‘The world is opening, and it’s going to be an excellent moment for the city of Monaco,’ says Fabrizio Moretti. Last year’s Monaco Art Week went the way of, well, last year, and so gallerists like Moretti, who opened his Monegasque outpost in 2017, have been champing at the bit to welcome visitors back to their glamorous strip of the Riviera this summer. Moretti is hoping that collectors and sun-seekers alike will be enticed from across Europe – ‘taking the art as an excuse’, he says, ‘to enjoy one of the most beautiful locations in the world’.
That’s not to say that there has been any scrimping on the art. An integral part of Monaco Art Week has, in recent years, been Art Monte-Carlo – a blue-chip affair of 24 international galleries, including the likes of White Cube and Hauser & Wirth alongside Old Master dealers such as Dickinson and Robilant + Voena. But as Moretti suggests, beyond the walls of the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco Art Week offers a chance to stroll between the city’s own galleries and discover the best of what they have to offer.
Moretti himself will present a group of gold-ground tempera-on-panel paintings from the 14th and 15th centuries. Among them are three works by the little-known Master of The Demidoff Triptych – active in Emilia around the start of the 15th century – including a lively depiction of Saint Michael spearing the dragon; but the standout painting here is a recently rediscovered depiction of Christ as the Man of Sorrows, stigmata scarlet against the gold, by the trecento master Giovanni Baronzio (called Giovanni da Rimini).
Elsewhere, the Parisian auction house Artcurial follows up its inaugural ‘Monaco Sculptures’ show in 2019 with another treasure hunt. Among the 20th- and 21st-century sculptures scattered across the halls and casinos operated by the Société des Bains de Mer in the heart of the city is a late Moment de Bonheur by Baltasar Lobo, completed shortly before the Spanish artist’s death in 1993; there will also be a sale, and a display of small-scale works, at Artcurial’s Monaco gallery on Boulevard des Moulins.
Modern sculptors – among them Constantin Brancusi and Jacques Lipchitz – are also the focus at M.F. Toninelli, while Kamil Art Gallery hosts a display of recent works by the Swiss painter Eric Massholder, inspired by the notorious anarchist retreat of Monte Verità. Alongside its solo display of works by latter-day Op artist Vincenzo Marsiglia, NM Contemporary is hosting an exhibition in the garden of a private collector at Èze-Bord-deMer, with five Italian artists riffing on Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur L’herbe. Curated by Gaspare Luigi Marcone, it promises an opportunity for ‘conviviality and encounter’. Moretti, for his part, says that the events this year are above all ‘a chance for everyone to come together and have some fun’.
Monaco Art Week takes place from 13–18 July.
From the July/August 2021 issue of Apollo. Preview and subscribe here.