The Galerie Canesso is primarily focused on artists born or active in Italy between the Renaissance and the eighteenth century. Its selection of works, mostly unpublished, ranges from genre painting to historical subjects, with special emphasis on portraits and still lifes. The Gallery’s institutional clients include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, the Musée du Louvre, the Musée Fabre, Montpellier, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The Galerie Canesso also caters to a passionate and demanding international private clientele.
Initially located in Paris in Rue Rossini (in the Drouot district), the Gallery moved to a larger space in 2005, in Rue Laffitte (9th arrondissement). In 2021 Maurizio Canesso – a native of Lombardy – launched a new gallery in Via Borgonuovo 24, Milan.
La serenissima profana
“One of the aspects I really like about my work is being able to present to the public masterpieces that would otherwise be hard to access because they belong to private collections.”
Maurizio Canesso, Courtesy Galleria Canesso
In conversation with Maurizio Canesso, Galleria Canesso
Does being a gallerist in Italy differ in some way from being a gallerist in other countries? Is there a Made in Italy aspect to your work? What distinguishes the Italian art scene?
Needless to say, even today, Italy is still home to an unparalleled number of masterpieces. Galleria Canesso’s business mainly revolves around Italian painters or those who worked in Italy between the Renaissance and eighteenth century, and this country is naturally at the heart of my artistic interests. Here, there is an extraordinary cultural humus: many of my scientific and academic reference points are here.
What do you predict for the future of the art system in the sector in which you work? What is the biggest challenge you’ll be facing?
At one time, it the desire to represent a certain territory or period in order to find the guiding thread in a collection. In a way it was easier to single out the right pieces to put on offer. Today, collecting is freer, based on aesthetic taste and intellectual and emotional sensitivity. In my work, a deep understanding of the client is of growing importance, in order to be able to seek out the works that could interest him.
What value does the art exhibited in galleries offer to contemporary society? What role does a gallerist play in Italy today?
It’s crucial to promote the art in which one is specialized. The galleries create a dynamic exhibition network parallel to that of the public institutions. One of the aspects I really like about my work is being able to present to the public masterpieces that would otherwise be hard to access because they belong to private collections. The paintings in the gallery are scrutinized by specialists, and create opportunities for study and an exchange of opinions and knowledge.
What is your background?
I first became interested in the Old Masters in my teens, on seeing a great number of masterpieces published in an encyclopedia that I loved to browse: I could never have imagined being able to buy an original. I believed that all the paintings from that period were hanging on the walls of museums or historic houses. While studying economics in Milan I began working for an antique dealer in Varese. I was twenty-one years old when I bought my first painting.