Earlier this month, a whirlwind trip to New York saw the Cultural Comms team return to Park Avenue Armory for the 10th edition of the TEFAF New York art fair, following hot-on-the-heels of Frieze the previous week, writes Nina Plowman.

A buzzy Collectors’ Preview Day with Ruinart Champagne drew the glitterati expected from the Upper East Side (thankfully, the capricious NYC weather had no influence over the event). Collectors came with intent - in consistency and volume. Sales and museum acquisitions from the fair were impressive. The energy in the room was magnetic.

Key highlights include multiple sales of artworks by Pablo Picasso, which were made throughout the fair - Waddington Custot sold a drawing offered at $890,000; Almine Rech sold a work on paper for $400,000-500,000, and a painting for $1,800,000 – $2,000,000. Meanwhile, two beautiful Gustav Klimt drawings were sold by Winerrokither & Kohlbacher, whilst New York dealer, David Tunick, Inc. placed several works, including Edvard Munch’s ‘Anxiety’ (1894).

After completely selling out its first hang of works by Joan Snyder, Thaddaeus Ropac (whose gallery outpost stands next door to our Mayfair ‘home’, The Arts Club) continued to see incredible sales by the American artist. It was good to see other London gallerists thriving. Antiquities dealer Charles Ede made a dozen sales, including a Roman Cinerary Urn. Osborne Samuel and Offer Waterman reported a good fair.

David Zwirner presented works from George Morandi and George Ohr, receiving active interest from American Museums with various institutional conversations from “all over” (the gallery partner’s words) taking place with private clients and institutions for collection placement.

Unlike its ‘big sister’, TEFAF Maastricht, the New York fair is an intimate experience, set partially in the historic, ‘homey’, wood-panelled rooms of the Armoury, with the remaining fair - housing 90 international dealers - presented in chic stand designs in the main exhibition space. There was enthusiasm aplenty and the spectrum of age-groups as diverse as the fair’s expansive offering of genres: a good example of how to excite the next generation collector and create ongoing appeal.

The topic of this 'next generation' was a key talking point during the event. Almost all of our clients across the luxury and art worlds has at some point discussed their interest in connecting with ‘next generation’ audiences and collectors. In a bid to break down any perceived barriers between the interest and expertise (of art) and its audience with the gallerist (the conduit), it was enjoyable seeing the TEFAF New York fair working with multi-disciplined curator Adam Charlap on a series of highlights and an insider's guide aimed at encouraging visitors to collect within their respective areas of interest.

The question is how we continuously engage and activate our audiences across sectors and generations. Our The Treasure House Fair client recently noted that a new collector may be in their 50s with families, children and newfound disposable income. So it’s about continually improving the approach to connection.

Superficial though it felt, given the vastness, depth and bounteousness of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, our trip crossed over with the opening of the Costume Institute’s spring exhibition - 'Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’ - a thoughtful and reflective curation, which followed The Met Gala. The interpretation of fashion beyond the visual and into the multi-sensory was simply stunning. Flowers, foliage, fish and shells - the precious nature around us - have inspired so many of the great fashion designers in history from House of Worth to Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabanna to Mary Katranzou. It was a privilege to be among the first to see the exhibition and an instant reminder on where the appeal comes from. By using nature to activate our emotions, the curation was tear-jerking at points.

And just like that… we hot-footed it a block or two back to the Park Avenue Armoury where collectors at all varying levels continued to buzz and buy. Congratulations, TEFAF NY. See you next year!