and Chahan announced a partnership celebrating the timeless appeal and enduring legacy of the Grand Tour. The project presents the home of a 21st-century traveller at the historic Abbazia di San Gregorio in Venice where Chahan Minassian created a signature atmosphere incorporating master paintings with vintage and modern furniture and design. The Abbazia opens on 11 May, coinciding with the launch of La Biennale di Venezia, and will remain open by appointment until 24 November 2019.
Venice has been a central destination for Grand Tourists since the 18th century and its appeal has continued to this day; 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 encapsulates the timeless spirit of the Grand Tourist in a contemporary setting. Set amidst its medieval architecture, with an expanse of rooms centred around an impressive courtyard, the installation includes works of art spanning the centuries, from master paintings to contemporary design, illustrating how todays 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.
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.