Interview with italian art collectors Marco and Luisella Villa
09 Sep 2018.

Interview with italian art collectors Marco and Luisella Villa

How many pieces do you have in your collection? Do you focus on younger artists?

We have about 300 pieces, mainly paintings, as well as drawings, photos, sculptures, a site-specific work, a video, three paintings by street artists in situ, including a sort of fresco on the ceiling.

In our multifaceted collection of paintings we start with a 1633 Dutch seascape by Anthonissen and we end with a stencil by the street artist C215 and an acrylic on wood (an upper part of a window) by Nychos, also a street artist. In between we have paintings by artists from more than 50 countries: Lenz Geerk, Zsolt Bodoni, Barthelemy Toguo, Olga Chernysheva, Pavel Pepperstein, Alfi Jumaldi, Daniel Pitin, Muntean and Rosemblum, Norbert Schwontkowsky, Deborah Grant, Fendry Ekel, Artan Shabani, Raquel Van Haver, Lara de Moor and others, as well as the Italian artists: our favourite is a drawing by Carol Rama, but mainly we’ve collected artists from the past 20 years: Luca Pignatelli, Giovanni Frangi, Agostino Arrivabene, Luisa Rabbia, Ugo Giletta, Manfredi Beninati, Giorgio Silvestrini.

We have supported a 30-year-old artist from Turin Guglielmo Castelli from the very beginning of his career and have many of his works. In our opinion his works are unique and he is the most talented young Italian painter (according to Forbes he is one of the 10 most influential European artists under 30).


Art collection display at home of Marco and Luisella Villa in Saluzzo, Italy

How do you display your collection in your home? How do you decide and design the hanging?

Everything is packed in a normal flat, so the only way to show our collection was to recreate a 19thCentury exhibition display: up and down, from ceiling to floor. We tried to make a frame through the empty spaces between the artworks. Our brain usually looks for geometry and regular patterns this way we can put different works next to each other.


Art collection display at home of Marco and Luisella Villa in Saluzzo, Italy

What is art for you? Should your collection demonstrate who you are?

Art for us is every single act of creativity, something that can give another point of view and a visual experience. Our collection doesn’t have a real goal. Buying for us is like putting a flag on a personal art world map, which expands as our knowledge grows. We’re not interested in showing anything to anyone apart from this journey.


Art collection display at home of Marco and Luisella Villa in Saluzzo, Italy

How important are museums for you? Do they provide ideas for your collection? What periods in art history fascinate you? 

Museums are pillars for an art lover, either an artist, or a collector or someone else: you can’t ignore the past if you want to make well-informed judgements about the present. We recommend looking into ancient art, the Roman paintings in the Archaeological museums in Naples and Rome. But be aware that your concept of art history could be deeply shaken. Another tip from us: if you don’t like an artist or a period, go and see one of their important exhibitions and have a direct impression. Most likely you’ll change your opinion.

We have visited many Impressionist shows. Now we can agree with Odilon Redon who defined Impressionism as a low-rise building. We changed our view about Dalì. Now we really appreciate his incredible skill after seeing a great show of his work in Venice. Before we thought he was more of a character than a painter.

How do you buy art? How many art fairs do you visit? 

We normally buy by contacting galleries directly. We think art fairs are important but we don’t like them, even the most important ones are like Moroccan markets. We hope in the future galleries will again take the main role in promoting and developing an artist without burning him or her out in a few months. We always seek as much information as we can collect before purchasing, but in a very short time. We rush to buy an artwork that is being prepared with a good deal of knowledge.


Art collection display at home of Marco and Luisella Villa in Saluzzo, Italy

You acquired a painting of Giorgio Silvestrini from our gallery. Why Silvestrini? 

We chose Silvestrini’s work because we found it a good mix of skill and art references re-interpreted with a personal touch. Young artists who have these capacities attract us.

General iv

Giorgio Silvestrini. General IV. 2016. Collection of Marco and Luisella Villa, Italy

Are the artists in your collection ahead of their time? 

An artist can be ahead of, within or behind their time. No one should care. Reinhardt said “art probably doesn’t have a beginning and an ending and maybe it isn’t as historical as one thinks”. It’s a flux in which the collector must be like a curious sailor ready to discover new or forgotten lands.

Marco and Luisella Villa are italian art collectors based in Saluzzo, Italy

Giorgio Silvestrini is exhibiting at Eva Hober Gallery in Paris until 5 October:



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