BIAF 2022, an edition of the highest quality. Expectations are high

The 2022 edition of BIAF - Florence Biennale Internazionale dell'Antiquariato, which returns without Covid restrictions in attendance, promises to be an edition of the highest quality. Expectations are high from organizers and exhibitors. We heard from some of them.

Back in the halls of Palazzo Corsini is the Florence Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato, the world’s oldest exhibition-market, now in its XXXII edition. It will officially open to the public from Sept. 24 to Oct. 2, 2022, but we visited the fair in preview at the press conference addressed to journalists(here is a selection of twenty greatworks not to be missed).

There are many expectations for this 2022 edition, as Fabrizio Moretti, BIAF Secretary General, told us, “I expect the best because the expectations are very important. We have the best dealers in the world, the most beautiful works on display, the Uffizi as a partner who is already evaluating several works for the collection, many curators and museum directors who will also be present in the coming days. And clearly the great Florentine and international public. It will be a great celebration not only for Florence but for Italy. We also bring a huge inducement for the city of Florence and for Tuscany. People are craving for the Biennale, craving for the antique, and I think that we with this management manage to sell a dream to all fans and not.”

Especially after two pandemic years (in fact, it is back in attendance after three years), “there is more and more enthusiasm,” adds Moretti. “This I think is the first exhibition without Covid problems, so you will be able to visit it with the utmost peace of mind, transparency and also a desire to have fun, because art must also be fun.” "Those who won the three prizes (painting, sculpture and decorative arts) represent a part of the excellence of the event," concludes the Secretary General. The Painting Prize was awarded to Il banchetto di Assalonne by Niccolò Tornioli, presented by Robilant+Voena; the Decorative Arts and Design Prize was was awarded to the Pair of Hunting Trophies attributed to Filippo Parodi, in carved and gilded wood surmounted by an eagle and inside boxwood micro-carvings, presented by Brun Fine Art; the Sculpture Prize to Pietro Lombardo’s Saint Sebastian, in painted stone, presented by Botticelli Antichità.

Fabrizio Moretti
Fabrizio Moretti
Niccolò Tornioli, Il banchetto di Assalonne (1640 circa; olio su tela, 147,5 x 216,2 cm). Presentato da Robilant+Voena
Niccolò Tornioli, The Banquet of Absalon (c. 1640; oil on canvas, 147.5 x 216.2 cm). Presented by Robilant+Voena
Filippo Parodi (attr.), Coppia di cornici con trofei di caccia (legno scolpito con intagli di bosso di autore emiliano, 96 x 91 cm)
Filippo Parodi (attr.), Pair of frames with hunting trophies (carved wood with boxwood carvings by Emilian author, 96 x 91 cm). Presented by Brun Fine Art
Pietro Lombardo, San Sebastiano (pietra dipinta, 178 x 58 x 40 cm). Presentato da Botticelli Antichità
Pietro Lombardo, Saint Sebastian (painted stone, 178 x 58 x 40 cm).
by Botticelli Antiquities

There were also many expectations from some of the exhibitors we interviewed on the press preview day. “It’s a good fair, so expectations are always high and generally met,” they let us know from Gian Enzo Sperone’s gallery, which has participated in BIAF for five to six editions. Among the main works brought to this edition is certainly Felice Casorati ’s 1924 plaster bas-relief depicting The Sleeper, a work that Vittorio Sgarbi purchased for the Mart - Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto. It is an unpublished work that has never been on the market and was part of a decorative cycle that the Piedmontese artist created for the private Teatrino of Casa Gualino (industrialist Riccardo Gualino was one of the greatest Italian collectors of the early 20th century). The sleeperwas one of fourteen bas-reliefs that served as metopes. Also of note are an oil painting by Giovanni Colacicchi and a large work by Massimo Campigli.

All of the works presented by the Giovanni Sarti Gallery are unseen on the market and restored, and the gallery hopes that there will be as knowledgeable and interested an audience in this edition as ever. Among the works on display are also two important panels, a Saint Margaret and a Saint Anthony Abbot, by Benedetto di Bindo, a painter of the Sienese school, and then a panel from the predella of Giovanni da Pisa’s polyptych preserved in Spain, at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.

