Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Monday, 20 October 2008 17:48 UK

Art lovers snap up free artwork


One lucky art lover picks the piece they want to take home

Art lovers have snapped up 100,000 worth of free artworks by some of the UK's leading and emerging contemporary artists at a fair in London.

Some people queued and camped out for two nights to get their hands on work by artists like Gavin Turk and Stella Vine at the Free Art Fair.

The 40 pieces available, which were allocated by a ballot system, were all gone within an hour and 20 minutes.

The most valuable piece given away was worth 15,000.

Interest in the Free Art Fair was so great, its website crashed as people clamoured to log on.

Founder Jasper Joffe said the idea was to provide an antidote to the hype that surrounded the Damien Hirst's recent record-breaking sale at Sotheby's, which raised 111m.

'Amazing opportunity'

Stella Vine
Work by artists such as Stella Vine were given away
"It was really brilliant night," Joffe told the BBC News website.

"It wasn't pushy like the Christmas sales, it was more like a festival. There was a good atmosphere and even the people who didn't get anything were just happy to have taken part."

This was the Free Art Fair's second year and some collectors, like fashion student Selam Yohans, were repeat visitors.

After acquiring a Stuart Cumberland painting last year, she had returned with the hope of getting another.

"I ended up getting a Chantal Joffe collage instead as I fell in love with it and there was another girl who really wanted the Stuart Cumberland," she told the BBC News website.

"I plan on keeping it and putting it in my living room - I have no interest in selling it," she added.

"The idea of the Free Art Fair is great for someone like me who spent two nights sleeping out to get the chance to get their hands on paintings that we would never have be able to get - it's an amazing opportunity."

Joffe said he "might" run the fair again next year, but if he does, will add to the idea in some way.

Art worth 100,000 up for grabs
19 Oct 08 |  Arts & Culture

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