From Wednesday 27 – Sunday 31 January 2021 included, the exhibitors signed up for BRAFA 2021 will welcome you in their galleries, where they will present the objects and artworks they had selected for BRAFA 2021 in the best possible conditions. Some have chosen to group together to display their artworks.
In total, 126 art dealers spread across 13 countries and 37 cities look forward to sharing their passion for the beautiful, the rare, the precious and the historical in a warm, friendly atmosphere, in line with the rules in place in their area. Have a look through the list of participating galleries in order to discover those close to you. You can also download maps that enable you to find all the participating galleries in the town of your choice.
Finally, for all those who can’t visit the galleries in person, we have dedicated a page to each exhibitor on our website. Here you will find photos and descriptions of all the beautiful objects being presented, relevant practical information, and a video created for the occasion. New objects will be put online on Wednesday 27 January 2021!
Start the tour on Brafa website
Laocoon Gallery and W. Apolloni Gallery page: https://www.brafa.art/en/exhibitor-detail/589/w-apolloni-srl
Galleria W. Apolloni e Galleria del Laocoonte
Nuovo Spazio Antico/Contemporaneo, via Margutta 81, Roma.
Tuesday – Friday: 10.00-13.00 and 16.00-19.00
Visits by reservation only by calling 06 68308994 or via virtual tour
Masks and Carnival in Italian 20th Century Art
When she is not wearing a facemask covering her mouth to indicate that she is mute, the personification of painting, as portrayed by ancient painters, is a woman displaying in most cases a full face mask hanging from her neck. It is a symbol of the imitation of nature: art imitates reality, like an actor disguised to play a part. We want to remind this connection between the mask and painting for this exhibition by Laocoon Gallery celebrating, with the title of “The Commedia dell’Arte”, Italian masks in XXth Century art.
At the centre of this thematic collection is an impressive series of drawings by the visionary Italian artist Alberto Martini (1876-1954), a precursor of surrealism. His series “Il Libro delle Ombre” (The Book of Shadows), begun in 1904, consists of 29 drawings in brush and black china ink portraying masked faces in all possible kinds of disguise. Full false faces, vizards, half masks, eye masks, and black domino cloaks with venetian 18th century three cornered hats, all drawn with speedy brushstrokes as in Chinese painting, nocturnal and mysterious in character, illustrations of some dramatic and gothic poem whose words are lost. These enigmatic and obsessive faces, look like Rorschach’s patches appearing in a nightmare, populating some Venetian perpetual night, in which we wouldn’t be surprised to meet the heavily made up disquieting eyes of Marchesa Casati, famous for her eccentric venetian masked balls, for which Martini acted as costume designer and court portrait-painter.
With the figurative remembrance of Tiepolo in mind, we find ourselves in Venice, the ideal capital of masks, with her ancient old carnival where actors on the stage wore masks as well as the people in the audience.
A large painting by Ugo Rossi (1906-1990), almost four metres wide, portrays Venice’s piazza San Marco crowded with people in all kinds of colourful carnival costumes. It used to hang in the bar in one of the luxurious transatlantic ships that were the monuments of post war enthusiastic optimism, a way to represent Italy as a country of perpetual enjoyment after the horror and destruction of the past conflict.
Venetian scenes with carnival masks were a favourite theme of the artist Umberto Brunelleschi (1879-1949), a Tuscan who had a successful career in Paris as costume designer, scenographer and fashion illustrator. By him are two of his typical pochoirs with amorous couples courting, the study for a poster dedicated to a Venetian feast held in the Cercle de l’Union Interalliées in Paris. In another watercolour he paints his own portrait, it is the study for a poster advertising the theatre play “The Mask and the Face”, a now forgotten work by Luigi Chiarelli that had at the time wide international success in the footsteps of Pirandello’s influential example.
Directly inspired by Pirandello was the painter Giovanni Marchig, who’s masterpiece, “Death of an author”(1924), showing a playwright dead at his desk surrounded by all the characters of the “commedia dell’arte” in despair is now in Palazzo Pitti. He was an enchanting painter, little known because he put aside his painter’s brush in the last part of his life to become a famed old master’s restorer, very close to Bernard Berenson. His current fame comes from having been the former owner of Leonardo’s controversial drawing “La Bella Principessa”. Laocoon Gallery is proud to present a newly rediscovered portrait by Marchig (1933), of a young actor dressed up as Harlequin. He has his multi-coloured costume but he doesn’t wear a mask, he’s off stage, resting, his arms folded. The emphasis this time is on the face, on the real person of the actor when not possessed by his character.
