CEO & Founder of Concha Barrios Gallery From Madrid, Spain
Looking back, it seems incredible that more than forty years have passed since I opened my first gallery on calle Claudio Coello in Madrid. A long journey, during which I have kept my faith with the fields that I have specialised in since I started out as a dealer: Old Master and 19th-century painting and sculpture.
Over the years I have developed a particularly special connection with 19th-century painting. This was undoubtedly a bold choice at the time and one that took me around Europe and Latin America in search of works by Spain’s greatest 19th-century artists, who had been largely forgotten by art historians and the art market. This was an arduous task and one of which I am extremely proud as it has allowed me to contribute to the reassessment of what I consider a key period of Spain’s cultural heritage.
Within that endeavour to give more visibility to forgotten masters, over the years I have devoted particular attention to the study of their masterpieces and to offering them to leading museums in order to make them accessible to the wider public. Among the institutions that have acquired works from the gallery as part of this process of “rediscovery” are: the Museo de América, the Royal Palace in Madrid, the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Córdoba, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Bilbao, the Museo Nacional de Cerámica y Artes Sunturarias, the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (Belgium), and the Museo di Trento (Italy).
Another fundamental aspect of my activity has been participation in leading art and antiques fairs in Spain and abroad, including TEFAF (Maastricht), TEFAF (Basel), the BIENNALE INTERNAZIONALE DELL’ANTIQUARIATO (Milan), the MOSTRA INTERNAZIONALE DELL’ANTIQUARIATO (Florence), the SALON DU COLLECTIONNEUR (Paris), IFAE (Palm Beach, Miami, USA), and FERIARTE (Madrid).
Finally, I would like to mention my late husband, the reputed Neapolitan antique dealer Claudio Brandi, who taught me to love the decorative arts. During the 26 years that we were together we worked side by side in what for us was not a mere profession but rather a shared passion that was, is and always will be a way of understanding life.