The interviews of ProfessioneArte.it
Interview with Rossella Novarini, Managing Director @ Il Ponte Casa d’Aste – ProfessioneARTE.it
Five questions to get a preview of the great art professionals, the daily challenges to be faced, the choices that have determined their path in the system and in the art market, the digital changes and advice for those who want to undertake the same career in collaboration with ProfessioneARTE.it.
In the heart of Brera, Milan’s historic art district, she works at Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, Rossella Novarini.
More than thirty years ago, Novarini began its partnership with a family business that is still very successful today.
From a passion inherited from his father for art, this becomes a real profession, which starts from the classic “gavetta” and then in 2012 assume the role of General Manager, having experienced the great epochal changes in the market, between crisis and rebirth.
Even today for Rossella Novarini determination and passion, as well as care and attention to collectors, are essential ingredients.
Raised in a family where the passion for art in all its forms was cultivated and encouraged, Rossella Novarini identifies in the world of auctions the sector in which to grow professionally.
Born in Parma in 1966, she began her classical studies and subsequently graduated in Modern Literature.
In the 1980s he joined the small group of people who then made up Il Ponte Casa d’Aste. After a long period of training, in which she comes into direct contact with the countless aspects of the profession, she matures those skills in the field that will lead her in 2012 to take the front line in the management of the company as General Manager.
1.How did you start your path in the art world?
The beginning of my path starts from the great passion inherited, since I was very young, from my father who educated me in art, music and literature, of which he is still a passionate lover.
The course of study was a natural consequence of this family propensity, which I supported and deepened first with the Classical High School, then with the Faculty of Modern Literature, and finally, through an arduous path of “apprenticeship” that began in the eighties when I entered, in my early twenties, in the very small staff of Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, attracted and intrigued by what was then in Italy a sector that was not very widespread, but which already provided for the existence and success of large international auction houses on Italian territory.
That of the early years was a fundamental training, in which I had the privilege of working in contact with personalities and professionals of great stature and with many situations that were decisive for my learning and my evolution: inventories in the most extreme conditions, relationships with the most diverse clients (through which I learned to move with respect and attention in the homes and among everyone’s things, seeing them not as business but as elements of a life and affection); and again, press office and communication, commercial and administrative area, thus maturing a series of skills that allowed me to become General Manager in 2012.
2.Come descriverebbe la sua professione oggi?
In thirty years of activity I have lived unforgettable personal and professional experiences and epochal changes in the market: from the most exciting ones to those of crisis, both determining to understand the dynamics underlying a living and pulsating reality that evolves and adapts. For this reason, one of the main competences of a director’s role includes the ability to capture this vitality, with its transformations, remaining vigilant on everything that happens around and within the twenty departments we have, without ever losing empathy towards the human and emotional dimension of those who come into contact with us.
In fact, what we have been trying to be since our company origins is concretely “a bridge” between sellers and buyers, where the care and attention for the human aspect of work and the relationship with the public have always been, and continue to be, the essential ingredients that have led Il Ponte Casa d’Aste to be the company it is today.
3. Come è cambiata nel tempo la sua professione?
Since my profession is strongly linked to auction houses, its change has coincided with theirs.
From a “place of collection” and exhibition of works and objects to a synonym of “failure” (such were considered in the collective imagination auction sales until the 70s – 80s), auction houses have become an essential reference point within the art system.
Not only that, with the advent of the Internet they have become very transversal. If, in fact, auctions were once frequented mostly by gallerists and antique dealers, now most of the public is private, and not only because it has become fashionable to sell and buy through this intermediary, but because the opportunities to learn about art, to collect, to approach the investment in first person, was an evolutionary step of the client brought by the advent of the web.
There has been a real change of mentality brought by the possibility to surf the sites, to enter the online platforms and to spread results and awards. The Il Ponte Auction House has grown and changed in line with this general trend.
From a small Milanese and Milanese auction house, around the ’90s it began to leave its territorial reality thanks to the Renzo Mongiardino auction that the whole world has talked about and that, still today, constitutes a milestone in our history. As a result of this event Il Ponte expanded its skills by creating specialized auctions until, in the 2000s, the first departments, now over twenty, coordinated by a team of over sixty professionals. In addition, aware of how important it was to spread the concept that the auction was not only for a few elected representatives, but a chance to collect and buy for everyone, in 2006 we decided to add to the historic headquarters of Palazzo Crivelli (in the heart of Brera in Milan), a venue that could allow fans of lived art, curiosity and small investments, to participate in the auction without excessive intellectual or economic commitment.
Thus was born the headquarters in via Pitteri 8, which in 2015 became viapitteridieci, a reality that today excites both the public of enthusiasts (about 1500 visitors per weekend) and the press, from which it has been defined “Magic Cave of Alibabà”. Over 3,000 square meters located in the Lambrate district, whose layout has anticipated that of the more fashionable “east market”, inspired by the idea of a huge open space in which to offer objects, furniture and works of art of all kinds, age and quality (today each auction consists of over 4,000 lots), waiting only for a new owner able to look at them with different eyes.
4. Che impatto sta avendo il digitale nel suo settore?
Anyone operating in our sector, now more than ever, must take advantage of the tools offered by new technologies and the consequent implementation of new digital services.
Il Ponte in the course of its conversion to technology has chosen a gradual approach, made of knowledge and ownership of the Internet medium, so that its use is always correct and commercially effective.
Specifically, our company inaugurated the year with its own online sales platform, IL PONTELIVE, after having studied it carefully and with the intention of offering an integrated service really tailored and easily accessible. We are riding this evolution, always aware of the role and responsibility it entails, without however delegating to the web that personal and human relationship that has been, and will always remain, our main value.
Digital does not mean anonymity, distance, asepticity but, on the contrary, it means connection, reaching a new and distant audience, dialogue and amplified service. It allows us to attract new customers and make them feel even more followed and involved in our reality. A result, the latter, that we are further cultivating through increased activity on social channels, more accurate email marketing profiling and the study of a restyling of the website.
5. Cosa consiglierebbe a un giovane che vuole intraprendere la sua professione?
To be curious, determined but above all humble.
Today there are too many career pretensions without going through the apprenticeship, which is instead a fundamental formative part to get in touch with the profession, but also with oneself, understanding in depth one’s own predispositions.
I would advise young people never to give up the human element even in working relationships, the only way to really live and give back emotions, the ability to look critically at their present and not to get lost in that quick access to information and stimuli, which often move away from our essence and clearly understand who we are and what can really make us realized.