Cezanne introduced Italian masks into modern painting, and Picasso in his blue period, followed his lead, but the modern painter who most of all chose and cherished Harlequins and Pulcinellas as subjects and mirrors of his own soul is certainly Gino Severini (1883-1966). The frescoes with dancing and playing masquerades that he painted for Sir George Sitwell in his castle at Montegufoni in Tuscany is a joyous little Sistine Chapel of twentieth-century art. A large cartoon by Severini for a “Concert” oil painting of 1942 will be exhibited along with two charming “pochoirs” and a wax pastel drawing of Harlequin and Pulcinella, preparatory for a famous lithograph of the early 50’s.
After the First World War the man who most promoted as the pinnacle of fashion 18th century’s Venitian style’s Bals Masqués was certainly the French painter Jean Gabriel Domergue (1889-1962). His Parisian Bal Venitien at the Opera in 1922 was only the first of a series held subsequently in Monte Carlo, Cannes, Biarritz and Deauville. He would design the costumes, the programmes, the posters and portray the most prominent and aristocratic beauties as provoking Venetian Ladies coming out from some of Casanova’s alcoves. He also decorated residences and public nightspots with gilded canvases wonderfully sketched over with dreamy elegant scenes of Venetian carnival. The like of these, now mostly dispersed if not destroyed, can be seen assembled in Domergue’s own villa in Cannes, now a Museum where the Jury of the Cinema Festival sits when the Palme d’Or awards are decided. Three rare panels gilded with golden leaves by Domergue with gondolas, amorous masks and beautiful venetian ladies are the most visibly precious lots in this exhibition. He is here at the height of his elegant art.
It is the world of Casanova, reinterpreted with the spirit of the “anneés folles”. The famous Venetian womanizer is portrayed in full mask with a masked puppet in each hand. It is the study for the cover of a play, “The Marriage of Casanova” (1910), in which the title role hero acts as puppeteer of all the characters in the plot. It is the work of Oscar Ghiglia (1876-1945), who was Ugo Ojetti’s – Italy’s master art critic of the time and the author of the play – favourite painter.
Metaphysical masks as the centrepieces of enigmatic still lifes are in the paintings of Casorati’s pupil Marisa Mori as well as in a very early and interesting work by Aligi Sassu (1929). Among other drawings we quote also a moving illustration of Harlequin taken to Heaven by angels, a work of the illustrator Enrico Sacchetti that belonged to the famous comic performer Ettore Petrolini. Attributed to Sacchetti is also the original drawing for the cover of one Pirandello’s collection of short stories “Terzetti” of 1912, where a Muse amuses herself wearing one different mask after another. Another Harlequin is painted by contemporary artist Pino Pascali, from the time when he was creating animated films for television advertisement: Arlecchino used to be a very renowned brand of tinned tomatoes.
For the Summer of 2020 Galleria del Laocoonte and W. Apolloni of Rome have prepared a monumental exhibition centred around the inspiration that Italian Twentieth Century art drew from the ancient Graeco-Roman figurative civilisation. Among the many works presented, the wide painted panel by master of fresco Achille Funi (1890-1972), representing Parnassus, towers over every other. Pompeian in inspiration, it used to decorate the classroom in Brera where the painter himself taught fresco technique until his death.
Another exceptional piece, for both size and force of expression, is the coloured cartoon by Alberto Ziveri (1908-1990) depicting the goddess Minerva with the attributes of Rome, employed to make the colossal mosaic for the firefighter’s school near Rome. A small, exquisite bronze by Duilio Cambellotti (1876-1960) entitled Armour, celebrates the ancient roman rural labourer that would take arms if his Country were in peril, combining the dynamic simplicity of modernity with the memory of archaic pre-classical bronzes. In a similar way the sculptor Libero Andreotti (1875-1933) cast his Venere-Fortuna as if it were an early renaissance bronze. In addition to this, La Vigne, a rare sculpture by Andreotti in Candoglia’s marble – the stone used at Milan’s Duomo – portrays a seductive Bacchante, with a drunken little Bacchus lying on her back, the teeth marks of the chisel recalling Michelangelo’s non-finito working practise.
Beauty and struggle are what we prize in art, as shown by our adoption of Laocoön as the symbol for our galleries in both Rome and London. The life-size Laocoön marble group by Vincenzo de’ Rossi, a two tonne mannerist masterpiece that stands at the centre of our roman exhibiting space is both a symbol and an aesthetic paragon for us, and can be viewed alongside Patrick Alò’s contemporary interpretation of the same subject thanks to London Art Week’s new online platform.
Following great success at Galleria del Laocoonte and W. Apolloni in Rome, Laocoon Gallery now presents to London a fascinating collection of art by Alberto Martini (Oderzo 1876 – Milan 1954).
Exhibition dates: 1st – 28th November 2019
The show comprises a mixture of works including gloriously sinister illustrations in Indian ink for the tales of Edgar Allan Poe alongside a selection of works from Il Poema Delle Ombre (Poem of the Shadows), a mysterious collection which the artist produced in 1904 and continued in 1909.
