For over a century, Grassi has been a familiar, respected name, both in Europe and America, in the world of dealing and collecting Old Master paintings and works of art.
By 1900, Prof. Luigi Grassi was already heading his own well-established gallery in Florence, Italy, having earlier collaborated with his uncle Costantini, a dealer active there since the 1860s. As a young man, however, Luigi had been trained at the Rome Academy and actually began his career as a paintings restorer at the Uffizi.
In 1914, Prof.Grassi moved his home and gallery to the spacious and imposing Montagliari palace, continuing his successful enterprise in a variety of collecting fields: paintings, furniture, sculpture and works of art. “Luigi Grassi and Sons” became a requisite stop for any connoisseur traveling to Florence during the 1920s and 30s: Otto Lanz, Lord Lee, Robert Hirsch, Herbert Lehman… are just a few of the distinguished collectors who regularly visited Via Cavour 106 in Florence in those years.
After Luigi’s death in 1937, the gallery remained active until the early 1950s, managed by Prof. Grassi’s two sons, Giulio and Arturo. By that time, however, such an undertaking: its conspicuous size, varied stock, and, above all, its location in Florence, had become increasingly less viable. The gallery and its remaining collections were sold; Giulio retired. Arturo, however, continued as a private dealer of Old Master paintings in New York. His particular interest was Italian - and specifically Venetian Eighteenth Century painting. Several museums, particularly Detroit, effected important acquisitions through Arturo Grassi.
Arturo’s two sons, Luigi and Marco, both returned to Europe after their education in America. Luigi has remained in Florence as a private paintings dealer. Marco trained as a fine arts conservator, first, like his grandfather, at the Uffizi, and subsequently in Rome and Zurich. After initiating a private practice in Florence in the early 1960s, Marco served as visiting and consulting conservator to a number of important private collectors, among them H.H. Thyssen-Bornemisza in Lugano, and Norton Simon, in Pasadena. Since 1974, he has been active mostly in New York. In 1986, he moved his conservation practice to a spacious, well-equipped new studio in Soho. Here he has served a small, but discriminating clientele of collectors and dealers, occasionally acting as an agent in the sale or purchase of paintings.
About fifteen years ago Marco’s son, Matteo, decided to undertake a career as a dealer of European Old Master paintings. This development represented a natural opportunity for the initiation of a close and fruitful family collaboration. Apprenticed with the studio of Eric Turquin in Paris until 1998, Matteo decided to remain in France. The father-son partnership, now named Grassi Studio, has participated at TEFAF Maastricht since 2004, and the biennial fairs in Florence and Rome since 2007.
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