The Artist in Conversation - Pamela Talese


A Conversation with Pamela Talese, Robert Simon, and Luigi Ballerini
December 12, 2019

PAMELA TALESE has been painting the urban landscape in New York since 2000, and in 2012, began making annual visits to Rome. THE THIRD ROME: Allegorical Landscapes of the Modern City is the first exhibition in an ongoing project exploring the rioni of Rome outside the “centro storico” — those areas reflecting the dynamic growth and transformation of the city in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. THE THIRD ROME complements the artist’s work in the outer boroughs of New York City, which treat similar issues, though manifested in disparate visual and cultural environments.

ROBERT SIMON is an art historian, art dealer, and lover of Rome. THE THIRD ROME is the first solo exhibition by a contemporary artist at Robert Simon Fine Art, although one which extends to the present day the tradition born in the Renaissance of using Rome as both subject and inspiration.

LUIGI BALLERINI is Emeritus Professor UCLA, Distinguished poet, translator, food historian, and critic, and author of the essay “The Foro Mussolini and The Marble Boys of Yesteryear” that accompanies the photographs by George Mott's FORO ITALICO (PowerHouse Books 2003).

PAMELA TALESE : The Third Rome

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Allegorical Landscapes of the Modern City

November 7 - December 15, 2018
Opening Reception, Wednesday, November 7th, 6-9pm

Hours: Monday - Friday, 10am - 5:30pm
Also Open Saturday December 1st, 8th and 15th from 11 - 5pm

*As featured in The New Criterion’s Critic’s Notebook!

Paintings of modern Rome by New York artist Pamela Talese will be featured in an exhibition opening November 7th at Robert Simon Fine Art at 22 East 80th Street. The group of small-scale oils reflects the painter’s multi-year exploration of late nineteenth century and twentieth- century sites and neighborhoods of the city overlooked by tourists but vibrant with the energy of contemporary life and redolent of their fraught twentieth-century past.

THE THIRD ROME takes its title from Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini’s celebrated dictum that “After the Rome of the emperors, after the Rome of the Popes, there will come the Rome of the people.” This became a cultural mantra for Mussolini during his regime (1922-1943) – and one that was manifested by the massive transformation of the architectural and civic landscape of the city. Many of the buildings and monuments of the Fascist era remain, accompanied by the long shadow of pseudo-populism.

This is the first solo exhibition by a contemporary artist at Robert Simon Fine Art, which specializes in Old Master paintings. Robert Simon comments, “This is not the Rome of Panini or Piranesi, but one unvarnished, so to speak, and one which reveals the tragedy as well as the triumph of the city’s history. The contrasts of the brutal elegance of the modern structures, both appealing and unnerving, with the older architecture creates a dialogue that raises issues that resonate today: the transience of political power, the tragedy of demagogic populism, and the vitality of the individual.”

Many of the paintings were completed on site during Talese’s annual visits to Rome, which began in 2012. Nearly half were done around the Foro Italico (formerly Foro Mussolini) in Rome’s northern section. Built between 1928 and 1938, the Foro Italico was a sports complex intended for the Olympic Games --as well as a school where young boys trained in aggressive combat sports which, Mussolini believed, would develop the qualities of good soldiers. Throughout the park, the giant figures of Carrara marble stand naked and posed – each holding the implement of his sport. Talese’s re-imagined interpretation of their classical style portrays both the visible and invisible, past and present, experience and evidence, of these ordinary people, civic leaders, tyrants, and of course, defeated heroes.

“Benito Mussolini was the Robert Moses of Rome, both ‘master builders’ with megalomaniacal views of what their city should look like regardless of the people who lived in it,” notes Pamela Talese. “Mussolini’s Third Rome was one of constant and remorseless demolitions in the city center which outpaced the building of new neighborhoods on the periphery. By the early 1930’s, this propaganda-driven planning left at least 25,000 Romans homeless.”

The themes of Talese’s previous exhibitions “718,” focusing on sites in New York’s outer boroughs, through “Rust Never Sleeps,” an essay on industrial decay, find new life in this ancient city.

For more images from the exhibition, including installation views, please click through to our contemporary page:


Image: Marble Athlete With Club from the Province of Lecce. Oil on panel, 9 3/4 x 9 3/4 in

The Unbroken Line: Old and New Masters Exhibition

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The exhibition has been extended until June 8th.



The Unbroken Line: Old and New Masters
May 11 – June 8, 2018
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11:00am – 5:00pm

Robert Simon Fine Art and Grand Central Atelier present an exhibition of contemporary paintings and drawings alongside old masters works, revealing the unbroken line of fine art into the 21st Century.

Art historian and art dealer Robert Simon will curate a selection of Old Master paintings and drawings paired with new works by New York-based painters, Jacob Collins, Colleen Barry, Anthony Baus, Will St. John, Edward Minoff and Justin Wood, who are all principle instructors at Grand Central Atelier, one of the world’s premier ateliers training artists in the classical tradition of drawing, painting and sculpture. Included are select works by recent graduates Rachel Li, Savannah Tate Cuff and Dale Zinkowski.

