The art market is full of personalities, but dealers and gallerists often seem little more than names when the market gets covered in print. In a new series, Apollo asks art dealers to introduce themselves and their businesses.
Tell us a bit about the history of your business
The gallery was founded in 1979 by my father, Amedeo Montanari. I took over the gallery from him, not long after his death in 2007. Initially Left Bank, the gallery is now on rue de Miromesnil, close to Place Beauvau.
What are your specialist fields?
European antique picture frames from the 16th to the 20th century, with a predilection for the Italian Renaissance frames that my father loved so much.
What’s the most exciting work you’re currently offering?
A rare pair of large Roman ‘Salvator Rosa’ parcel-gilt frames, c.1750.
What’s been your greatest triumph as a dealer?
The recent framing of a picture for the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
And your greatest professional regret?
To be unable to show my purchases to my father.
How has the market in your field changed since you started dealing?
I think that the antique frame market is stable and clients remain generally conservative in their choices. Italian Renaissance cassetta frames are still highly prized, and we have seen more and more demand for framing contemporary works with antique frames.
Do you collect yourself? And in the same field as you deal?
Yes, minute antique frames only, pieces that I can hold in my hand!
Which work have you been sorriest to part with?
An amazing mid 16th-century Tuscan frame that was one of my father’s preferred, but we must be aware that we are the legatees of the works just for a short while.
If you weren’t an art dealer, what would you be?
An art dealer’s cat, otherwise at a dealer’s that owns the cosy Lalanne’s Mouton de Laine!