Capucine Montanari is the head of the Amadéo Montanari Gallery, a gallery specialised in ancient frames. Art Media Agency had the pleasure of meeting her on occasion of Paris Tableau 2012, where she exhibited some of her frames and agreed to answer our questions.
Art Media Agency (AMA): Could you present your gallery, the Amadéo Montanari Gallery?
Capucine Montanari (CM): I took over the gallery after my father’s death in 2007. It is located near Place Beauvau, next to the most famous Parisian galleries and Sotheby’s. I now work with a team of experts, including two “Meilleurs ouvriers de France” (Best Craftsmen of France). The Amadéo Montanari Gallery – named after my father – specialises in French, Italian and Dutch ancient frames. We own over 800 frames, from the 15th, 16th and 17th century, until the 20th century. More recently we have also acquired some Art Nouveau frames. The Amadéo Montanari Gallery is involved in various fairs each year: Paris Tableau and Brafa and until 2006 we took part in Maastricht Fair.
AMA: How do you acquire the frames you exhibit at the gallery?
CM: We acquire most of our frames from individuals; some, on the other hand, are purchased in auction houses. It is a real research work, which requires strictness and patience. I travel to Italy, notably, in order to discover some of the frames.
AMA: What service do you offer?
CM: We are most attentive to the products we use, in order not to damage the artworks. We offer, for instance, anti-reflective and anti UV glasses. We are trying not to alter or transform the frames in our possession, but when necessary we undertake the restoration ourselves. It is also possible to cut some frames, in order to adapt them to the canvas’ size. However, it is not always possible, it depends on the frame itself, the ornament, etc. The very basis of our work is privacy, which we guarantee to our clients. Their works are kept in a safe, and they are never shown to other persons.
AMA: Who are your clients?
CM: In addition to collectors and individuals, our clients are mainly galleries. Indeed, a fine frame is a way to showcase an artwork, and subsequently may help to sell it. We also worked with museums, such as the Musée du Havre and the Musée d’Orsay. Nevertheless it is more complicated, for their financial means are reduced.
AMA: Could you tell us a range of prices for the frames you offer?
CM: This question is not easy to answer. Among the frames we offer, the finest pieces can reach €80,000. As for me, I do think a fine frame can be acquired for €5,000-6,000.
AMA: Could you explain, as for beginners, the difference between French, Italian and Dutch ancient frames?
CM: To cut a long story short, the back of a frame is an important element, and allows to know exactly what kind of frame you have. Italian and French frames are put up in a different way. What we call “the frame keys” are not assembled in the same fashion. And the work on the frame is different either. It is by knowing this you can distinguish a French frame from an Italian, or a Dutch one.
AMA: Are you planning particular projects?
CM: We are going to take part to Brafa in January 2013, and we will then try to visit a number of foreign fairs. Our clients for now are mostly French and Italian collectors, but we are willing to open to a wider, international public.