‘I was born to make this collection’.
Gian Enzo Sperone has been one of the world’s most important gallery owners and one of the most influential personalities in international contemporary art for sixty years. Born in 1939, he opened his first gallery in Turin in 1964 and brought the new great American art to Italy. Right from the start, he was a follower of the most innovative avant-garde movements, detached from the past, preferring contemporary languages and trends. He frequented the circles of European and American intellectuals and with Konrad Fischer inaugurated venues in Italy and abroad, including the current New York venue, the Sperone Westwater Gallery, designed by the architect Norman Foster.
Since the 1970s Sperone has been shuttling between Italy and the States, contributing to cultural and commercial exchanges, promoting the most interesting artists and collaborating with major institutions, galleries and foundations. He is among the proponents of the international success of Arte Povera and Transavantgarde.
Parallel to his well-known activity as a contemporary art gallerist, Sperone devoted himself to collecting. With unconventional curiosity and taste, he built up an endless and contradictory collection of works and artefacts from different periods, from the 14th century to the present day, and from numerous countries, from Europe to Asia.
The Mart presents, for the first time all together, 400 works from Gian Enzo Sperone’s private collection, some of which have never been presented in Italian museums. In Rovereto, a unique collection subverts the rules of contemporary museography in an exhibition that mixes styles, times, materials and forms. The great masters of the 20th century, such as Giacomo Balla, Pablo Picasso, Lucio Fontana, Andy Warhol, are placed side by side with masterpieces of ancient art, from Roman archaeology to 14th-century gold backgrounds, passing through the works of Iacopino del Conte, Sofonisba Anguissola, Bernardo Strozzi, Anton Raphael Mengs, and Francesco Hayez.
Consistent with Gian Enzo Sperone’s collection, which recounts a boundless passion for art in all its forms, the exhibition is omnivorous, in an exercise of taste in which apparent contradictions are submerged.