There are many stories I would like to tell from my work over the last 14 years promoting Italian art, but the story behind Alighiero Boetti’s Column is particularly interesting. When I received a call from Giorgio Colombo, a dear friend and photographer of Boetti, I knew he would tell me about something special. Over dinner prepared by his dear wife and lifelong companion, Piera, Giorgio relayed many amusing, rarely-told anecdotes about his life with the artist. They then asked us to sell their Column by Boetti, a hugely important Arte Povera work, which made me extremely happy — nothing as important by the artist had been offered on the market.
When Column arrived in London, Giorgio and Piera came to install the work, composed of thousands of doilies each one laid on top of the other. Piera prepared the doilies and Giorgio carefully placed them on the tube of the column. Colleagues and I joined in stacking the doilies and it was this collaborative atmosphere that left the greatest impression on me. I felt as if I was at one of the great Arte Povera exhibitions of the 1960s when collectors, artists and historians all worked together to make the event a success and change the world. Boetti’s Column sold at £2,434,500 — a record price for the artist.