New York dealer Annina Nosei donates catalogues to Magazzino Italian Art

Annina Nosei, the Italian-born gallerist who was Jean-Michel Basquiat’s first art dealer and staged his debut New York solo show, has donated the nearly three-decade run of her eponymous gallery’s catalogues to Magazzino Italian Art’s Germano Celant Research Center in Cold Spring, New York, the museum announced Thursday (16 May).

Taken together, the catalogues chronicle a “significant and tumultuous period in recent art history”, Magazzino said in a statement. Nosei previously donated most of the gallery’s archive to the Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University (NYU).

Nosei was born and raised in Rome, studied literature and philosophy and worked at Ileana Sonnabend’s gallery in Paris before moving to the US in 1964 to teach at the University of Michigan on a Fulbright grant. She later taught in California and New York.

In 1980, Nosei opened her gallery in Soho. The Annina Nosei Gallery is remembered for helping establish Neo-Expressionist Italian and German figurative painters in the US market, which at the time was flush with minimalism and conceptual art, according to NYU.

She also championed young American artists, and was the first dealer to represent Basquiat, whom she worked with from 1981 until about 1983. She staged his first solo show in New York, and gave him studio space underneath her gallery.

“He had, perhaps, seen in me the mother type,” she told The New York Times in 1985.

More than 35 years after his death, Basquiat remains one of the best-selling artists on the market: this week during the May sales season in New York, an untitled work from 1982, Basquiat’s most sought-after year, sold for $40.2m ($46.4m with fees) at Phillips. The previous owner, the late Italian anthropologist Francesco Pellizzi, had purchased the painting from Nosei.

Besides Basquiat, Nosei worked and exhibited work by artists like Keith Haring, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger and Robert Longo. The Annina Nosei Gallery closed in 2006, and Nosei, now in her 80s, only offers personal consultation services for fees starting at about $2,000, according to her website.

Magazzino Italian Art is a museum located in the Hudson Valley north of New York City dedicated to post-war and contemporary Italian at.