Art & Business semester alumna Anna Maria Amato is an accomplished author and Head of International Exhibition and Underwriting at ARTE Generali. She spoke with us about the recent launch of her company’s UK fine art branch, her journey to authorship with a book on Raphael, and the Sotheby’s Institute of Art experience.
How would you describe your Sotheby’s Institute experience?
If I review everything from today's perspective, I can say that it was an extraordinary experience that had a surprisingly, and unexpectedly, strong impact on my life. Thanks to Sotheby's Institute, I managed to immediately join a network of professionals focused on the fine art world in the UK and beyond. My career started at Sotheby's Institute, the knowledge and experience gained gave me the solid foundation on which I’ve been able to build everything that happened afterward.
What drove your decision to apply to Sotheby’s Institute and what did you study?
I think the enviable reputation of Sotheby's is world renowned and I had always been in awe of the long list of famous and illustrious alumni of Sotheby's Institute. I wanted to move to London and I saw Sotheby's Institute as the most ambitious of goals, I believe it is the most authoritative and valuable place that I could join to broaden my fine art knowledge. I had a passion for art and held a degree in Fine Art and Conservation of Cultural Heritage and a Master’s Degree in Management of Cultural Heritage, but I felt that Sotheby's Institute could elevate my understanding and give me some of its authority and precision.
What does your current role at ARTE Generali entail?
My position is Head of International Exhibition and Underwriting with a focus on insuring the fine art risks of our clients. This sounds easy, but the role of any underwriter has changed dramatically over the years! My day is focused on providing advice and ways to best manage or mitigate risks, ultimately providing a tailored insurance solution. Given the complexity of rising values and the more complex risk environment, this keeps me very busy, but helping clients to preserve, protect, and pass on invaluable and irreplaceable works of art to future generations is my passion.
Tell us about the recent launch of ARTE Generali’s UK fine art branch?
Since the time of its founding—and I'm talking about a little less than 200 years ago—Generali has been committed to the arts; it is a historic insurer of fine art throughout Europe. Its focus on the universe of art is also evidenced by the extraordinary portfolio of historic buildings it owns. Today we have teams dedicated entirely to fine art in most of Europe, particularly in France, Germany, Italy, and in the United Arab Emirates. London is obviously a key part of this project, and from London we work to secure the broadest international proposition for our brokers and clients.
You’re also a published author, having written a book on Raphael. What motivated you to take on this project?
It is another side of my boundless love for art. The book is designed for both art experts and those who might have less expertise but are interested in learning more about the painter and his works. The opportunity to write about Raphael came about during the 500th anniversary of his death and the long series of celebrations organized for this occasion. I participated in one of the most important celebrations, the exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, where I was appointed the position of Fine Art Broker for this large exhibition while I was working as European Head of Fine Art at the broking firm Lockton. Unfortunately, the exhibition had a tortuous fate as its opening coincided with the first lockdown during the pandemic. However, in 2022, the book had the great fortune and honor of being displayed at the National Gallery bookshop in London during the retrospective of Raphael.
What advice or tips would you give to Sotheby’s Institute applicants?
It is crucial to make the most of the experience and to deepen your knowledge so that you can then reap the benefits of the course. Sotheby's Institute is an infinite space of opportunity with the highest quality of faculty and an extraordinary network of students. The courses give you priority access to institutions, galleries, auction houses, and museums, that is why the course is so important and valued by its alumni.