Advice from a major Italian art collector

Collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Photo © Andrea Basile)

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo grew up with collectors, and started collecting pill boxes and American costume jewelry.  Now she buys contemporary art – plenty of it.  

Her collection has grown to around 1,500 pieces  since she started collecting in1992, plus another 3,000 photographs, both historic and contemporary.  Among the artists in her collection are Ian Cheng, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Cindy Sherman and many others.  Many of her pieces have been loaned to museums, municipalities and curators over the years. (See some of the art in the Re Rebaudengo collection in this article visiting her home in Turin. )

“To begin with my collection grew out of my friendships with artists who were approximately my age. I was interested in the way artists from my generation saw the world in which we were living,” she told Art Fund in 2018. Re Rebaudengo started collecting work after she graduated from Torino University, where she studied business and economics. Since then she has collaborated with shows stretching from New York to Shanghai to Venice.

She started and leads  a foundation to support living artists by commissioning their work.

Re Rebaudengo recently was interviewed, with two other major international art collectors, about the changes buffeting the art market, museums and artists. As part of that wide ranging interview, she gave emerging artists some valuable advice:

“It’s …not good for the artists to join a big gallery when they are too young, because when you’re in a small gallery, you can experiment, you can fail, you can grow. When you’re with a big gallery, you have to constantly prove that you are good,” she told ArtNet News.

The “big” galleries she refers to are mainly the global giants Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Pace or David Zwirner.  They are powerful; they collectively run 41 gallery spaces representing more than 300 artists.)

Her son Eugenio Re Rebaudengo  appreciates contemporary art and he developed Atuner, which curates art to sell online and at international pop up shows in “ambitious venues.”

His mother believes the pace of selling art moves faster today, compared to the leisurely pace earlier when she could discuss a piece with her art advisor. “Everything in the art market happens so quickly now,” Re Rebaudengo told ArtNet.  

Emerging artists who want to keep up will heed the wisdom from major international collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and others who value artists as well as their creations.

Mint uses art and photos with the creators’ permission. Thanks to photographer Andrea Basile for this photo.