Wannenes was founded in 2001 with headquarters in Genoa. The history of the company has followed the antique traditions of the city of Genoa intending always to look beyond the present and benefit from the many and varied opportunities that an increasingly international market – as well as an increasingly more sophisticated and selective collecting public – demand today.
The Wannenes, of Flemish origin, arrive in Genoa at the beginning of the seventeenth century in an important moment for the history and culture of the city, in the wake of family interests: they are in fact merchants of art, and will continue to carry out this activity in Italy in the four centuries following, distinguished by the competence and prestige obtained.
Over the years a large amount of art historians, antique dealers, gallery owners, directors of public and private museums, specialised journalists and sophisticated collectors has contributed to the success of the company. The number of auctions has increased as each year goes by and there have been openings of new offices in Rome in 2003 and in Milan in 2008. Following this principle, the Monte Carlo office was inaugurated in 2017, in partnership with Art Contact, a company based in the Principality of Monaco, with the aim of developing its international presence. The aim is to organize auction sales in Monaco, making use of the experience and organizational structure of the auction house, to plan art exhibitions and to provide at the same time a consultancy service for private individuals. In May 2019, Wannenes opened the new Milan office in the sixteenth-century Palazzo Recalcati, in the central via Amedei 8, thus becoming the first Italian auction house with a regular sales calendar divided between Genoa, Milan and Monte Carlo.
So the years have seen the progressive increase in the annual number of auctions, hesitate with success, sales accompanied by catalogs often destined to become scientific reference texts, and very accurate in the typographic guise.
Over these last few years, numerous objectives have been fulfilled, significant moments of a story that has unravelled amid a climate that has often been audacious and always gratifying for the company. This has been the case both in House Sales – several of which have taken place in houses of the utmost prestige – as well as in Department auctions such as the large altarpiece by Ludovico Brea depicting the Ascension of Christ acquired by the National Gallery of Genoa at Palazzo Spinola.
However, the most innovative part of the company has been the creation of the Private Treaties and Single Properties, a new Department that is specialised in the management and sale of private properties and that has placed the company at the highest level in the management of art collections in Italy, attracting the interest of a whole host of international collectors and museum curators towards a new way of buying and selling art and working within the art market. 38 themed auctions from 2009 to today for a total of 41.9 million euro.