These 21st Century atelier artists are carefully attuned to the idea that in order to evince this language with roots in the ancient world, one must first be a humble observer of nature and bear witness to its nuance and sensitivity. When fully realized through years of serious commitment to study, this language possesses great power to communicate the human condition with limitless beauty and endless variation.


(Clockwise from top left)
Simon Vouet (Paris 1590-1649) Portrait of a Young Man, oil on canvas, 16 ¾ x 13 ⅝ inches; 
Anthony Baus, Self-Portrait, 2017, ink and wash on paper, 11 x 15 inches;
Colleen Barry, Black Hat, 2018, oil on wood, 12 x 12 inches;
Donato Creti (Cremona 1671 – Bologna 1749) Study of a Young Man, black chalk with white heightening on paper, 16 ½ x 12 inches.
All images are details.

Winter Antiques 2018


Robert Simon Fine Art is proud to be exhibiting at the 2018 Winter Antiques Show.
JANUARY 19 - 28, 2018
Booth 56
Debuting collaboration between the artist Vera Lutter and Robert Simon Fine Art!
For more information on the artist:
TUESDAY :  12 PM–4:30 PM
•    OPENING NIGHT PARTY -  January 18, 2018 (Purchase tickets here )
•    MUSEUM NIGHT PARTY* -  January 19, 2018
      *Please note that an institutional email address is required for registration. RSVP here.
•    YOUNG COLLECTORS' NIGHT PARTY - January 25, 2018 (Purchase tickets here)
Daily entry tickets available to our clients and colleagues upon request

MFA Boston's "Made in the Americas"


The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, has opened a superb exhibition “Made in the Americas; The New World Discovers Asia.”  It is a brilliant exploration of the international trade and influence of Asian works of art in the Colonial periods in  both North and South America – a story that could only be told through the decorative arts.

We were pleased to see that one of our alumni is included in the exhibition, an eighteenth-century Peruvian painting in an extraordinary shell encrusted frame, acquired from us by the Hispanic Society of America.  It appears in the center of this view of one corner of the exhibition.

The exhibition is on view until February 15, 2016.

“Made in the Americas” will then travel to Winterthur, where it can be seen from March 26, 2016 until January 8,  2017.

Podcast Interview

Artists and Interviewers Tony Curanaj and Edward Minoff

Robert Simon was the featured guest
on Episode 21 of the podcast


Robert talks with artists Tony Curanaj and Edward Minoff about Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi

More About the Suggested Donation Podcast:

Suggested Donation is a podcast devoted to the arts in all forms. Hosted by two contemporary painters, Tony Curanaj and Edward Minoff, the conversations provide an insight into the creative mind. By speaking with both traditional and non-traditional artists and craftsmen, curators and restorers, we create a dialog through which we discover common ground across disciplines and spaces united by a love of and deep devotion to skill.

Our guests will range from curators to chefs, tattoo and graffiti artists to an artisanal bicycle maker. As many of these craftspeople frequently use painting as a metaphor for excellence in their own sphere, our conversations will explore this link in the interest of restoring a broader devotion to skill in the arts. We aim to alter the very landscape of the contemporary art world one conversation at a time, including discussions with other contemporary artists who place a lesser value on craft, even outsourcing the production of their art, to explore the foundations and legitimacy of that phenomenon. In our talks with artists in our own vein, we will delve into the fine distinctions that define each of us as individuals and promote connoisseurship amongst our listeners.


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We are pleased to announce the sale of a highly important painting by the Mexican master Miguel Cabrera to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 

This lost work was one of two canvasses missing from Cabrera’s celebrated series of sixteen casta paintings.  It is undoubtedly the best preserved of the set and the only example still retaining its original scroll format. We are proud to have established its identity and honored to have represented the painting’s owner in securing its acquisition by the museum – a discovery described by the Los Angeles Times as “a major event in the art world.”

On View at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
from April 10th, 2015

Our thanks and congratulations to LACMA, to curator Ilona Katzew, and to Christina Jones Janssen.

T | The New York Times Style Magazine 

One of our alumni, now in a private collection was featured in the March 29, 2015 issue of T; The New York Times Style Magazine.  Our handsome Angel Arcabucero appears in “Latin Glamour” – subtitled “Modern architects, artists and designers find inspiration in the colorful, sensuous landscapes and indigenous flora of the region south of the border.”

St. Martin's Church, Houston


Robert Simon Fine Art is pleased to announce its recent sale of an altarpiece 

by Ippolito Scarsella, called Scarsellino:


The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Ippolito Scarsella, called Scarsellino

(Ferrara, ca. 1550-1620)

The Rest on the Flight into Egypt

Oil on Canvas, 69 ¾ x 48 ¼ inches (177 x 125 cm)

Above: The painting on the cover of  The Star , St. Martin's Parish Magazine

Above: The painting on the cover of The Star, St. Martin's Parish Magazine

Currently on view at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas.

Our thanks and congratulations to the St. Martin's and their Supporters.