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‘Grand Tour’ revisited in 21st-century style at Venice setting

Image courtesy of Colnaghi and Chahan

VENICE, Italy – Colnaghi and Chahan are pleased to announce a partnership celebrating the timeless appeal and enduring legacy of the Grand Tour. The project will present the home of a 21st-century traveler at the historic Abbazia di San Gregorio in Venice where Chahan Minassian will create a signature atmosphere incorporating master paintings with vintage and modern furniture and design. The Abbazia will open on May 11, coinciding with the launch of La Biennale di Venezia, and will remain open by appointment until November 24, 2019.

Venice has been a central destination for “Grand Tourists” since the 18th century, and its appeal has continued to this day; while the Venice Biennale is celebrated as the grandest event in the art calendar. The city has influenced collectors though the ages, from the British aristocrats of the 18th century, including William Beckford and Horace Walpole, through to great American collectors, such as Isabella Stewart Gardner and Peggy Guggenheim.

As well as illustrating the lifestyle of a modern-day collector, the exhibition at the Abbazia di San Gregorio will encapsulate the timeless spirit of the Grand Tourist in a contemporary setting. Set amidst its medieval architecture, with an expanse of rooms centered around an impressive courtyard, the installation will include works of art spanning the centuries, from master paintings to contemporary design, illustrating how today’s collectors can live alongside their collection.

In addition, Colnaghi has commissioned a website dedicated to the Grand Tour created by the Colnaghi Foundation, an independent charity established to promote historic art to a 21st-century audience. The website explores Venice through notable people, places and sights, and includes itineraries drawn from the diaries of notable visitors over the last 300 years. Click to learn more.

Image courtesy of Colnaghi and Chahan

The Abbazia di San Gregorio was originally built in the 9th century as a Benedictine Abbey. Located centrally on the Grand Canal near Santa Maria della Salute, it was restored in the early 20th century and includes architectural and decorative features spanning more than 1,000 years. The Abbazia has hosted a number of prominent artists including Canaletto (1697-1768) who painted from this site, John Ruskin who studied its architecture in the 19th century, and Andy Warhol whose work was exhibited there in 1988. It was also once owned by Barbara Hutton, the Woolworth heiress, who was briefly married to Cary Grant; he is said to have been gifted the Abbazia as a wedding present.

Founded in 1760, Colnaghi is among the oldest and most important galleries in the history of the art market. The gallery initially established itself in London as the premier dealer of prints but by the end of the 19th century it had begun dealing in Old Master paintings and drawings. Colnaghi soon developed important relationships with museums in Europe and with a new generation of collectors in America, including Isabella Stewart Gardner, Henry Clay Frick, Robert Sterling Clark, and Andrew W. Mellon. As Colnaghi’s ties to the museum world strengthened, so did its commitment to scholarship—a commitment that remains a priority today. Throughout its long and varied history, Colnaghi has successfully evolved and adapted to changes in the market. The latest shift came in 2015 when the company was taken over by Jorge Coll and Nicolas Cortés, who had established themselves as a major force in the market for traditional art through their eponymous gallery. Colnaghi has since strengthened its dedication to scholarship through the development of new academic publications and the presentation of even more diversified works of art. Colnaghi continues to establish new ties to the museum world in Europe and the U.S., working with museums to advance their acquisition and collection goals. Visit:

In 2017 Colnaghi announced the launch of the Colnaghi Foundation, an independent charity established to promote Old Masters and Antiquities to a 21st century audience. The Colnaghi Foundation aims to inspire and excite a wide community of enthusiasts, from new and established collectors to curators, scholars, and students of all ages. Visit:

Based in Paris, Chahan Minassian is an interior designer, collector, gallerist, and antique dealer. He can be defined as an “eye,” developing his vision and inspiration to create signature atmospheres. Chahan Interior Design delivers “haute couture” finished projects all around the world, from super yachts and private jets, to high-end residences and luxury commercial projects. His style is recognized by his mix of textures, pure lines, monochromatic tones, subtle lighting, and timeless designs. These tailored atmospheres are presented with harmony and opulence. Chahan Minassian conceptualizes an architectural space and its contents through the curation of important vintage and contemporary collections. Visit: