The London Old Master dealer Colnaghi has appointed Carlos Picón, a long-time curator The Metropolitan Museum of Art as the director of the firm’s new gallery in New York. Picón joins after almost 30 years at The Met, where he is currently the curator in charge of the Department of Greek and Roman Art. He leaves this position at the end of the year to join Colnaghi, where he will also expand the gallery’s specialisms to include ancient art. Colnaghi’s new gallery will open later this year at 38 East 70th Street in the Upper East Side (open by appointment only).
Picón joined The Met in 1990 and led the 15-year project to renovate and reinstall the New Greek and Roman Galleries, completed in 2007. He also oversaw exhibitions such as Greek Gold: Jewelry of the Classical World (1994-95) and, last year, Pergamon and the Hellenistic Kingdoms of the Ancient World.
Jorge Coll and Nicolás Cortés, who took over the long-established Colnaghi business in 2015, said in a statement that Picón “shares our determination to champion historical art to a younger audience encouraging both new collectors, and the museum patrons of the future”. In the 19th century, Colnaghi forged a strong trade selling European Old Master paintings to collectors such as Isabella Stewart Gardner, Henry Clay Frick, Robert Sterling Clark and Andrew Mellon. Coll and Cortés now “hope to summon today the spirit that inspired our American clients in those times”.
Picón says he feels “blessed” to have spent almost three decades at The Met, but added that “whilst I’m ready to retire from my role there, I know I still have time for another adventure in my career and it feels perfect that this should be working with Jorge and Nicolas, both of whom share my ambition that knowledge and enthusiasm for historic art thrives long into the future”.
In this vein, the firm will also launch the Colnaghi Foundation later this year, a not-for-profit organisation intended to encourage the study of pre-20th century art in the Western European tradition.