Moatti Masters|Contemporary is the new venture by the established gallery-owner Emmanuel Moatti. Located on the Mount Street in Mayfair, London, it looks set to challenge the traditional gallery-format. Unhappy with the white-cube spaces of the contemporary-art world and their impersonal approach to art, and simultaneously dissatisfied at the dilating chasm between the worlds of contemporary art and old masters, Moatti has established his latest gallery to act as a bridge between this modern dichotomy. Moatti Masters|Contemporary showcases the best in living contemporary artists who pay homage to, and remain reflectful on the art historical legacy which came before them, mixed in with a collection of fine old master paintings drawings and sculptures sharing these same passions for skill, tradition and craft, all curated in a personal style assortment and setting.
Having studied History of Art at The Courtauld, and having worked with old masters his whole life, yet with a personal passion for collecting contemporary art, this new route seemed like an obvious progression for Moatti – and its a welcome concept among the growing corporateness of the fine art world. Set in a Mayfair town house, the gallery is very much a space one can imagine themselves in – shelves of books and candles and coffee tables scattered with art magazines reflect the gallery’s ambition – to help people buy art they love, to fill their personal spaces. The space makes you feel welcome and at ease.
The first show in Moatti’s roster is by the Italian cloud-scape painter, Alberto Bertoldi. Born in the mountainous north of the country, his paintings were initially landscapes of the rugged terrain around him that had inspired generations of painters before. Yet slowly Bertoldi found his eyes gazing further upwards, and his brush soon followed suit. His paintings grew in to vibrant imagined cloud-scapes, ranging from enigmatic Italian summer-blue skies with whispers of nimbus stripes, to full blown storm clouds and pinky sun sets. His pictures speak of the strong tradition of clouds in art – they are instantly reminiscent of Turner and Constable – the English traditionalists whose work was so influenced by the power of weather. They also (especially in the context of this gallery) speak of the great plein-air painters of Italy and France. In fact, clouds are something that speak universally to everyone – it’s impossible to not be capitated by their powerful yet esoteric forms. Bertoldi’s paintings show a real dedication to the craft of painting, though their elegant and passionate execution – they seem at once both intense, yet also light and reassuring. There is solace to be found in the fact that clouds are something simultaneously infinite and fleeting.
After a string of highly acclaimed exhibitions across Europe, Bertoldi was selected to represent Italy at the Venice Biennale and his notoriety flourished. This is his first solo show in the UK, coincided with Frieze Art Fair 2015. The show focuses on new works produced in his studio in Italy.
Moatti Masters|Contemporary has big plans for the future, there is talk of sponsoring an art prize, joint ventures with an art bookshop, and group shows of the best young painters emerging from the art schools of the UK, all whilst continuing to uncover and exhibit fine old master works of art. They have their work cut out for them in their ambitions, but are already gaining a reputation for a gallery that is keen to change the way the commercial art world is seen, by working with young artists and putting back in to the art community – it’s this personable and friendly approach to the running a gallery, whilst proving that art, and taste in art, doesn’t have to be confined or compartmentalised, which separates Moatti Masters|Contemporary from the crowd.
By Lucy Way
Alberto Bertoldi – Clouds, a series of paintings opens tomorrow at Moatti Masters|Contemporary Friday 25th September and runs until Friday October 30th, open Mon-Fri 10-6pm and Sat & Sun 10,11 and 17, 18 October during Frieze 11-5pm.
For more information please visit www.moatti.co.uk