This book explores the visual evolution of the legendary connoisseur and philanthropist Roberto Polo through a selection of over three hundred masterpieces and magnificent gemstones from the extraordinary collections which he has formed.

At an early age, Roberto Polo revealed a powerful talent as a visual artist, exhibiting his work in major art museums and galleries. Thanks to his profound knowledge of art history and theory, he also revealed an astonishing talent for identifying exceptional art and gemstones from many periods and origins. Roberto Polo was educated at the Corcoran School of Art, where he was appointed professor at the precocious age of sixteen, and at Columbia University. At the age of twenty-four, he conceived and organized the now landmark exhibition Fashion as Fantasy, featuring works especially created by fifty-four exhibitors, including David Hockney, Robert Motherwell and Andy Warhol.

Roberto Polo was instrumental in founding Citibank’s Fine Art Investment Services, the first department of its kind in the banking industry. In 1981, he left Citibank and became an independent art and gemstone investment advisor. During this period, he formed collections of French eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth-century fine and decorative arts, as well as of gemstones, described by Le Journal des Arts  as ‘anthological’. In 1988, the French Republic bestowed on him the medal of Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et de Lettres for his contributions to French art and culture.

In the same year, he became the victim of a Kafkaesque judicial affair from which he rose in 1995, according to The New York Times , as ‘the wonderful phoenix of the art market’, now championing Historical Design and Modernism independently and through Galerie Historismus. Described by Le Figaro  as ‘The Eye’ and by Architectural Digest  as ‘The Trendsetter of the Art Market’, Roberto Polo continues to follow his edict that one should only acquire art which was revolutionary in its time.

Exquisitely illustrated with over four hundred colour photographs, and with texts by leading art and jewellery historians, this book is a fascinating insight into the man described by Art & Auction , as ‘one of the ten people who have made a difference in the art market’ and an illuminating account of his forty years of collecting activity.

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