Masterpiece London has had its majority stake (67.5 percent) acquired by MCH Group, the parent company of Art Basel. Masterpiece London’s three founders, Harry Apter, Simon Philips and Harry Van der Hoorn, maintain the remaining shares in the company and will continue to sit on the board alongside board advisor, Ruth Kennedy.
The young art fair offers antiquities and rare books through to contemporary artworks under the helm of managing director Lucie Kitchener and fair chairman Philip Hewat-Jaboor, and marks MCH Group’s first foray outside of modern and contemporary artworks. The move, overseen by MCH Group chief executive René Kamm will encourage mutual growth – Masterpiece has announced plans to expand to the US, Asia and the Middle East, and MCH’s involvement brings marketing expertise. “While we have great knowledge of the London market, MCH will bring an international perspective,” Kitchener told The Art Newspaper of MCH’s desire to be involved with the Masterpiece brand. MCH Group meanwhile released a statement reading, “With the integration of Masterpiece London, MCH Group is further expanding its already strong position in the key global collectors’ markets. Presenting the finest works of art from antiquity to the present day, and with a unique focus on cross-collecting, Masterpiece London ideally complements MCH’s collector events portfolio with Art Basel (in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong), the Design & Regional Art Fairs and the newly launched Grand Basel for exclusive automobiles, which opened in Basel in 2018 [sic].”
MCH will adjust its organisational structuring to improve corporate strategy, which involves the inclusion of Masterpiece as one of its four pillars of its Global Collector Events Strategy alongside the three existing Art Basel fairs, the MCH Design and Regional Art Fairs (including Art Dusseldorf and the India Art Fair) and its car fair, Grand Basel. Masterpiece “unites collector groups from different sectors and holds great development potential as it can be staged at additional locations in the USA, Asia and the Middle East,” MCH stated. Masterpiece London echoed the sentiment, with Hewat-Jaboor indicating there is an increasing demand for cross-period events.
While expansions plans are still being finalised, Masterpiece London and MCH Group assert that the integrity and DNA of their individual ventures will remain intact, and Masterpiece London will continue to take place at the Royal Hospital Chelsea every 28 June-4 July.