The Archive Alighiero Boetti has been created in Rome in 1995 by the initiative of the two families of the artist. From 2002 Boetti’s second wife decided to leave the archive and create the Alighiero e Boetti Foundation.
Anne Marie Sauzeau, the artist’s first wife took then the archive’s direction in 2005.
The archive does not own any artworks by the artist but only documents, photographs, biographies and anything related to the work of the artist. It follows two main purposes: first, the archive wants to be the most philological source of information about Alighiero Boetti’s work. In pursuit of this aim the catalogue raisonné edited by the archive has arrived at the third volume, which will be published soon (the fourth and last catalogue is expected by 2020), while, at the same time, there is a rigorous artworks cataloguing, full of information: “Each artwork is catalogued under 3 profiles (on paper and digitalized). Date, typology and whether it belongs to a collection. Every artwork’s history is also linked to exhibitions and publications, that is why we collect almost every catalogue, monograph, article and photographic documentation concerning exhibitions”.
The second main purpose, strictly linked to the first, to guarantee a correct knowledge of the artist’s whole production, is the expertise and authentication work, for which the archive represents the main institution: “To feed the archive with new artworks entails a constant relationship with the outside world and an inflexible examination before we register new works. That is why we monthly organize expertise meetings to release authenticity or falseness certifications. It is a very meticulous work and of high legal responsibility, but the art market is reassured by it; in auctions no artworks are sold without our authentication”.
Mrs Sauzeau says that this is their main effort, so to be able to control fakes circulation: “New technologies permit that forgers try to do sophisticated operations. That is why we often make preliminary seizures by the Corpo dei Carabinieri per la Tutela Patrimoniale. This is a very unpleasant job, long and patient, but a lot of archives succeeded in “cleaning” the art market and, we are on a good way to do it too”.
Beyond the fakes question – which are some of the management problems that archives like this have in common – since you are engaged in a lot of other activities, how do you manage the collaboration with important institutions and museums that want to organize events and exhibitions linked to the artist you represent? “ The difficulty is mainly on the costs of the catalogue raisonné and the management of the archive, because we need a very expert team for such a complex job. We are paid for expertise and authentications, but it is not enough to support all the costs”.
Despite these problems, Anne Marie Sauzeau trusts in the possibility of publishing and soon, the third volume of Alighiero Boetti’s catalogue. Also, she confesses, that one of their future purposes is the fusion between the Archive and the Foundation, so to guarantee a stronger effort for the safeguard and the knowledge of the work of such an influential and internationally known artist such as Alighiero Boetti.
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