T he 2015 sale of a portion of Ernesto Esposito’s contemporary art collection at Sotheby's revealed the eye of a connoisseur. Today we continue the discovery of his taste with the upcoming sale of furniture from his apartment in Rome.
The famous shoe designer is an inspired collector of everyone from Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Jannis Kounellis, George Condo and Richard Prince to Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Jeanneret, Serge Mouille, Mathieu Matégot.
Do you remember your first purchase?
Yes, it was an Electric Chair by Andy Warhol that I paid for in installments, from Neapolitan dealer Lucio Amelio. I was about twenty years old. Thanks to him I met some wonderful artists: Joseph Beuys, Jannis Kounellis, Andy Warhol. After that, as soon as I earned some money I would use it to buy art.
And your first design purchase?
The Standard chair by Jean Prouvé. I find it to be sublime and very comfortable. I am not a fan of soft cushions.
Your Roman apartment is like a showcase for French design. Why is that?
When I was working with Sonia Rykiel, and then with Marc Jacobs for Vuitton, I spent 50% of my time in Paris and went to art galleries a lot. I immediately loved the French design of the 1950s because it is so very avant-garde. At the same time, in Italy, design was much more decorative. Of course, Gio Ponti made some very beautiful pieces, but there is less of the rigor that I like and that I find in a piece of furniture by Prouvé or Perriand. And it works very well with contemporary art. When I look at Le Corbusier's library, I see a Donald Judd!
In the sale, there are still the Superleggera chairs by Gio Ponti...
Yes, because they are revolutionary and very pure. There are also the Medea chairs by Nobili, which are divine. They remind me of Anish Kapoor.
Do you still collect today?
Yes, I still buy avant-garde things, which then become classics. I think I have a good eye.