In conversation with Art Collector - Lorenzo Perini Natali

Today I have a pleasure to speak with Lorenzo Perini Natali, a young and a very inspiring Italian Art Collector.

Born in Viareggio, Tuscany, in 1990, lives in Milan. After working for an industrial group in Italy, Brazil and the United States he moves to Milan where he graduates in Visual Arts at NABA and continues with a Master in Contemporary Art Markets.

Lorenzo Perini Natali

You started collecting art at a very young age. How did this happen? Do you have a background in art, or it has something to do with your family?

I started collecting at my first year of university, I was visiting many galleries and artist studios and one day I saw a work I liked very much, in the office of the director of a gallery I usually visited in Milan. I asked him if it was on sale and he said yes, I didn’t know the artist but I liked the work very much (it was a diptych by Russian artist Andrei Molodkin) I thought about it for some days, I bought it and brought it home. The day after I was already looking for new work to buy, and this is how it all started.


Can you tell us a little bit about your personal collection? Does it have a particular theme or focus?

My collection is divided into three main groups: emergent Italian artists, emergent international artists, and established artists. Many of the paintings and works on paper have blue or grey colors and some works are involved with aviation, like my painting by Bertrand Lavier “Bleu Lavande par Tollens et Valentine, 2000” which is in two shades of blue or the large photograph by Andrea Galvani “llevando una pepita de oro a la velocidad del sonido, 2011” which is the photo of a military airplane. I love blue and grey, and I love airplanes, since when I was a child.

Andrea Galvani “llevando una pepita de oro a la velocidad del sonido, 2011”

How have your tastes changed since you started collecting?

When you start collecting you buy faster, you see something you like and you just get it. Sometimes you regret having bought it, sometimes you think “I did such a good choice”. My taste and decisions grow with me and the collection, now I take more time before getting work, I look at the CV of the artist, where he showed his work, prizes, residencies and projects, I study more the artist and his works than in the first period of my collecting. I still do many studio visits where I get to know the artists and their work and visit galleries and art fairs.


When collecting art, do you usually search for anything in particular? Is there a certain artist, style, provenance, or era? Or, do you buy what you connect with personally?

I am a collector of my time, I want to get works that were made in these years, that are a mirror of this society. I think that putting together works that were made sixty of fifty years ago wouldn’t create something that has something to do with me or my research. when you buy what you love and not only for investment, the collection has to have your taste and the works have to be produced in the period you lived. This is my opinion.


What is it that most excite you about Contemporary art?

This is a difficult question, it’s difficult to tell what excites you about something. I’d say that contemporary art makes me happy and makes me think, these are the most important things.


If you were told to make a list of the top 3 contemporary artists (living artists) to keep an eye out for in 2019, which ones would you name?

Andy Woll, Michael Kagan, and Marco Pariani.

What do you think about investing in young and unknown artists?

I have works by young artists who never had important exhibitions and are not represented by major galleries. I think that if you find the work interesting and the artist has serious research it is good to get his work. If the artist is not famous or expensive at the moment it doesn’t mean that the work is not good.


As I know you support artists of our generation. What makes the artist's work appealing to you? What makes an artist stand out from the crown in a collector's eyes?

As I said before I am a collector of my time so the artists of my generation are what I mostly care about. If the research of an artist is good if his work “works” I want to support him.


Where do you collect art? Do you prefer going to art galleries, fairs, and auctions, or buy directly from the artist's studio?

I visit galleries here in Milan or in Italy and abroad when I travel. If there’s a show by an artist that I follow I ask the galleries to send me the works and info. I visit Art Basel in Basel every year, Frieze London, FIAC and of course our major art fairs in Italy, like Artissima Torino, Miart and Art Verona. I buy works from artists studios when the artists are young and are not represented by a gallery but 95% of the time I buy from galleries.


Speaking of the primary art market, the real development of purchasing art comes from the Internet age. According to Hiscox Online Art Trade Report 2018, active online art buyers are buying more online art than in previous years with 74% making multiple online art purchases (up from 65% in 2017). What do you personally think is the state of the current art market? Are the days of the high street galleries are coming to an end?

I found new works and artists that I now collect on Instagram or Artsy, I pass hours every day reading and doing research on galleries websites and magazines. Today with the internet is so much easier to see the works and to get in contact with artists and galleries. Art fairs are becoming always more important and new fairs are coming up every year. I think that galleries will always exist, but they will work always more with their websites than with showing the works in their spaces.


How do you see your role as a young collector within the larger art world? What is your ultimate goal?

I do what I love, this is the first thing for me. If I inspire someone and he starts to buy art too, to help young artists and to get involved with art I am happy about it but I’m just doing what I feel its right for me and what gives me satisfaction. My ultimate goal one day is to open my collection to the public in a bigger space so that more people can appreciate the works, maybe in Tuscany, where I grew up or here in Milan.


Do you have any advice for young and aspiring art collectors?

Buy what gives you something, read a lot, learn, study art history to understand better what is been done today. Visit galleries, spaces, museums and art fairs, the more you see the more you know. Be curious.


As you already know, I work with many international artists, which one of them caught your attention the most?

Of the artists, you represent I like the works by Bret Price, very clean, beautiful sculptures, his work is very close to my taste.

Follow Lorenzo Perini-Natali on Instagram


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