Photograph of an abstract and colorful work of art in the Larry Gagosian Gallery in Paris Le Bourget
Art and culture

In Conversation With Pepi Marchetti Franchi, Director of Gagosian Rome

August 03, 2020

Pepi Marchetti Franchi returned to her native Rome in 2007 to launch Gagosian Rome. Having hosted over 50 exhibitions at the gallery, she has plenty of fascinating insights to share with us.

What inspired you to join the art world and Gagosian?

I wonder if, having been born and raised in Rome, I could not escape the spell of art? As for Gagosian, Larry’s Gagosian’s invitation to open one of his very first international outposts in my hometown was quite irresistible.

Photograph of Pepi Marchetti, founding director of the Gagosian Gallery Rome, behind the window of the gallery
Pepi Marchetti Franchi, Courtesy Mutina, Photo by Andy Massaccesi
Classic white exterior facade of the Gagosian gallery in Rome
Gagosian Gallery Rome, Courtesy Gagosian, Photo by Luigi Filetici

What makes your Gagosian a leader in Rome?

Quite simply, our programme. We’re lucky to be working with a wonderful mix of some of the finest contemporary artists. The beauty and uniqueness of our oval gallery is also a big draw for artists and visitors alike.

How did you engage with your artists & collectors during lockdown?

It felt paramount to keep everyone’s spirit up by staying in touch. I would make them smile by sending photos and discrete messages to brighten their day.

Grey and abstract sculptures by the artist Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer, hortus philosophorum. Gagosian Gallery Rome, April 3 – May 23, 2009. Courtesy Gagosian, Photo by Giorgio Benni
Close up shot on Katharina Grosse's artwork, explosive colors sprayed onto a canva
Katharina Grosse, Untitled, 2017 Acrylic on canvas, 94 1/2 x 152 3/4 in, 240 x 388 cm, © Katharina Grosse, Courtesy Gagosian

What effect has this period had on your artists? 

While some have enjoyed the downtime and a more solitary working mode, for many others it’s been a real shock and created havoc with long-planned projects. We’ve been working hard on alternative solutions to give visibility to their work, and I’ve been very pleased with the success of online initiatives like our Artist Spotlight series.

How will Gagosian engage with their clients in the future to welcome them back?

I’m pleased to say that Rome was one of our first European galleries to reopen and we’re now safely welcoming a growing number of visitors.

Contemporary art in the exhibition gallery at the Gagosian gallery in Rome
Contemporary art in the exhibition gallery at the Gagosian gallery in Rome
White and Yellow facade of Hotel Eden, Rome

What benefits are you able to offer Hotel Eden guests?

We’re delighted to be a neighbour of the elegant Hotel Eden and are always happy to offer behind-the-scene tours of the gallery for their discerning guests. 

Do you envisage that this period will have any positive impact on the art market in the future?

The art market seems to be holding quite well considering the current economic circumstances. Collectors have had more time on their hands to look at art and are appreciating its healing power. 

Colorful cherry blossoms painted on a canva, by the artist Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst, Veil of Hidden Meaning, 2017–18 detail, Oil on canvas 120 x 96 in, 304.8 x 243.8 cm. © Damien Hirst, Courtesy Gagosian
Close up shot on Stanley Whitney art work : explosive colors painted on a canva
Stanley Whitney, Kind of Blue, 2020, Oil on linen, 96 x 96 in. © Stanley Whitney, Photo: Rob McKeever. Courtesy Gagosian

Can you share upcoming Gagosian Rome highlights? 

In September, we’ll be showing Stanley Whitney whose intense geometric abstraction – inspired by jazz, quilt making and Roman architecture – will be the perfect energy boost after this long period of solitude. Katherina Grosse, one of the great female artists of our time, will follow. 


Do you have any particular suggestions for current and/or new collectors?

Never stop looking at art. Keep training your eye and only buy what you really like.

Exhibition gallery at the Gagosian gallery in Rome. The works exhibited are abstract paintings from the artist Helen Frankenthaler
Helen Frankethaler, Sea Change: A Decade of Paintings, 1974 – 1983, March 13, 2019 - July 19, 2019. Gagosian Via Francesco Crispi 16, 00187 Rome. © Helen Frankethaler, Courtesy Gagosian
Bridge and Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome.

Where do you like to visit in your spare time in Rome? 

That would have to be Castel Sant’Angelo because it’s a wonderful example of the city’s layered history. Originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, it was later used as a fortress for the popes in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It is also where Tosca, the opera’s namesake, meets her tragic end.

For more inspirational art from Gagosian, take a look at their array of upcoming art exhibitions.

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