The chief executive officer and creative director of The Pellicano Hotels Group, which includes Italy’s sought-after luxury destinations Il Pellicano, La Posta Vecchia and Mezzatorre, and founder of lifestyle website Issimo, has handpicked a selection of artworks for an auction that will be open for bidding from July 8 to 14.
Sciò’s edit will include pieces from Lucio Fontana, Man Ray, Jean Arp, Mimmo Rotella and Atsuko Tanaka, among others. Highlights of this selection will be exhibited at Sotheby’s outpost in central Milan from July 12 to 14, too.
Sciò said she has had an innate interest in art from a young age. The daughter of an Italian businessman and an American artist, she described her upbringing in Rome as between two parallel cultures.
“It was very influential having an American mother living in Rome. On a weekend, we would explore the city’s historical sites, which so many Romans take for granted when they live among these beautiful things, and then we’d travel to the States where I would see incredible contemporary art,” she said. “It was super exciting and a whole new world opened up for me — it created a dialogue in my mind between past and present.”
This approach informed her career as architect, interior designer and eventually her work for the group’s hotels. For example, at La Posta Vecchia, Roman artifacts from the collection of John Paul Getty — who previously owned this Renaissance villa — are exhibited next to contemporary furnishings.
“I want people to feel like we have blown the dust off of something that already exists, as ultimately, it is about staying true to a location’s soul. For me, it is all about the feeling you get from being somewhere, and I want people to feel curious, to feel enriched, to discover things and to experience a bit of magic,” she said.
She embraced her role as cocurator for the Sotheby’s auction with the same spirit, picking artworks that sparked an emotional reaction in her.
“Art gets me in two ways — through my head and my heart. It has to be intellectual but, above all, emotional,” said Sciò.
“There aren’t any guiding principles that draw me to an artwork. Different artists do different things for me. Art moves me, it makes me calm. It makes me still, but it can also make me agitated. As humans, we are made up of so many different emotions, and a specific artwork can pull on specific strings. For my curated edit, I selected artworks that elicited these alternate feelings, whether that be joy, calm, anger, happiness and much more.”
For instance, she included in the selection Man Ray’s “Optic-Topic” mask artwork, finding it “very sweet.”
“The mask that we all put. It’s intimate, and the depth of the mask makes me look inward. It also makes me think of psychoanalysis,” she noted.
Jean Arp’s 1962 “Constellation d’anniversaire” is also part of the selection, with Sciò underscoring it’s “abstract but because of the soft lines, it’s also quite relatable, not too strong. It’s kind and it feels organic and intimate.”
A big fan of Lucio Fontana, Sciò added the artist’s 1967 sculptures “Concetto spaziale, Natura” in her edit, as well as Asuko Tanaka’s 1986 “D1” piece.
“There is a joyfulness to this painting, and also a rigor. I really like the mixture of both. I like the ‘free’ hand quality. I love circles and the infinity they represent. It also feels spontaneous. It reminds me of my art teacher from Rhode Island School of Design, Alfred De Credico,” she said about Tanaka’s work.
With an estimated price tag of between 130,000 euros and 180,000 euros, the priciest artwork in the selection is Mimmo Rotella’s 1961 “Serata Eccezionale,” which also holds a personal connection for Sciò.
“I love Rotella’s work and I always liked his use of collage — it’s a way of expressing yourself through a third medium: paper. This work has a real intimate quality to it and I really like this intimacy; it reminds me of my diaries,” she said.
The artworks’ estimates range from 5,000 euros to 180,000 euros, as the “Contemporary Curated” project was conceived to offer the opportunity to approach art not only to established buyers but burgeoning collectors, too.
Beyond Sciò’s curated selection, the auction will include pieces by emerging artists including Robert Nava, Jody Kerwick and Izumi Kato, whose works will be offered in Italy for the very first time. These items will be presented alongside prominent names of the Italian and international art scene, ranging from Michelangelo Pistoletto to Andy Warhol.
Sciò joins a range of creatives and fashion-related personalities who have previously participated in the Sotheby’s “Contemporary Curated” project, including Margherita Missoni, Kim Jones and Virgil Abloh, among others.
The format debuted in New York in 2014, before launching in London and Hong Kong in 2016 and 2021, respectively. The project launched in Milan in 2020, when Sotheby’s asked jewelry designer and Fendi family member Delfina Delettrez to curate the inaugural sale. Last year, Anna Dello Russo was tapped to cocurate the sophomore edition, which saw pieces by Kaws, Damien Hirst, Invader and Mario Schifano included in her selection.
The appetite for art is ever-increasing. This edition of “Contemporary Curated” in Milan will follow Sotheby’s first live sale of contemporary art in Italy since the pandemic, which achieved an above-estimate 14.2 million euros in sales in April, the highest total since November 2019 and a figure in line with pre-pandemic levels. According to the auction house, 95 percent of the offerings found new homes, with three-quarters of those selling for prices in excess of their high estimates.
In addition to her artistic sense, Sciò has a strong background in architecture. After the diploma at the Aiglon College in Switzerland, she moved to the U.S. to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, where she got her degree in architecture. She started her career in the field in New York at Costas Group, before returning to Italy to work with the master of modern architecture, Massimo Zompa. The experience introduced her to the world of interior decoration, which eventually encouraged her to establish her own interior design firm in Rome.
In 2005, Sciò started working at Il Pellicano as an architect, restoring some rooms before moving to renovate the whole location, as well as curate the entire aesthetic concept, from graphics to sales materials. Starting in January 2019, she also took care of the latest addition to Pellicano Hotels Group, the Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa on the island of Ischia, which reopened that spring.
To offer a digital extension of the Pellicano universe, during the pandemic Sciò launched Issimo, a platform offering an immersive journey into Italian culture via editorial content and an e-shop. Filtered by her tasteful eye, the online store showcases a lineup of quintessentially Italian apparel, swimwear, footwear, accessories, home décor and food by brands including Max Mara, Larusmiani, Borsalino and Officina del Poggio, as well as a range of capsule collections developed with La Double J and Aquazzura, among others.
As reported earlier this year, after a two-year hiatus due to lockdown, Matchesfashion resumed its partnership with Sciò on The Grand Tour Italy series of immersive consumer events, hosting cocktails, dinners, private art tours, cultural experiences and pop-up shops on the peninsula.