the tried and trusted.

Critically or aesthetically Old Masters’ market may sometime be perceived as old-fashioned taste, but they tend to hold their value over the years so buying becomes more about safeguarding of your investment rather than a huge gains or equally possible losses in the contemporary market.

Two paintings by Francis Bacon were among the most expensive works offered this year – Study of the Human Body – Figure in Movement (1982) from Marlborough Gallery. Priced at $30m, was the most expensive work at the fair with disclosed price. The painting shows a contorted naked male torso wearing cricket leg pads, that according to the artist made the figure look more real.  And if your budget couldn’t stretch that for – Seated Figure on a Couch (1959) – was available for a mere snip at $15m.

Showcasing other real gems like a painting by the Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi and her collaborators, Frieze Masters was racier and more inspiring than this year’s rather dull Frieze London.

There were stands selling bronze armour, Greek and Egyptian antiquities, the Dutch tableaus depicting the Bosch-like Flemish nightmares and pageants… oh, and an actual dinosaur and a meteorite! At every turn you could feast your eyes on a Pissarro or a wall of Freuds or some awesome Giacomettis.

Perhaps that was because in the contemporary fair, the dealers and collectors all seem too preoccupied chasing to cash on the newest, ultra-contemporary art that often lacks substance and originality.

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