Founded in Bologna in 1986 on the initiative of Enzo Savoia, Bottegantica is a gallery specializing in 19th- and 20th-century Italian paintings. In 2010, the gallery opened a new location in the heart of Milan, in Via Manzoni 45, to which a second exhibition space was added in 2015. Bottegantica has rediscovered extraordinary masterpieces, such as the Saltimbanco con violino by Antonio Mancini; The Summer Stroll by Giovanni Boldini; Un angolo di Place de la Concorde a Parigi by Giuseppe De Nittis; Place Pigalle by Federico Zandomeneghi; Il parco di Villa Borghese by Giacomo Balla and Omaggio a Seurat by Massimo Campigli.
The gallery provides advice to public and private institutions, as well as collectors and art lovers eager to create their own collection. In addition to its normal commercial activity, Bottegantica offers a rich program of exhibitions dedicated to the most important artists and movements of the 19th and 20th centuries in Italy, on the occasion of which catalogs edited by leading scholars in the field are published. Bottegantica is regularly present at prestigious fairs, such as TEFAF Maastricht, TEFAF New York, Florence Biennale, Masterpiece London, Paris Biennale, London Art Week and Flashback.
“The collector with a capital “C” is always a source of inspiration and stimulus for an attentive gallerist.”
Enzo Savoia. Courtesy Bottegantica. Photo: Blow Up di Stefano Martelli, Crevalcore
In conversation with Enzo Savoia, Bottegantica
How did your career in art begin?
The first years were an uphill climb. I spent a lot of time travelling throughout Europe looking for works of art. I remember this period full of affection and pride. My training ground combined antiquarian districts, antiquarian markets and the most important museums in France, Belgium and England. Knowing French and English was an advantage for building a gallery with international ambitions.
When did your gallery open?
My mother, Matilde Conti, opened Bottegantica in Bologna in 1986. I was always at her side, right from the start. Her genuine love for art and collecting were my greatest inspiration. Four years later, we opened a second gallery in Bologna. Then came a big change: Bottegantica opened two new spaces in the middle of Milan, the first in 2010 and the second in 2012.
Talk to us about the gallery’s various locations.
Bottegantica currently has two exhibition spaces in Milan, in the courtyard of Palazzo Borromeo d’Adda, at via Manzoni 45. One of them was previously the location of the historic Galleria del Naviglio. And so it’s a courtyard where you breathe in a meeting between past and future. Last year, in honour of that historic gallery, we opened up the space to the public with an exhibition on the great Italian artists of the twentieth century.
How has the art market changed since you opened your gallery?
From 1986 to today, computers and the internet have radically changed the art market. Everyone in the field can use data in real time. Artists’ values through databases of auction results and the digital format of art catalogues once impossible to obtain bring new stimuli but also new attention. It is a world where you have to always be “young”.
Something important that you learned from a collector?
The collector with a capital “C” is always a source of inspiration and stimulus for an attentive gallerist. My gallery is indebted to the collectors whose collections we have helped build over the years. My education, however, began with my father, a tireless, meticulous manager: he taught me to set daily goals, but always thinking about the market in terms of the medium- and long-term.