LOOKING SOUTH PRESS RELEASE
NEW YORK, Dec 19th – A major exhibition of Italian paintings will open at the 22 East 80th Street gallery of Otto Naumann Ltd. on January 6 and remain on view until February 15.
“LOOKING SOUTH: Three Centuries of Italian Paintings” will feature more than forty Renaissance and Baroque masterworks dating from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, including several important discoveries never before publicly exhibited.
According to Otto Naumann, “The rich history of the collecting of Italian Renaissance and Baroque painting in America has been explored in several recent books and exhibitions. This past September the Frick Collection sponsored a two-day conference “Going for Baroque; Americans Collect Italian Paintings of the 17th and 18th Centuries.” It was at this event that the idea for “Looking South” was born.”
Attending the conference were Otto Naumann and Robert Simon, both Old Master painting dealers with a passion for Italy and Italian art who began their careers as art historians. During the lunch break they lamented the fact that there had been no major commercial exhibition of Italian paintings in New York for many years – this despite a resurgent interest among collectors and museums for paintings of the period. They decided to combine their resources and expertise in order to mount “Looking South.”
The exhibited works range from portraits to still-lifes, from mythological subjects to mysterious allegories, from intimate devotional paintings to grand altarpieces. Paintings by some of the greatest names of Italian art will be featured, including Titian, Palma Vecchio, Ribera, Baglione, Crespi, Cavallino, Mattia Preti, Ceruti, and Bellotto. These have all been carefully conserved and meticulously researched, a process that draws on the academic backgrounds of the two organizers as well as their decades of experience in the connoisseurship of Old Master paintings.
Otto Naumann received his M.A. from Columbia in 1974 and his Ph.D. from Yale in 1979 and was a Professor of Art History at Boston University and the University of Delaware before leaving academe. His catalogue of the paintings of Frans van Mieris is the standard work on the artist; as a dealer he has handled works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, Rubens and Velazquez.
Robert Simon’s 1982 doctorate is from Columbia. He was a Research Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum and has published and lectured widely on Bronzino, the subject of his thesis, and numerous aspects of Italian painting. He was involved in the recent discovery of Leonardo da Vinci’s lost painting Salvator Mundi and is currently writing a book about its history and recovery.
Robert Simon adds that, “While Renaissance and Baroque art continues to attract enthusiastic audiences in museums, the exhibition hopes to highlight the availability of major works accessible to collectors who have become devotées of Italian painting.”
Among highlights in the exhibition will be a major painting by Titian, “St. Sebastian,” painted for his patron Federico Gonzaga, oil on canvas 74 ¾ by 37 ¾ inches, Giovanni Battista Beinaschi’s altarpiece the “Martyrdom of Saint Peter,” oil on canvas 116 ¼ x 76 inches, Bernardo Bellotto’s “Architectural Caprice with Self-portrait,” oil on canvas 61 ½ x 44 ¼ inches, and a spectacular “Still-Life with Musical Instrument” by Evaristo Baschenis, oil on canvas 38 x 57 1/7 inches.