It was in the splendid setting of Piazza Santo Stefano in Bologna that Maurizio Nobile began his career as an antique dealer in 1987, opening a second branch in Paris in 2010.
The galleries’ specialisms are painting, drawing and sculpture by Italian masters active between the end of the 15th and the first half of the 20th century. A member of the Italian Antiquarians Association, the gallery can boast its participation in the most important Italian and international events dedicated to art and antiques: the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato in Florence, the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris, Paris Tableau, Paris Fine Art, Salon du Dessin in Paris, London Art Week and TEFAF in Maastricht.
In addition to these events, the two galleries organize an intense program of conferences and exhibitions, accompanied by catalogs drawn up in close collaboration with the most important art experts and historians. The scrupulous attention to research, to the conservation and quality of the works is the main reason for the trust and esteem that Maurizio Nobile enjoys with collectors, experts and curators of Italian and international museums.
“I believe that a gallerist’s activity works best if he can sense what aspects of the art of the past are coming back in style.”
In conversation with – Maurizio Nobile, Maurizio Nobile Fine Art
How did your path in art begin?
My interest in the art of the past was first sparked in the rooms of my grandmother’s house in an opulent, decadent Palermo, where I spent my summers as a child. When I was 18, I moved to Rome, where I happened to meet a dealer who took me to the homes of a few of the city’s most important families. Seeing their collections reawakened my love for art, which developed into a passion and subject of study.
Talk to us about the space you chose for your gallery and its location.
The gallery in Bologna, which is where everything started, is in the historic Palazzo Bovi Tacconi, which looks onto Piazza Santo Stefano – in my view, one of the most beautiful places in Italy. The interior of the gallery is complex and sometimes presents interesting challenges for the hangs, but there is really no better, or in a certain sense more versatile, place for displaying art, whether old or new.
Why did you choose this city?
Bologna is my town, and I know its pros and cons. I love the quality of life here and its geographic centrality, which makes it an important hub for business. However, when I felt the need to expand my activity to the international sphere, I immediately thought of Paris. The French capital has a long antiquarian tradition and holds a special place in my heart. That is where I first encountered international collecting culture.
What kind of art do you deal with?
I do not have a specific programme. I believe that a gallerist’s activity works best if he can sense what aspects of the art of the past are coming back in style. It’s a sensitivity that needs to be cultivated and that tries to see the object and the value that it can acquire as a carrier of cultural and aesthetic meaning close to the contemporary sensibility and hence something that can be enjoyed in the homes of clients and collectors.
How has the art market changed since you opened your gallery?
The rise of the internet has changed our work a great deal. The web has multiplied the information that people can access, but it has also undeniably taken away some of the allure of our work and sometimes that of the artwork. Seeing works of art mediated by the screen is often penalising for works in galleries. Unlike those in museums and in any case those that are well known, ones that have become timeless icons, they need to be seen, felt and experienced to express their aesthetic and artistic potential.