Known for her flawless taste in art, Nazy Vassegh spent 19 years working at Sotheby’s and left in 2009 to set up her own consultancy. Three years ago she joined multidisciplinary art fair Masterpiece London as CEO, which, now in its seventh year, has become a summer highlight of London’s art calendar. Here, she shares with Billionaire her favourite artworks.
1. Ophelia (1851-2) by Sir John Everett Millais, Tate Britain
The Tate has such a broad collection but I love Ophelia. Born from the restrictive social norms of Victorian England, it draws on fantasy and romanticism, and strikes me as a true Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece.
2. Female Nude (1916) by Amedeo Modigliani, The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Amedeo Modigliani painted a number of female nudes during the 1910s but I have always been drawn to this one at the Courtauld Institute. The muse’s elongated face and features reflect Modigliani’s knowledge of African and Oceanic sculpture, while her tilted head rests softly to one side in a typically classical manner. This series became exceptionally well known last year when his 1917-18 Reclining Nude set the second-highest price ever for a painting at auction.
3. Celotex (1990) by Alberto Burri, courtesy of Mazzoleni
Burri is one of a school of mid-20th century Italian artists who are really coming to the fore at the moment. I had the honour of visiting the Collezione Burri in Citta di Castella, central Italy, and what a collection it is! Displayed in a repurposed tobacco factory, these large-scale works take on new intensity. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
4. Ewan Venters, CEO Fortnum & Mason, with Frank Cohen in front of Going to America (1999) by Howard Hodgkin
I loved the recent collaboration between renowned collector Frank Cohen and Fortnum & Mason. What a treat to see so many classic modern British works hung in the high elegance of Fortnum’s, expertly curated by Robert Upstone. For me, the works of Howard Hodgkin really stand out — playfully abstract with broad strokes of vibrant colour.
Nazy Vassegh decided to step down as CEO of Masterpiece London at the end of December. The fair is looking for a replacement CEO, who would take up the role in the new year. Chairman Philip Hewat-Jaboor will work closely with the team on the fair until a replacement is appointed.