The stimulus for these works is unknown, perhaps they were designed to illustrate a poem or theatrical text, the only clue to the puzzle is a condensed list comprising an enigmatic summary which in fact makes the function of the illustrations even more mysterious. A mute chorus of masks is watching us.
There is Venice and its carnival, but there are also masks of conspirators, perhaps of thieves and murderers, as well as voluptuous veiled female masks that make us think of conspiracies of another kind; of secret conferences and kisses between unknown lovers, of the streets of Venice by night, filled with intriguing characters, from the great Casanova to the devastating femme fatale Marchesa Casati.
Exciting new gallery opens in the heart of the historic art district of London.
As the art scene in London continues to be a pole of attraction for a variety of cultural offerings, Galleria del Laocoonte has gone into partnership with W. Apolloni, one of the most experienced and highly distinguished art dealers in Rome, to open the Laocoon Gallery. Set in the heart of the historic art and antiques district of St James’ the gallery will not only present an exceptional selection of works from the most seminal figures in Western art history, but also brings to London previously unseen pieces from a number of early 20th century Italian artists. Monica Cardarelli, director of Laocoon Gallery in London, says, “Italian 20th century art is not only Futurism, or De Chirico, or the few other artists who are well known outside Italy. There is a real crowd of exceptional artists that need to be revealed to the world of English-speaking art lovers.”
Following a successful exhibition of works by renowned Italian sculptor Leoncillo Leonardi which opened as part of London Art Week, the gallery’s next offering will be based on the myth of Laocoön, featuring a large bronze by English born David Breuer-Weil, who has emerged as one of the leading contemporary British sculptors with iconic works such as Brothers, Flight and Alien, displayed to great public and critical acclaim in major public spaces in London and around the world. The artist has been commissioned by renowned art dealer Marco Fabio Apolloni to create and cast for the Laocoon Gallery a striking new work inspired by the ancient statue of Laocoön that was excavated in Rome in 1506 under Michelangelo’s very eyes. The piece shows a cyclopean head of Laocoön composed with shattered rubble, which emerges from the soil as if it were coming up from the deep to take a breath. In a number of smaller scale explorations and preparations also set to be exhibited, the iconic original in its entirety is handled using wax, engulfing Laocoön and his sons with snake coils that become tentacles or strands of DNA.
Breuer-Weil comments, “Laocoön is a great sculpture that has inspired generations of artists because of its sheer expressive force and as an emblem of martyrdom. I have not tried to copy it but to explore its themes in a relevant contemporary manner making the works speak to today’s generation. In some of my works, the Laocoön and his sons are not attacked by snakes as in the Greek myth that inspired the original ancient sculpture but by their own DNA, because that is usually the biggest threat we have to face in our lives, our own makeup.”
The exhibition opens on 12th September 2019 at the Laocoon Gallery, 2a-4 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6QB.
27 June – 7 September 2019
GALLERIA DEL LAOCOONTE & W. APOLLONI AT THE LAOCOON GALLERY
2a-4 Ryder Street.
Eleonora Falovo, +447908 380390
Following a successful exhibition at London Art Week in the summer of 2018, Galleria del Laocoonte has again gone into partnership with W. Apolloni, one of Rome’s oldest and most illustrious antique dealer shops, to exhibit at London Art Week 2019.
Founded in 1926, Galleria W. Apolloni has been in business for three generations and is now directed by Marco Fabio Apolloni, a writer, journalist and art historian trained at the Courtauld Institute in London. During its successful history the gallery has sold many masterpieces to museums in Italy and abroad, examples include the Coaci inkstand to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Petiet’s family portraits by Andrea Appiani to the Villa Reale in Milan.
In 2012, together with his wife Monica Cardarelli he founded Galleria del Laocoonte, which has specialised in presenting the works of 20th century Italian artists including Sironi, Savinio, Severini, Balla and many others with exhibitions at their gallery in Rome, fairs across Europe and even in public museums. Seven years later they are embarking on a new exciting project here in London, opening Laocoon Gallery which presents not only the best examples of Italian old master paintings and drawings, sculptures, works of art and high quality pieces of furniture, but also works by early 20th century Italian artists, many of them totally unknown by the international market.
One highlight of this year’s London Art Week exhibition at the Laocoon Gallery is a collection of works by Leoncillo Leonardi – known for his work with ceramics and glazed terracotta. Leoncillo (1915 – 1968) has become more recognised in recent years, with his large abstract works from the later part of his career gaining interest on a global scale. The exhibitors are just as passionate about his early works though, Monica Cardarelli, director of Laocoon Gallery says, “… the rest of his [Leoncillo’s] works, beginning in the thirties’ with astounding figurative ceramic sculptures, have never been shown as they should. It is our belief that the unveiling of these pieces will be a revelation that will set him in his proper place as one of Europe’s major sculptors.”