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Collectionism

Memorie di un mercante di quadri
Written in first person as anecdotes on his debut in the profession, the legendary art dealer’s memoirs conjure up the atmosphere of the now bygone world of Paris in the late 19th century, when the painters rejected by the Salon were gradually coming to the fore and the young Ambroise Vollard was taking his first steps. Having arrived in the capital to study law, he dropped out and began to haunt bookshops and markets, where he unearthed cheap prints and drawings that were to be his initial stock in trade. A ruthless businessman, he also had a priceless sense of which way the wind was blowing. He visited Manet’s widow and returned to home with an entire collection of the master’s drawings. He made friends with Renoir, Degas and above all Pissarro, who followed his advice. He looted the studios of Cézanne, Vlaminck, Derain and Picasso, and took a bold stance in the avant-garde market by exhibiting works by Van Gogh and Gauguin. His daring diversification, from painting to prints and books, also had an effect on the artists around him. Combining his longstanding passions for literature and graphic art, he became the publisher of deluxe art books illustrated by painters and exhibited together with paintings in the same shop on Rue Laffitte. The time was right for anyone with a gallery on the “street of paintings” and focal point for art dealers and collectors, where it was easy to run into artists like Matisse, Renoir, Degas, Redon, Apollinaire and Jarry. It was during unforgettable dinners often graced with such guests that Vollard used his keen ear to pick up every comment and capture the greatest artists of the age with extraordinary verve in vividly living dialogues and slices of life. While these are the true protagonists of his memoirs, those capable of reading between the lines will also form a precise image of Vollard himself, the picture dealer par excellence and unquestionably the most immortalized, as shown by the innumerable portraits executed by the painters of his entourage,some of which are reproduced in the book.  
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Memorie di un mercante di quadri

Ambroise Vollard

pages: 320 pages

Written in first person as anecdotes on his debut in the profession, the legendary art dealer’s memoirs conjure up the atmosphere of the now bygone world of Paris in the late 19th century, when the painters rejected by the Salon were gradually coming to the fore and the young Ambroise Vollard was taking his first steps. Having arrived in the ca
Breve storia della globalizzazione in arte
For at least a decade now, the Western art system has found itself faced in the international arena with new players who appear to want to play according to rules of their own making. The first inklings of change came in the 1980s, when art became a financial opportunity of global potential. Thanks to the use of more accessible languages, postmodern art appealed to increasingly vast audiences, prospering as it expanded onto new terrain: the soaring art market paved the way for the artwork becoming a status symbol, and a broadening of horizons to include countries like China, Russia and India, in search of recognition on the Western stage. The euphoria of that period, however, was soon dampened by the current climate of uncertainty, caused by the break-up of the old system and the declassing of its constituent parts – the intellectual component (the critics, who lent legitimacy to artistic practices) and the institutional component (the museums, which conserved the works for posterity). The current measure of success is the speculative spirit – in all senses – of the new players, who, with the ease of those used to wielding hefty amounts of capital, lay down the law in the closed circuit of gallery-collector-auction house-museum. Even artists, previously the system’s driving force, risk being reduced to the status of mere cogs in the machine. Well aware of the setting they operate in, they have acquiesced to the impoverishment brought about by globalisation: while in the past they sought to innovate, now they stick firmly to linguistic standards that are instantly recognisable in all corners of the globe. In this short work of global scope, which surveys the past in order to have insight into the complex transformations under way in the present, Marco Meneguzzo identifies the dividing line between before and after, namely between art as exclusive and elite and art as popular, globalised phenomenon, envisaging a future that wavers between a soft process of change in the art system and the conception of art itself, and a more apocalyptic scenario.
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Breve storia della globalizzazione in arte

(e delle sue conseguenze)

Marco Meneguzzo

pages: 176 pages

For at least a decade now, the Western art system has found itself faced in the international arena with new players who appear to want to play according to rules of their own making. The first inklings of change came in the 1980s, when art became a financial opportunity of global potential. Thanks to the use of more accessible languages, postmoder
Il piacere dell'arte
Like a virulent virus that spreads like wildfire, art collecting can lead those infected to authentic excesses like clearing out their homes to make room for works and spending entire fortunes through a longing for possession so strong as to become irresistible. What strikes the spark? A bent for financial speculation, pure intellectual delight or the desire to become someone by building up social prestige on the foundations of art. While there are many possible reasons and approaches, from militancy to passion, putting together a collection is in any case a pathway of self-knowledge and discovery. Il piacere dell’arte offers an overview of contemporary collecting in Italy, which has become an increasingly authoritative undertaking in recent times by virtue not only of the enterprise and initiative involved but also of the ever-greater planning that characterizes many collections. Starting from the fundamental historical background and an examination of the fertile terrain out of which outstanding figures like Giorgio Franchetti, Giuseppe Panza and Marcello Levi emerged and arriving at their contemporary counterparts, the book also seeks to identify the causes of the “lack of modernity” of Italian collecting, hampered by heritage restrictions and one of Europe’s highest rates of VAT. While these bureaucratic and fiscal impediments work on the one hand to obstruct dialogue with the institutions (unlike what happens across the Atlantic, where donations to museums are incentivized by tax relief), on the other they give rise to the strong development of private initiative and foster the opening of numerous foundations to the public. This is the most peculiar feature of the Italian panorama, a complex and multifaceted reality whose potential proves all the more interesting to examine by virtue of its social aspects and organic character.
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Il piacere dell'arte

Pratica e fenomenologia del collezionismo contemporaneo in Italia

Marianna Agliottone, Adriana Polveroni

pages: 264 pages

Like a virulent virus that spreads like wildfire, art collecting can lead those infected to authentic excesses like clearing out their homes to make room for works and spending entire fortunes through a longing for possession so strong as to become irresistible. What strikes the spark? A bent for financial speculation, pure intellectual delight or
Leo & C.
Leo Castelli insisted that he was not an art dealer but a gallery owner. For his artists he was a lot more: a patron of the arts. From the opening of his first gallery in 1957 to his death in 1999, Castelli dominated the cultural life of New York and elevated the status of the American artist, which came to dominate the international artistic panorama during those years. The figure of the multifaceted gallery owner was born with him. A businessman and tireless explorer in constant pursuit of new discoveries, he was ready to run risks and use the most effective commercial strategies in order to make his protégés known. Together with Ileana Sonnabend, his former wife and close ally, Castelli encouraged budding talents and championed their cause with museums. Through a vast network of international relations he reinvented the rules of the art market and revolutionized the artistic culture. The discovery of Jasper Johns, his “hero”, and the triumph of Robert Rauschenberg at the 1964 Venice Biennial were just two of his early successes followed by a host of other revelations – including Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist and Cy Twombly – that confirm his role as a creator of legends. But who was Leo Castelli, the man who waited fifty years to open his first gallery? A man of multiple identities is concealed behind the charisma of an affable, media-friendly European. Born in Trieste in 1907 to Jewish parents, he spent his first thirty years in major European cities such as Vienna, Milan, Budapest, Bucharest and Paris. His professional trajectory began with a daring flight to the New World to escape the dramatic political and social context of the Nazi racial laws and the horrors that were to follow. Annie Cohen-Solal embeds the roots of her biography in the distant past of the Castelli family, tracing their ancestors in the Tuscany of the Renaissance and reconstructing a history rife with persecutions, wars, breaks and upheavals that shows surprising similarities with the family’s more recent past and Leo’s own life. By an ironic twist of fate, a man who was always reticent about his Jewish identity found in the Jewish Museum, after the MoMA, the institution that was to consecrate him as a champion of the great American movements – from Pop Art to Conceptual Art – that are the formidable legacy of Leo Castelli.
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Leo & C.

Storia di Leo Castelli

Annie Cohen-Solal

pages: 464 pages

Leo Castelli insisted that he was not an art dealer but a gallery owner. For his artists he was a lot more: a patron of the arts. From the opening of his first gallery in 1957 to his death in 1999, Castelli dominated the cultural life of New York and elevated the status of the American artist, which came to dominate the international artistic pano

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