The story of a 10 million euros art collection
Abandoned in an orphanage in Bucharest, adopted by a rich Italian family, having Silvio Berlusconi as his godfather, he is a 34-year-old entrepreneur who is proud to declare himself Romanian. He picks young artists “with very special styles and skills,” hoping to discover the next Picasso or next Modigliani. All the while, he wants to prove that every work of art is an invitation to mankind: “Through Creation, you see the Creator.”
Three decades since the fall of Communism in Romania, gruesome images of yore still haunt the country: thosands of abandoned children, caged in rusty beds, starving, crying and ceaselessly rocking their frail bodies. He could have been one of these orphans, but God – Whom he invokes every two-three phrases – had a different plan for him.
Little Nicolae (named so in honour of “the most beloved son of the people,” Nicolae Ceaușescu) would eventually grow in Sicily and Southern France, in a wealthy family whose history dates back to the Renaissance. The illustrious ancestors of his adoptive parents were helping Michelangelo paint the Sixtine Chapel and gave seven Popes to the Vatican.
Today, Nicolae wants to be a link between their heritage and the native country that he can’t help loving. He does this through a company founded in 2004 that buys contemporary artists, encourages them while they are unknown, then sells their works for much higher prices. In a decade the value of his collection rose from a few tens of thousand of euros invested initially to ten million euros according to an evaluation made by Sotheby’s in 2014.
“I am an orphan and I will remain one. I know that, as an orphan, I am nothing, therefore I can become anything,” says the young man who is a prosperous art merchant, amateur painter, author of two books and even… theologian, as he is currently enrolled in a Catholic seminary. In The Art of Living‘s Summer Issue 2015, he will talk about his bewildering life history, his art creeds and future plans – including the one to open a museum in Bucharest.
Before that, he’d like art lovers to pay attention to some artists whom he is certain they will be worldwide famous someday: paintresses Séverine Deslions, Ruthy Février, Christane Foglia and writer Myriam Le Corre (France); sculptor Răzvan Mihăescu and photographer Albert Takacs (Romania); and Belgian painter Melvyn Barros.