New Old Master dealers

March 5 2018

COLNAGHI - TEFAF 2017 from Colnaghi on Vimeo.

Video: Tefaf, Colnaghi's 2017 stand

In the FT, Gareth Harris discusses the next generation of Old Master dealers, the shining stars of whom are the new owners of Colnaghi,Jorge Coll and Nicolás Cortés:

Coll and Cortés made their names selling Spanish Golden Age sculpture and painting to an audience inspired by the groundbreaking National Gallery 2009-10 exhibition The Sacred Made Real. They understood the appeal to a contemporary audience of the strong images of Ribera, Zurburán and El Greco, and recognised that for younger collectors familiar with prices in the contemporary art market, these works looked remarkably good value.

Since taking over Colnaghi and expanding their repertoire they have continued, in Coll’s words, “to try to open the eyes of collectors”. They host events, including “The Price Is Right” dinners during Old Master sales, to demystify the market. Their Tefaf Maastricht stand is dramatically lit — “after all, many of these works were made for churches” — and last year sculptures were hung by fishing wire as if flying. Coll believes that, “It is the role of the dealer to create a completely different value from the auctions — through research, publication, new discoveries.”

But as well as appealing to the confirmed collector, Coll, who is on the board of trustees at Tefaf, is determined also to create a new generation of gallery-goers. He has set up the not-for-profit Colnaghi Foundation, to which the gallery has donated the entire Colnaghi archive. The Foundation publishes new scholarship and has also announced a series of masterclasses, in collaboration with the Wallace Collection, which were advertised by a video starring an ingénue in a pink mackintosh. They will be attended by a group of young paying individuals, drawn from an international short list of applications, but will also then be available to watch on their website.

“We want to create art lovers: whoever loves art will not be able to stop themselves collecting,” says Coll. “And loving art is about knowledge. It is not cash and carry. You have to make a journey.”

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