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

Pt cover.jpg


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

Faces copy.jpg

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.

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.