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A little Picasso, anyone?

The black room in the Opera Gallery of Monaco. From Chagall and Botero to up-and-coming artists, this gallery tucked away in the principality quickens the pulse of every art collector.

People stop involuntarily as they walk past the gallery. Each window features an eye-catching piece of art including, until recently, a life-size wooden sculpture by Manolo Valdés of Spanish Queen Mariana de Austria that is loosely based on a painting by Velasquez from 1652-53. The queen was a real obsession of Valdés, who created numerous, sometimes larger-than-life sculptures of this royal personage using materials from wood to bronze, but always featuring a protruding hairstyle in the Baroque style and a crinoline that reaches to the floor. Attractions such as these are important for Opera Gallery, which has branches across the world and is well-established in the art industry.

The gallery is accessed via a narrow frontage comprising the entrance door and three tall, thin windows, but it opens up into a surprisingly spacious interior (the gallery is over three floors in total). The Black Room is located on the top floor and is the most impressive space in the entire gallery, with well-known artists such as Renoir and Botero on display.

This space is also sometimes used for solo exhibitions, when the entire gallery is dedicated to the presentation of a single artist. An exhibition of work by the Swiss painter Andy Denzler is set to continue until 8th July.

Denzler is a figurative artist with a distinctive technique. His large-format paintings show figures with blurred contours that take on a somewhat shadow-like effect, achieved by scraping a blade across wet paint. Denzler’s work has already been exhibited at other branches of Opera Gallery and has attracted interest from collectors.


Alfred Thum