A Slice of History: Touring a Quadreria at Sperone Westwater

“If you have to work as a dealer through the years by thinking of the commerce only, it can be one of the most squalid activities,” Gian Enzo Sperone told Gallerist on a Tuesday afternoon last week. We were standing on the fourth floor of the sleek Norman Foster-designed tower on the Bowery that houses his contemporary art gallery, Sperone Westwater. “This,” he said, gesturing at the figurative paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries on the walls, “gives us three-quarter nobility.” As it happens, Mr. Sperone, an Italian in his 70s, looks a bit like a nobleman in the old style: he has a thick but neatly groomed beard, and wears a tailored blue pinstripe jacket. Given that he is one of the most successful contemporary art dealers of the past half-century, showing artists like Bruce Nauman, William Wegman and Tom Sachs with Angela Westwater, his business partner since the 1970s, this show, “A Picture Gallery in the Italian Tradition of the Quadreria (1750-1850),” seemed a little out of place.
Read More