Finally, Strokes Drummer Fabrizio Moretti and Art Dealer Fabrizio Moretti Are Teaming Up—on an Old Masters Show at Sotheby’s

It’s the partnership we didn’t know we needed—and maybe still don’t: the drummer of the Strokes, Fabrizio Moretti, is joining forces with art dealer Fabrizio Moretti for a “creative collaboration” in the form of an exhibition and auction of Old Master art at Sotheby’s next month. 

The show, titled “Fabrizio Moretti x Fabrizio Moretti: In Passing,” will present 20 Old Master paintings and sculptures selected by Moretti the art dealer, who runs the London-based space Galleria Moretti. The works will be presented in a series of interactive, maze-like installations designed and fabricated by musician Moretti, who goes by Fab. It will be on view at Sotheby’s New York for three days leading up to a live auction on December 18.

“I was attracted to this project by this idea of perspective,” the musician said in a statement. “It is pervasive throughout all aspects of this exhibit, starting simply by the fact that it involves one name but two pairs of eyes.”

For his part, Moretti the dealer wanted to “select a range of artists to feature in the sale,” from the well-known to the anonymous, he said in a statement. Works by Taddeo di Bartolo, René Frémin, and Battistello Caracciolo are among the gallerist’s choices, all of which he will consign himself.

“What unites [these artists] is their mastery over their craft and their exploration of the universal themes of the human condition,” he said. “I was intrigued to collaborate with another Fabrizio who shares my name, a man who is both a respected visual artist and musician who excels across disciplines, much like the artists featured in the exhibition, and to re-discover these themes with him.” 

It’s been a big year for the dealer. Last month, he acquired—on behalf of a couple of collectors—a painting by early Italian master Cimabue for $26.8 million. The painting was found hanging above a hot plate in the home of an elderly woman in France. 

The Sotheby’s Moretti mashup is the latest in a larger effort by the auction house to make Old Masters seem hipper by enlisting celebrity help. In 2016, it tapped James Franco to make a gooey short film about Renaissance sculptor Della Robbia, while in 2018 it worked with Victoria Beckham on a show in London. In September of this year the house asked the cast of the film The Goldfinch about which old artwork they would most want to save from destruction.  

And while “In Passing” is a rather blatant example of this strategy, it is undeniably fun when two people who share a name meet. Like when artist Nick Cave once met musician Nick Cave, or that time Michelangelo the Ninja Turtle confronted the Renaissance master at the Met

It got us thinking: What are some other pairs of same-named art worlders and celebrities that should meet? Has artist Phil Collins ever met Genesis’s Phil Collins? Has painter Chris Martin met his Coldplay namesake? Timothée Calame and Timothée Chalamet don’t technically share the same name, but it would be cool to see them get together all the same. Paul McCarthy is just a small typo away from Paul McCartney—now that would be a collaboration. 

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