Felice Casorati, La dormiente (1924; bassorilievo in gesso, 86 x 144 cm)
Felice Casorati, The Sleeper (1924; plaster bas-relief, 86 x 144 cm). Presented by Gian Enzo Sper
Lo stand di Gian Enzo Sperone
Gian Enzo Sperone’s booth
Lo stand di Galerie G. Sarti
The booth of Galerie G. Sarti

“The expectations for this edition are quite high, we are always positive,” says the Robilant + Voena gallery, which has participated in the event for many years. "We always try to bring masterpieces. For this edition we brought a kind of homage to Tuscany, with masterpieces ranging from Siena to Florence." Among the masterpieces featured is Giovanni del Biondo’s Crucifixion dating from around 1360, placed in dialogue with works by Giorgio Morandi and to a Natura by Lucio Fontana, to make it clear how these modern artists had a strong Giottesque inspiration; also of note is a painting depicting theAllegory of the Four Seasons by Rutilio Manetti and two gold backgrounds, one of which is by Portuguese artist Álvaro Pires de Évora. It is from the gallery Niccolò Tornioli’s Il banchetto di Assalonne, circa 1640, which won the Painting Prize at this year’s BIAF.

Winning the Sculpture Prize is Pietro Lombardo’s Saint Sebastian, peculiar because it is made of painted stone, a material characteristic of Venetian sculpture between the 15th and 16th centuries. It is presented by Botticelli Antichità, which has participated in BIAF since the very first editions. Among the works on display is the Portrait of Alessandro Ridolfi (canon of the Duomo of the Florentine curia) made by Alessandro Rosi in 1646: a work whose curiosity lies in the fact that the facade of the Duomo as it was in that year is depicted. Also, a sculpture by Agostino di Duccio notified depicting Christ Blessing and recently notified Della Robbia brackets in glazed terracotta from around 1515. Finally, the table in the center of the booth is also a work of art: it is a table by Giacomo Manzù.

“We expect what everyone expects, which is the restart of the market; let it be the stimulus and symbol for a restart of the nation,” Romigioli Antichità, which has been participating since 2003, finally told us. For this edition 2022 presents Giovanni Baratta’s Pair of Cherubs, the star of the booth. The two sculptures were attributed by Francesco Freddolini who recognized their provenance. They were on the high altar of the Santa Trinita church in Florence and remained there until 1892. Also noteworthy is the rarity and archaic style of the Madonna and Child dated to the end of the 13th century (the oldest item in the booth), in the northern Spanish sphere. It is an unpublished work on stone. So there are many expectations for this BIAF 2022, which promises to be an edition of the highest quality.

Lo stand di Robilant+Voena
The stand of Robilant+Voena
Álvaro Pires de Évora, Vergine col Bambino e santi (tempera su tavola, 73 x 49 cm). Presentato da Robilant+Voena
Álvaro Pires de Évora, Virgin and Child with Saints (tempera on panel, 73 x 49 cm). Presented by Robilant+Voena
Lo stand di Botticelli Antichità
Botticelli Antichità’s booth
Agostino di Duccio, Cristo benedicente (1460-1470; marmo, altezza 119,5 cm)
Agostino di Duccio, Christ Blessing (1460-1470; marble, height 119.5 cm). Presented by Botticelli Antichità
Girolamo della Robbia, Coppia di mensole con tritoni che recano stemmi (1515 circa; terracotta invetriata, 23 x 29 x 14 cm)
Girolamo della Robbia, Pair of corbels with tritons bearing coats of arms (c. 1515; glazed terracotta, 23 x 29 x 14 cm)
Lo stand di Romigioli Antichità
Romigioli Antichità’s booth
Giovanni Baratta, Coppia di cherubini (1699; marmo bianco statuario, 72 x 48 cm)
Giovanni Baratta, Pair of cherubs (1699; white statuary marble, 72 x 48 cm). Presented by Romigioli Antichità
Artista della Spagna del Nord, Madonna stante col Bambino (1290-1310 circa; pietra arenaria policromata, 102 x 65 x 42 cm). Presentato da Romigioli Antichità
North Spanish artist, Standing Madonna and Child (ca. 1290-1310; polychrome sandstone, 102 x 65 x 42 cm).
by Romigioli Antiquities

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