Il Sole 24 Ore

Nicola Zanella, NOMAD St Moritz, 28 Feb 2023

Nomad St. Moritz: An abundance of transactions and refinement. 

The occasion contemplates sustainability through exceptional initiatives that cultivate an exchange between art and design. The environment proved to be exceptionally favorable for networking.

Nomad, the peripatetic exposition devoted to collectible art and design, made its winter sojourn in St. Moritz (February 22-26) this year. It established its presence at the Grace La Marna St Moritz hotel, designed by architect Nicolaus Hartmann in the early 1900s - a 5-star institution scheduled to inaugurate this summer that is still undergoing restoration. It presented a coarse yet hospitable juxtaposition to an exhibition centered on elegance, albeit manifested in a diverse fashion. The creation of Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte and Giorgio Pace has arrived at its seventh edition amidst the Swiss Alps and this year accommodated 30 galleries and exceptional initiatives - the latter centered around the unifying theme of sustainability.

The Highlights

In order to pay homage to the location that accommodates it, the excursion of Nomad can only commence with the most costly painting exhibited at the fair. A diminutive work (in this locale there are more issues with space than with price) entitled “Head” by Francis Bacon portraying a stylized head “in his characteristic manner” is available for purchase from Larkin Erdmann of Zurich for 4.5 million Swiss francs. The gallery proprietor is exceedingly confident of its sale to collectors encountered at the fair, with three expressing strong interest in this museum-caliber piece.

One of the most triumphant and culturally pertinent projects is that of Fornasetti. The central theme is playing cards: for this occasion several original lithographs by Piero Fornasetti emerge from the archives and are revitalized as they become an integral component of root furniture crafted by adept hands. The title of the project is “a good hand,” a dual reference to both fortune in cards and artisanal expertise. Of this series, a root trumeau for 60,000 euros and a screen for 50,000 euros stand out; while the price tag on a small object box is 3,000 euros. To remain aligned with icons: in the '50s Fornasetti created a screen with an identical theme for Frank Sinatra.

Supporting corridors and communal areas are Alexander Calder’s lesser-known tapestries titled “Balloons” adorned with geometric decorations crafted from jute in an edition of 100. They attracted buyers from day one with prices hovering around 75,000 euros fluctuating like dimensions brought to fair by The Gallery of Everything from London.

Another emblematic figure is Rolf Sachs who at Nomad unveils a thematic exhibition: Alpine Suite, in tribute to the Swiss Alps. The artist who oscillates between art and design has as his objective to craft emotive works irrespective of their intended function: a chair fashioned in the likeness of a sled, a rake repurposed into a coat hanger, a lyrical photograph portraying the impression of a boot upon snow. The alpine-surrealist touch was highly esteemed with prices spanning from 4,000 to 80,000 euros.

Not solely renowned names but also investigative designers and artists proffering original creations with domestic applicability. The vibrant ceramic candlesticks shaped like artichokes crafted by Lola Montes Schnabel as an homage to Sicily and showcased by Nilufar are priced at 3,600 euros for an individual candlestick. Exceptionally Instagrammable are Hugh Findeltar’s vases molded in the shape of heads presented by The Spaceless Gallery with blossoms serving as punk coiffures. Prices ranging from 25,000 to 55,000 euros have elicited robust sales feedback.

Perpetually crafted from Murano glass albeit recycled are Christian Pellizzari’s lamps (12,000-30,000 euros) that contemplate how nature acclimates to climate change. His palm-shaped creations at Brun Fine Art’s exhibit in an uncharacteristically temperate St Moritz serve as a potent admonition.

The Contemporaneity

On the contemporary art forefront, the exhibition by Yves Scherer at the Norwegian gallery Golsa distinguishes itself with an introspection on our era’s preoccupation with fame and the famous. The undisputed centerpiece is a steel sculpture portraying Johnny Depp and Kate Moss reclining together at nearly life-size. The prices sought range from 15,000 to 32,000 euros.


To categorize Nomad as merely a fair would be rather reductive; its diversity renders it more akin to a platform where art design and fashion engage in discourse. The target demographic remains consistent. Amongst the special projects is one endorsed by Gucci: “Artists in Flux,” wherein the works of the previously mentioned Yves Scherer and Lola Montes Schnabel and the captivating carpet of Nepalese artist Tsherin Sherpa are juxtaposed in a multidisciplinary exhibition. The project is inherently peripatetic, with an impending stop scheduled for Milan.

For those who were not firsthand witnesses to Milan’s drinking culture, Nomad’s inauguration served as an exceptional time capsule. Lombardy’s capital city once again rampant has descended upon St Moritz en masse with its entourage of furs, abundance of effervescence (Franciacorta being this edition’s wine collaborator to underscore the prominent presence of premium Made in Italy) and suggestive surnames meandering about the hotel: Berlusconi (Barbara), Gucci (Allegra), Trussardi (Beatrice), but also Francesca Ruffini and numerous international monikers including Eugene Niarchos. A multitude of architects and designers were also in attendance. Nomad’s weekend coincided with another event that lured many high spenders to St Moritz: The ICE, one of the most prestigious assemblies for vintage automobiles. All this culminated in elation for gallery proprietors with copious sales from the onset primarily towards residents and vacation homes in the vicinity - essentially zero-kilometer sales wholly adhering to this year’s defining motif.

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