What I Buy and Why: Designer and Patron Beatrice Bulgari Opens Up Her Home to Offer a Peek at Her Marvelous Art Collection

We caught up with the collector about her new art foundation and the video artists on her radar right now.

Beatrice Bulgari. In the background, work by Anselm Kiefer. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.
Beatrice Bulgari. In the background, work by Anselm Kiefer. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

Always on the lookout for sartorial excellence in Venice, we jumped at the chance to talk to designer Beatrice Bulgari when she came to town to mark the opening of her art foundation and its first-ever show.

The art collector, museum patron, and costume designer (she worked on the set of Tornatore’s 1988 coming-of-age drama, Cinema Paradiso), Bulgari is also a supporter of the MAXXI Museum, Tate Modern, Documenta, and (of course), the Biennale in La Serenisima. She has also produced films for the likes of Vanessa Beecroft, William Kentridge, and Shirin Neshat.

The Fondazione in Between Art Film, as the foundation is called, is opening with “Penumbra” on April 20 at the Ospedaletto, and includes eight commissioned video and film works by artists including Karimah Ashadu, Emilia Škarnulytė, and Jonathas De Andrade. (The latter is also representing Brazil at the biennale).

We caught up with the collector about what’s on her walls, the video artists on her radar, and her desire to own a Cretto Land art work by Alberto Burri.

Alighiero Boetti, on the table: Piero Gilardi. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

Alighiero Boetti, on the table: Piero Gilardi. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

What was your first purchase (and how much did you pay for it)?

My first purchase was a work by Alighiero Boetti in 1991. I paid what was an equivalent of €7,000.

What was your most recent purchase?

A carpet titled All the terrors of the Planet by Elisabetta Benassi, which I have recently bought at Miart fair.

Which works or artists are you hoping to add to your collection this year?

Video artworks by Adrian Paci, Wang Tuo, and Cyprien Gaillard.

Lucio Fontana. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

Lucio Fontana. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

What is the most expensive work of art that you own?

I own works by Giuseppe Penone, Damien Hirst, and Lucio Fontana.

Where do you buy art most frequently?

Mostly in art fairs but also in art galleries.

Is there a work you regret purchasing?

Not yet!

From the left: above the sofa William Kentridge, on the corner Julian Schnabel. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

From the left: above the sofa William Kentridge, on the corner Julian Schnabel. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

What work do you have hanging above your sofa? What about in your bathroom?

Above my sofa is a painting by Anselm Kiefer; in my bathroom, a photo by Helena Almeida.

What is the most impratical work you own?

I would say it is “challenging” more than “impractical” because it is not a video as such, but Unending Lightning (2015–ongoing) by Spanish artist Cristina Lucas, a computer program displaying information on three screens, an ongoing archive of aerial bombings. It continues to update itself and confronts us with ongoing atrocities.

From the left sculpture by Luigi Ontani, in the middle: photo by Masbedo and on the table Ippolito Caffi, on the floor video installation by Matthias Brunner, on the right: Michelangelo Pistoletto. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

From the left sculpture by Luigi Ontani, in the middle: photo by Masbedo and on the table Ippolito Caffi, on the floor video installation by Matthias Brunner, on the right: Michelangelo Pistoletto. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

What work do you wish you had bought when you had the chance?

Anish Kapoor in the ’80s and even later! I had the chance to see for the first time some works by Kapoor in Sicily during the ’80s along with the art critic Demetrio Paparoni, but I missed that opportunity.

If you could steal one work of art without getting caught, what would it be?

Definitely a Cretto by Alberto Burri.

From the left: Ettore Spalletti, Alighiero Boetti, Damien Hirst, Cy Twombly. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

From the left: Ettore Spalletti, Alighiero Boetti, Damien Hirst, Cy Twombly. Photo by Sebastiano Pellion, courtesy Beatrice Bulgari.

Fondazione In Between Art Film’s first exhibition, “Penumbra,” runs April 20 until November 27 2022 at Complesso dell’Ospedaletto, Cannaregio, Venice. inbetweenartfilm.com


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