June has arrived, and with it London will see an influx of international collectors, art professionals and aficionados flocking to this month’s veritable feast of art fairs, auctions and exhibitions. The first of the art fairs is Art Antiques London (12-18 June) returning for its fifth edition in Kensington Gardens. It is followed by Olympia International Art & Antiques that will move its dates to 19-28 June, in order to coincide with major Impressionist and Modern art auctions as well as Masterpiece London. The latter will open its door on 25 June, and after only four years is firmly established on the global art calendar. For those on the preview circuit, the excitement continues throughout London Art Week (3-10 July) in which 44 galleries and 3 auction houses will participate.
London’s modern and contemporary June sales are hotly anticipated following the sale of Picasso’s Women of Algiers as the most expensive painting ever to sell at auction - for $160m (£102.6m) at Christie's in New York last month. Here Picasso ceramics will be a focus, with Christie’s holding an auction dedicated to this genre in South Kensington on 25 June. Meanwhile Sotheby’s will offer ceramics from the collection of Marina Picasso, in their Impressionist and Modern art day sale of the same date.
Away from the commercial scene, there will be an array of events and exhibitions taking place at the capital’s art institutions. The season wouldn’t be complete without the Serpentine Summer Party, this time centred on a Pavilion design by Spanish architectural duo SelgasCano. Elsewhere Tate Britain will stage a major retrospective of Barbara Hepworth, the first in London since 1968, and Tate Modern have devoted an exhibition to abstract painter Agnes Martin. This is not to mention the RA’s annual Summer Exhibition, this year coordinated by Michael Craig-Martin.
If all this serious art appreciation leaves you feeling a little jaded, simply head to the Southbank for a whoosh down Carsten Holler’s helter skelters, as part of his first UK retrospective at the Hayward Gallery.