The Appraisers Association of America Honors Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu

April 15, 2020

Photo by Marco Anelli.

Magazzino Italian Art Foundation is pleased to announce that our Co-founders, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, will be presented with the 2020 Award for Excellence in the Arts at the Appraisers Association of America 16th Annual Award Luncheon on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at the New York Athletic Club on Central Park South, New York City. They will be joined by keynote speaker Germano Celant, renowned art historian, curator and theoretician internationally known for his writings on Arte Povera.

Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu developed one of the largest collections of Postwar Italian Art and 20th century Murano Glass in the U.S. “The Appraisers Association of America is pleased to recognize their dedication to Italian art, specifically Arte Povera, and for the creation of an outstanding museum, Magazzino Italian Art, that provides a platform for scholarship and the exploration of ideas,” said Linda Selvin, Executive Director of the Appraisers Association of America.

Selvin added, “We are delighted to have the notable historian, Germano Celant, the Artistic and Scientific Superintendent of Fondazione Prada, Milan and Venice, and the Curator of Fondazione Aldo Rossi, Milan present the keynote address and engage Olnick and Spanu in conversation.”

Since the inaugural Award Luncheon in 2005, this event has grown to include over 300 guests, with leaders in the arts, financial, and legal professions gathering to recognize visionary contributions made to the arts. Past honorees include American anthropologist, educator, and museum director, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Ph.D., artist Mickalene Thomas, artistic director of Serpentine Galleries Hans Urlich Obrist, curator and dealer Jeffrey Deitch, artist Frank Stella, artists Emilia and Ilya Kabakov, art critic Peter Schjeldahl, artist Ai Weiwei, art historian Linda Nochlin, gallerist Arne Glimcher, collector/philanthropist Martin Margulies, former director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Thomas Krens, art historian John Richardson, historian Wendell D. Garrett, artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and arts educator and museum founder Susan Weber.

Co-chairs of this year’s luncheon are Nancy Harrison and Elizabeth von Habsburg, both Certified members in leadership roles at the Appraisers Association. Luncheon attendees include dealers, auction house specialists, attorneys, art insurance professionals, collectors, appraisers, conservators, artists, curators, art advisors, and museum directors, among others.

Guests are invited to attend a reception followed by a sit-down lunch, remarks, presentations and a raffle of artworks.

About Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu

From New York and Sardinia, respectively, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, residents of United States, have developed an extensive collection of Postwar and Contemporary Italian Art. Olnick and Spanu began their collection by acquiring works by Modern masters and American Pop artists. Their admiration of Italian Art and culture and strong interest in exploring conceptual artistic movements took them on a journey that eventually led them to developing one of the largest collections of Postwar Italian Art and an important collection of 20th century Murano Glass.

Longtime supporters of the arts, Olnick and Spanu have continued to further their commitment through The Olnick Spanu Art Program, a one-year artist residency program that invites contemporary Italian artists to create site-specific installations on the couple’s property in Garrison, N.Y. Through this program, they have premiered to American audiences work by ten Italian artists: Giorgio Vigna, Massimo Bartolini, Mario Airò, Domenico Bianchi, Remo Salvadori, Stefano Arienti, Bruna Esposito, Marco Bagnoli, Francesco Arena and Paolo Canevari.

Always fascinated with architecture, Nancy and Giorgio in 2003 commissioned Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza to create The Olnick Spanu House in Garrison, New York. The house reflects a balance between modernism and classicism in dialogue with the scenery and light of the Hudson Valley.

In 2015 Nancy and Giorgio commissioned New York based architect Miguel Quismondo to build a 20,000 square-foot building to host Magazzino Italian Art. The state-of-the-art facility features more than 17,000 square feet of exhibition space as well as a library and office spaces. Miguel Quismondo is the recipient of the 2018 AIANY Design Award in architecture, the Dedalo Minosse International Prize, Regione del Veneto Special Award, the Honorable Mention 2018 AN Best of Design Award for Cultural Space, the runner up for the Up 2018 Building of The Year Award by American-Architects and he was longlisted for the 2019 Dezeen Awards in Architecture, for Magazzino Italian Art. 

Expressing their commitment to philanthropy, Olnick and Spanu are supporters of numerous organizations including AJC-American Jewish Committee, Boscobel, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò-NYU, Castello di Rivoli Contemporary Art, Desmond-Fish Library, Dia Art Foundation, Dieu Donné, Fondazione Mario Merz, Garrison Art Center, Garrison Institute, Garrison Landing Association, ICA Milano, Longhouse Reserve, MAXXI Museum, Putnam History Museum, Scenic Hudson, Inc., RxArt, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Storm King Art Center, The Drawing Center, The Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Arts and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, The Russel Wright “Manitoga” Design Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

On June 4th, 2018 Giorgio Spanu was bestowed the Insignia of Knight of the Italian Republic by President Sergio Mattarella. Cav. Giorgio Spanu is Chairman of the Advisory Board of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at New York University.

About Germano Celant

Germano Celant, renowned art historian and theoretician, is internationally acknowledged for his theories on Arte Povera. Additionally, he is author of more than one hundred publications, including both books and catalogues. He also curated hundreds of exhibitions in the most prominent International Museums and Institutions worldwide. Currently, he is the Artistic and Scientific Superintendent of Fondazione Prada, Milan and Venice, and the Curator of Fondazione Aldo Rossi, Milan, and Fondazione Emilio e Annabianca Vedova, Venice. Recently, he was the Curator of Arts&Foods. Rituals from 1851, the Expo 2015’s Art Pavilion at The Triennale, Milan; in 2016 the Project Director of The Floating Piers, Christo and Jeanne-Claude work at Lago d’Iseo; in 2018 the Curator of the exhibition Post Zang Tumb Tuuum. Art Life Politics: Italia 1918- 1943 at Fondazione Prada, Milan.

About the Appraisers Association of America

The Appraisers Association of America, established in 1949, is the premier association of personal property appraisers who focus on fine and decorative arts and general household contents. Members are required to be certified according to the highest professional standards, known in the field as USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice). Members serve public and private collectors alike to deliver independent, ethical, and objective valuations for insurance, estate tax, charitable donation, equitable distribution, and liquidation purposes.

For further information about attending the event, press or sponsorship opportunities, please visit, or contact Linda Selvin, Executive Director, Appraisers Association of America at 212-889-5404, ext. 12 or via email at