Talk – Philanthropy Today: Nicolas Cattelain & Karen Levy in conversation with Sebastien Montabonel

10 May 2014


North Member Programme, Talk

Victoria Gallery & Museum – University of Liverpool
Ashton Street
Liverpool, L69 3DR United Kingdom

Join us for this topical panel discussion.

With the current uncertain economic climate, and against a backdrop of cuts to public funding for the arts which may continue for years to come, cultural organisations are increasingly being encouraged to look beyond the state for their income and support and thus the need for private philanthropy has never been more important. But who are the philanthropists of the 21st century? What motivates them? Do they share the same social conscience of their historical predecessors? What is the role of the private collection in the public collection? And, how can museums and galleries unlock the potential of philanthropy in these tough economic times?

To coincide with the exhibition Nothing Beautiful Unless Useful and its focus on the enlightened socialist philanthropy of Thomas Horsfall in the 19th century, Nicolas Cattelain and Karen Levy, two influential European collectors, will discuss the nature of philanthropy today with Sebastien Montabonel (Founder – Montabonel & Partners – Post-War & Contemporary Art Advisory).

About the speakers

Nicolas Cattelain

Nicolas is rapidly assembling an outstanding collection of art from the 1960s and 1970s, focusing on acquiring key works by a generation of artists who were part of seminal art movements during this period including Zero Gruppe, Hard Edge, Conceptual Art, GRAV, New Topographic and New Objectivity. Nicolas is a Trustee of the Louvre in Paris, Patron of the International Board and of the Photography Acquisition Committee at the Tate, and a Trustee of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, acting as one of the main donors for the Museum’s recent major renovation project.

Karen Levy

From its beginning, Karen Levy has also been actively participating in the building her family’s private collection. The DSL Collection which ranks amongst the most comprehensive holdings of Chinese contemporary art in the world today, encompasses painting, sculpture, photography, moving image, new media and installation and includes works by artists such as Ai Weiwei, Wang Du, and Zeng Fanzhi who were still unknown when the Levy’s began collecting their work, but are now household names across the world. The family are committed to sharing their collection and have pioneered the use of innovative digital technologies to reach new audiences. For example, they have created a website for their collection with a 3-D platform which allows online visitors the chance to virtually view temporary and permanent exhibitions of the collection curated by guest curators, and have made full use of interactive devices such as the iPad to make their collection accessible.

Karen is currently working at Sotheby’s London Private Client Group. Responsible for the European and Asian sectors, her focus is on developing long-term client relationships and new business opportunities. Prior to this, she worked at a number of other leading art institutions and auction houses and coordinated the successful “Art of the World” project at the Shanghai World Expo in 2010.

Sebastien Montabonel

Sebastien‘s many years of experience as European Senior Specialist in Contemporary Photography at Phillips (formerly Phillips de Pury) led him to collaborate with important private and corporate collections. In 2011 he advised Tate Modern on the acquisition of the Jacobson/Hashimoto Collection, enabling it to become the only museum in the West to hold the most comprehensive collection of vintage modernist Japanese photographs. In partnership with the Saatchi Gallery in London, he started The Private Collector Project showcasing influential private art collections to the general public, and orchestrated the first public display of the Franks-Suss Collection at the beginning of 2010. Sebastien’s latest venture is as founder of Montabonel & Partners.


Please note in a change to how this event was originally advertised Eugenio Sandretto Re Rebaudengo is unfortunately no longer able to speak at this event. However, we are delighted to be able to announce that Karen Levy will now be joining the panel.

Free to Contemporary Art Society Members. To reserve a place please RSVP to Mark Doyle /+44 (0)7891 880 498


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