Creation of the first report entitled "How renowned is Italian art abroad?" Experts and artificial intelligence weigh in to compare the contemporary and international art systems
24 March 2022
- Italian art is highly visible: it is present in 61 permanent collections out of the 76 foreign museums examined, but 51 names occur as regards artists born after 1960
- Few names attract international attention: in terms of media coverage, out of 5 million articles analysed, Italian artists currently account for 7% of visibility, but this figure drops to 1.87% for those born after 1960
- The economic strength of the Italian system: Post-War artists hold their weight, while only ten artists born after 1960 brought in a total revenue of £1.7m at Christie's and £1.4m at Sotheby's.
- The cultural power of cities: Milan is the most avant-garde city in the Italian ecosystem (galleries, museums, cultural centres, foundations). Paris, Berlin and Los Angeles top the international ranking
Creating a system to enhance the value of young Italian contemporary artists
This is what emerges from the report by Barrilà, Broccardi, Marchesoni, Pirrelli and Sanesi, published by the firm of art and culture professionals, BBS-Lombard, with the support of ARTE Generali: 24 Italian curators were interviewed, and more than 230,000 artists, 30,000 museums and 3,600 cities were analysed through the use of artificial intelligence
The report was presented today at Palazzo Bonaparte in Rome with Dario Franceschini, Minister of Culture, and Marco Sesana, Country Manager and CEO of Generali Italy and Global Business Lines, with the technical organisation of Arthemisia
"It is essential to support Italian contemporary art and promote it internationally, especially following the difficulties experienced by the sector due to the pandemic. It is now a question of making a structural investment. The report presented today is important as it offers a snapshot of the data on contemporary artistic production in Italy, and this is a useful tool for monitoring, understanding and analysing changes in the sector." Said Dario Franceschini, Minister of Culture.
Marco Sesana, Country Manager and CEO of Generali Italy and Global Business Lines: "As partners in the lives of people and the community, we recognise the immense value of Italy's cultural and artistic heritage: it is a founding element of the country's identity, an engine that generates emotions capable of uniting people, and a decisive and strategic resource for young people and future generations. As confirmed by the investments envisaged by PNRR, art and culture are a decisive and strategic resource for recovery. This is why we are pleased to contribute to presenting this first report today, created with the aim of monitoring the visibility of Italian contemporary artists at an international level and mapping the contexts in which they work. As an insurer, our mission is to protect: we protect works of art with Arte Generali, the business unit dedicated to art collectors and museum institutions internationally by means of insurance solutions. We protect emotions, with Valore Cultura, the Generali Italy project that is committed to supporting art and culture, in order to make them accessible to an increasingly larger public audience. We will also reopen Palazzo Bonaparte to the community, in the spirit of the Valore Cultura program, which enhances the community and its territories.”
Rome. "How renowned is Italian art abroad?" by Silvia Anna Barrilà, Franco Broccardi, Maria Adelaide Marchesoni, Marilena Pirrelli and Irene Sanesi was presented today in Palazzo Bonaparte, in Rome. It was published by the firm of art and culture professionals, BBS-Lombard, with the support of ARTE Generali, which analyses the visibility of contemporary Italian art at an international level.
Creation of the first report on renowned Italian contemporary art abroad: current photography
The first edition of the report analyses the operation of the support system for the production of contemporary art in Italy. Intended as a first step towards in-depth studies to come, the objective of the study is to stimulate dialogue, set new goals and identify possibilities for integration into the international art system. It serves as an initial step towards a better understanding of the sector, and a networking tool for those involved. The study focuses on artists born after 1960, analysing the presence of their works in large institutional and commercial venues of international contemporary art over the last 10-20 years. The report is divided into two parts: the first contains a series of interviews with 24 curators and museum directors on the potential of the Italian art system, while the second provides a data analysis and maps the presence of Italian art abroad.
The responses to interviews with the 24 curators reveal the names that have captured international attention: this starts with Maurizio Cattelan, followed by Francesco Vezzoli, Monica Bonvicini, Enrico David, Paola Pivi, Tatiana Trouvé, Roberto Cuoghi, Rosa Barba. In addition to the quality of their work, respondents believe that the experience of studying and working abroad gives them visibility, and helps to build and consolidate a network of relationships with curators, galleries and museums.
Italian Contemporary art is clearly visible on the map of international museums. Out of 76 foreign museums examined, Italian art is present in 61 permanent collections, but specifically, 51 names occur when considering artists born after 1960. An interesting fact emerges from the analysis of the largest events, such as the Venice Biennale and Documenta. The number of Italian contemporary artists exhibited has increased in editions directed by curators who have in-depth knowledge of the national art scene. Between 2007 and 2019 the presence of Italians in the international exhibitions in Venice was approximately 5%, while this year it rose to 12%. The same goes for Documenta, which recorded an average of 3% between 1987 and 2022, while in the 1992 and 2012 editions it reached nearly 7%. In the three editions of 18 international art exhibitions, the number of Italians only totalled 29.
