The definitive guide to the world's top art fairs

Art fairs are a great opportunity for the collector - a chance to see the world's leading dealers, artists and auction houses gathered in one prestigious location.

But which fair is right for you?

Paul Fraser Collectibles makes life a little simpler with our pick of the world's top art fairs.

Where to go for contemporary art

Frieze London
When: October 15-18, 2014
Where: Regent's Park, London

Each October, the world's contemporary art collecting elite gather in London.

The fair takes place over four days, with works on offer from over 1,000 of the world's leading artists. In addition, there's a series of unique and often critically acclaimed artist commissions on display, and a series of talks, panel discussions and lectures from the foremost experts in their field.

Located in a "bespoke structure" in Regent's Park, the fair maintains a quintessentially British air while displaying some of the most cutting-edge art in the world.

Art Basel
When: June 18-21, 2015
Where: Basel, Switzerland

Art Basel 2014 was as cutting edge as ever. Image: Courtesy of Art Basel

This is the one to aim for if you are already a big player in the art collecting world. Art Basel has been running since 1970, and is widely considered the world's foremost contemporary and modern art fair.

With three annual shows in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong, Art Basel includes 300 of the leading galleries, displaying just about every artistic medium.

An added bonus for the elite collectors in attendance is the Art Basel VIP service, which is a global network for VIPs that can help with every aspect of ones visit.

Where to go for old masters

Master Paintings Week London
When: July 
Where: London

Baldassare de Caro's A Spotted Hound Resting by a Tree in a Wooded Landscape was offered for sale by Rafael Valls at the 2014 event 

One of the key events on the summer collecting calendar, Master Paintings Week sees 20 leading galleries and three top auction houses vying for the attention of the top old masters buyers.

Held in galleries throughout London's prestigious Mayfair and St James's, each holds a special exhibition or event to celebrate old master artworks. The week incorporates sculpture, painting and drawing, giving a plethora of opportunities.

Some of the most famous artworks cross the block, and records often tumble as excitement reaches fever pitch towards the end of the week.

Master Drawings New York
When: January 24-31 2015
Where: New York


Held in collaboration with Master Paintings London, the New York event is the across-the-pond equivalent, but instead focuses on works on paper.

It coincides with a spate of old master auctions across the city, as well as the Winter Antiques Show, with dealers from the US as well as Europe all appearing.

The event initially started as a walkthrough exhibition, but now attracts some of the world's top collectors.

Where to go for impressionist & modern art

Impressionist Normandy
When: April 16-September 26, 2016

This festival of over 300 events takes place in the home of impressionist art, Normandy. The inspiration behind some of the best works by Monet, Pissarro, Manet and Boudin, the French region held its first event in 2010.

Now in its third year, the biennial festival is centred on Monet's famous Rouen, and showcases some of the finest masterpieces, as well as contemporary art inspired by the impressionist masters, and a variety of events, talks and concerts.

With all the major galleries in France involved, the exhibits are some of the best in the world.

Impressionist and Modern Art Week
When: November 2015
Where: New York

Less of an event than a string of auctions with interspersed exhibits, Impressionist and Modern Art Week in New York sees all the top auction houses (Christie's, Sotheby's, Bonhams, Phillips etc) gathering the finest works in the genre for sale to those with the biggest budgets.

Everything from Picassos to Monets will cross the block, with an inevitable showdown between Christie's and Sotheby's for the highest selling lot of the week.

And with such big money coming to town, New York's host of galleries won't fail to put their best on display.

Another week of impressionist auctions will follow in May, while London sees its own week of auctions in June and February.

Where to go for Asian art

Hong Kong Autumn Auction Season
When: October
Where: Hong Kong

If you can't get enough of Asian art, you'll be like a kid in a candy store at the autumn auction season in Hong Kong.

All the top auction houses, galleries and museums descend on Hong Kong and this is one of the major auction series of the collecting year, with some of the biggest sales taking place and records breaking faster than a dropped Ming vase.

While focusing on Chinese art and ceramics, the sales also incorporate southeast Asian art, contemporary Asian art, as well as a selection of western art on offer to Asian buyers. Watches, jewellery and other collector favourites also cross the block.

With all the major auction houses keen to tighten their grips on the Asian market, the autumn season sets the pace for sales year round.

Asia Week New York
When: March 13-21, 2015
Where: New York

A repeat of the autumn auctions but tailored to a western market, New York's Asia Week is designed to cater to even the most discerning aficionado.

With 47 dealers presenting "museum-quality" exhibitions in 2014, highlights include courses in Asian art from Christie's and specially-guided tours of the city's museums.

Just browsing…

TEFAF Maastricht
When: March 2015
Where: The Netherlands

Dickinson was offering Van Gogh's The Potato Diggers (right) for sale at the 2012 event

The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) takes place annually and is among the leading art fairs in the world, with 275 galleries arriving from across the globe.

Focusing on older works of art, it also incorporates antiques, jewellery and 20th century design, making it an Aladdin's cave for the dedicated collector.

It also provides one of the safest places to buy, with 175 international experts examining every piece of art in the fair for quality, authenticity and condition.

Affordable Art Fairs 
When: Year round
Where: Worldwide

These shows have been a big hit among collectors and non-collectors since appearing just a few years back. Self-described as "the friendliest art fair", the shows offer thousands of pieces from both established and budding artists; it's the ultimate place to spot a "blue-chip" artist of the future.

Three events are held in the UK, two of which are in London and the third in Bristol. The success of the shows has seen new additions in Seattle, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome, Milan, Hamburg, Stockholm, Singapore and Hong Kong.

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