Mariolina Bassetti is quoted in this International Herald Tribune story on the rise of Italian conceptual art comparing Lucio Fontana’s prices to Warhol’s:
Long underappreciated outside their own country, Italy’s pre- and postwar conceptualists are now the focus of a rapid re-evaluation in the marketplace, in no small measure because of Mr. Casamonti. Like his father (who founded the gallery on Via Tornabuoni in Florence in 1981), and his grandfather (an upholsterer who in the 1940s recovered artists’ tattered furniture for payment in kind), Mr. Casamonti has been an avid collector and champion of the conceptualists’ work for decades.
That passion has turned his Paris gallery, on Avenue Matignon, into a beacon of the Right Bank art quarter, alongside the likes of Larry Gagosian and Guy Pieters. (Besides Florence and Paris, Tornabuoni has showrooms in five other cities, focusing more broadly on 20th-century art.)
The Fontana show at the Paris gallery was followed last year by major solo retrospectives of Alighiero Boetti and Mario Ceroli, leading exponents of the Arte Povera movement. In a group show that closed Tuesday, monochrome works by Fontana, the minimalist Enrico Castellani and others were set against work by non-Italian artists like Anish Kapoor and Laurent Grasso. A Castellani exhibition in the autumn will be followed by one for the abstract painter and sculptor Alberto Burri. […]
At the FIAC art fair in Paris in October, for example, Mr. Casamonti sold an “Aerei” airplane piece by Boetti for more than €2.5 million, or about $3.5 million. In the Paris gallery, which is now the flagship of the business, he says he has works by Pomodoro, Castellani, Boetti and Fontana worth anywhere from €50,000 to €3.5 million each. (He has more than 40 Fontanas, the largest collection in the world.)
Postwar Italian Artists Find Their Niche (International Herald Tribune/New York Times)