Evolution and Continuity: Top 10 Collecting Insights from Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and Eugenio Re Rebaudengo

October 23, 2023

The eminent art collectors share their perspectives on how art collecting has evolved over the past 30 years.

During the FT Business of Art Summit in London, art collector Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Founder of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, and her son, Eugenio Re Rebaudengo, art collector, entrepreneur and founder of ARTUNER, discussed how collecting has evolved over the past 30 years. Discover our top ten insights from their talk.

1. The Importance of Collectors

FT Arts Editor Jan Dalley began the conversation by emphasising that alongside artists, collectors play a pivotal role in the art market's existence and growth. “Without knowledgeable and skilled collectors, there really wouldn’t be an art market.”

2. A Life Shaped by Art

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo began collecting art in London 31 years ago. She described how her world transformed as she discovered contemporary art, began meeting artists, and experiencing the beauty of art. It became her life.

3. A Shift in Pace

In the past, collectors had more time to engage with artists and contemplate their purchases. Today, the art world has become much more fast-paced, with artworks selling quickly, especially at art fairs.

4. Changing Artistic Mediums

Patrizia noted that artistic mediums have shifted towards a focus on “painting, painting, painting”, while video, photography, and installation art were more prominent when she started out as a collector.

5. Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo: A Generational Collection

Patrizia established Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in 1995 with a mission to support artists, curators, and the public, providing opportunities to engage with contemporary art. Patrizia and Eugenio practise a "generational collection" approach, with Patrizia focusing on artists of her generation and Eugenio on artists of his own age.

6. Collecting the Very Best Contemporary Art

The Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s collection has always been driven by the pursuit of the best artists of their respective generations, reflecting the forefront of contemporary art.

7. An Emphasis on Research

Collecting the best artists requires thorough research, often supporting emerging artists who lack international recognition. The collecting approach of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo is about staying ahead of the curve and providing artists with a platform to develop their careers.

8. The Importance of Galleries

“I really believe that when you are a collector, you have to buy through the gallery. For me galleries are always important, I’ve never bought directly through an artist. I feel this is polite and correct, to buy art through the gallery”. Patrizia noted that whilst the number of art fairs has increased over the years, galleries remain the integral relationship for a collector to have.

9. The Ever-Present Online World

Online art buying has existed, albeit in different formats, for decades, Patrizia remarked: “Even 30 years ago, I would look at the work on a slide and send a fax to reserve the work to buy.”

10. Artists Remain at the Center

Whilst collectors have adapted to many shifts in the industry, the focus on art and artists remains. The Re Rebaudengos emphasised that artists continue to be the beating heart of the art world, and of their collection.

Learn more about the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, ARTUNER, and the FT Business of Art Summit.

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