As for international galleries, out of 831 operators considered, 135 represent a total of 137 Italian artists of the post-1960 generation, or 16.2% of the galleries represent at least one contemporary Italian artist. However, galleries founded by Italians abroad or with a historical relationship with Italy invest the most in Italian contemporary art.
In terms of media coverage, Articker's analysis of 5 million articles examined in 2021 shows that Italian artists currently represent 7% of the global coverage on art of each period, ranking fifth after American, Chinese, English and French artists, but before the Germans, Spaniards, Dutch and Japanese. Great historical artists and Maurizio Cattelan held their weight in this percentage. This falls to 1.9% if only contemporaries are considered.
The evidence of the economic strength of the Italian system is reflected in auction results. While Italian Sales of Christie's and Sotheby's in London over the last 20 years have strengthened the international market for Post-War masters with Spatialism, Arte Povera and Transavantgarde art, ten artists born after 1960 brought in a total revenue of £1.7m at Christie's and £1.4m at Sotheby's. When taking a wider look on the circulation of contemporary Italian artists in the global auction segment, it is rare when compared with their French and German counterparts from the same generation: while the turnover generated by Italian artists was higher than that of French and German artists in 2000, in 2021 the situation reversed and the turnover generated by the French was 7 times higher than that of Italians, and 5 times higher than that of Germans.
The study analysed the support of institutions for the promotion of Italian art in the international system, with the Italian Council and Italian Cultural Institutes abroad (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation). The activity provides margins for further enhancement and networking with Italian and international museum institutions.
Artificial intelligence as an analysis tool, the contribution of ARTE Generali and Wondeur
ARTE Generali is the service platform for insuring works of art. It offers insurance solutions available for private collectors and museum institutions worldwide, mainly based on the digitisation of specialised services.
ARTE Generali's contribution to the independent study is an analysis carried out on the Italian art system (represented by galleries, museums and cultural institutes that support the development of contemporary artists) in comparison with international systems, with the support of the artificial intelligence systems of Wondeur, its exclusive partner in Europe. The analysis showed that Milan is one of the most avant-garde cities in the Italian ecosystem, with its galleries, museums, cultural centres, and foundations, with a higher proportional rate than Rome and Venice. However, risk appetite is comparable to that of the other two cities, as support for emerging and mid-career artists remains too low. When comparing cultural centres and museums, Milan is far from other international cities such as Paris, Berlin and Los Angeles. Lombardy's capital city would find greater competitiveness and the ability to attract funding in a strategic vision with a wider scope.
A control room to create a system: the future of Italian contemporary art
The report clearly shows how Italian contemporary art can be better promoted through both a more structured approach and joint action, which can allow the country to create a system to compete on international markets in an even more promising manner. For this reason, "How renowned is Italian art abroad?" is intended both as the first of many future steps towards understanding the system, as well as a tool for those involved to take part in networking: its ultimate aim is to guarantee the resources and long-term prospects needed in today's fast-paced world of art, which consolidates careers over time.
Generali Valore Cultura: we protect emotions
The first presentation of the report took place at Palazzo Bonaparte, the historic building in Rome restored in 2019 by Generali. Thanks to Valore Cultura, it has been reopened to the community as a place for art and culture, in partnership with Arthemisia, which manages the production and organisation of exhibitions. As the first Italian insurer, the mission of Generali Italia is to protect: it protects works of art, with special insurance solutions, and protects emotions with Valore Cultura, the Generali Italy project committed to supporting art and culture, in order to make them accessible to an increasingly larger public audience, and enhance the territory. The insurance company takes a further step forward with the report supported by Arte Generali, in helping to provide a timely analysis of the art market to foster a constructive dialogue that can contribute to best highlighting Italian contemporary art.
Silvia Anna Barrilà is a freelance journalist and consultant, and a contributor of Arteconomy24/Plus 24 and Il Sole 24 Ore since 2008. She is a teacher at the Master in Economics and Management of Art and Cultural Heritage of the 24 Ore Business School.
Franco Broccardi is a chartered accountant and partner of BBS-Lombard, an expert in the economics of culture, arts management, management and organisation of cultural enterprises.
Maria Adelaide Marchesoni is a freelance journalist and financial analyst, and a contributor of Arteconomy24/Plus 24 and Il Sole 24 Ore since 2008. She is a teacher at the Master in Economics and Management of Art and Cultural Heritage of the 24 Ore Business School and the President of Collective, the Italian association of collectors.
Journalist of Il Sole 24 Ore/Plus24, creator and manager of the ArtEconomy24 section on the art economy and market since 2007. Scientific coordinator and teacher at the Master in Economics and Management of Art and Cultural Heritage of the 24Ore Business School. She participates in the permanent table for the circulation of works of art of the MiC
Irene Sanesi is a chartered accountant and partner of BBS-Lombard, and an expert in economics, management, taxation of culture and fund-raising. She offers consultancy and training activities in various fields.
This study was made possible thanks to the contribution of partners Artprice, Articker/Phillips and Artfacts.net