Friday morning saw Venice bathed in brilliant sunlight; the perfect weather for a breakfast on the Redentore Rooftop Terrace of the Gritti Palace – the perfect setting to introduce the inaugural Sotheby's Prize. The forty guests included Giulio Manieri Elia, the Director of the Gallerie dell'Academia, a number of international curators, directors and artists and members of the Sotheby's council. After a freshly prepared Venetian breakfast from the Gritti Palace chefs, the esteemed guests chatted animatedly with the Sotheby's hosts, Eric Shiner, Senior Vice President of the Fine Art Division, Robin Woodhead, Chairman of Sotheby's International and David Goodman, Executive Vice President of Digital Development and Marketing.
ROBIN WOODHEAD, CHAIRMAN OF SOTHEBY'S INTERNATIONAL WELCOMES GUESTS TO THE REDENTORE TERRACE OF THE GRITTI PALACE. PHOTOGRAPH: MOLLY SJ LOWE.
David outlined the concept of the prize, which officially launched last week to the assembled directors and curators, explaining that the annual prize will be allocated to support ground-breaking and thought-provoking exhibitions and curatorial initiatives.
The sizeable reward demonstrates Sotheby's commitment to: "finding new ways to work with museums and the wider art world in general". Robin Woodhead, one of the key developers of the prize, spoke about this as an opportunity for Sotheby's to support the: "smaller, more important dialogues that exist in the art world", explaining that the winner will receive social media and marketing support alongside the prize money.
SOTHEBY'S DAVID GOODMAN INTRODUCES THE PRIZE TO THE ASSEMBLED GUESTS. PHOTOGRAPH: MOLLY SJ LOWE.
Sir Nicholas Serota, chairman of the Arts Council, and one of the panel selected to adjudicate the prize, voiced his support for the 'marvellous' idea, adding that he was: "honoured to be part of such a distinguished jury".
In addition to Nick the panel of judges on the prize comprises Connie Butler, the Chief Curator at the Hammer Collection, Donna de Salvo, the Whitney's Chief, Okwui Enwezor, and Allan Schwartzman, a founding member of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.
SIR NICHOLAS SEROTA ADDRESSING GUESTS AT THE EVENT. PHOTOGRAPH: MOLLY SJ LOWE.
After the speeches people made their way downstairs, ready for a day visiting some of the older sights that Venice has to offer, including the Santa Maria della Salute as part of a tour led by the charitable foundation Save Venice.