The Society for the History of Collecting 

are pleased to invite you on

Thursday 30 March at 7pm (CET); 6pm (GMT)

from a Zoom lecture delivered by 

Virginia Napoleone on the topic of

Dealers with taste: the art market in Rome 1880-1905

The lecture will present a summary of mostly unpublished archival research focussing on Stefano Bardini’s network in Rome between 1880 and 1905. An analytical interpretation of more than 3000 documents including letters, invoices, address books and more, which offers an interesting point of view on the art market in Rome, its actors and the topography involved in the circulation of artworks and antiquities before a proper art protection Italian legislation got in place. 

Spotlights on different generations of art dealers, such as Alessandro Castellani (1823-1883), Attilio Simonetti (1843-1925) and Alfredo Barsanti (1877-1946), will demonstrate how the role of merchants, connoisseurs and amateurs were fascinatingly interchangeable within this context. Developing their personal interests, while experiencing the conflict between the public need to regulate the fast growing global art market and the desire to recognize a universal stylistic primacy for Italian culture, these characters contributed to place Rome on the radar of the most prominent international art collectors during the Gilded age and beyond.

At the same time we can see how in 25 years of trading art in Rome dealers shifted from a highly personal and entrepreneurial business model, to one that reflected more and more the global art market, becoming modern businessmen with taste. 

Speaker’s biography:

Virginia Napoleone completed her PhD entitled Bardini, Simonetti and the art dealers in Rome between 1880 and 1905, in 2020. Her interest in the art market began more than 10 years ago and grew constantly during her curatorial experiences at the National Gallery in London (2011-2013), at the Frick Collection (2014), and during studies and publications (2016-2022) presented at Palazzo Davanzati (2016), Fondazione Federico Zeri (2017), CAA Conference (2018), Villa Bardini (2022), among others. Her expertise in the history of collecting, turned into a real passion for the global art market resulting in the most recent entrepreneurial venture to develop a digital marketplace for art, antiques and historical design.

Members and non-members can register for the event using the below link.

Image Credit: Augusto Alberici to Stefano Bardini, Rome 18 October 1903, detail. Archivio Storico Eredità Bardini,Florence

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