Colin Gleadell explains how Philippe Meaille amassed a collection of 800 works from the Art & Language group of conceptual artists. In the process, he shows how a dearth of supply can lead a movement to become invisible. Though that seems to be about to change:
Few examples come on to the market because the collectors who first bought the work did not do so for speculative reasons, and also because there have not been enough high prices to entice collectors to sell. The highest auction price to date was in 2011 when a painting by Art & Language entitled Incident in a Museum from 1986 sold for $110,500. Meaille didn’t buy it because he already owned two examples from the same series. Most of Meaille’s acquisitions have been made privately by tracking down collections through the galleries that first showed their work.
Meanwhile in London, the Lisson Gallery will have an Art & Language show in November, while Tate Britain is planning an exhibition of British conceptual art in 2016 in which Art & Language will play a lead role. Tate has also been building its collection of their works and last year made three important additions.
As Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts, Meaille’s curator who has been managing director of the Lisson Gallery and a partner of the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, says: “This is the last undeveloped area of the post-war market. Abstract Expressionism, Pop art and Minimalism have all gone through the roof. Early conceptual art has not. Yet.”
Art & Language: The forgotten back in the frame (Telegraph)