With fashion month nearing a close, London is gearing up for its next big event: the Frieze Art Fair. Valeria Napoleone (pictured, left, wearing an Osman dress), one of London’s most important collectors, got the crowd warmed up for it last night with a dinner at her art-filled Kensington Palace flat, where she and guests like Tom Dixon, Julie Verhoeven, Osman Yousefzada (pictured, right), gallerists Amanda Wilkinson and Kate MacGarry, and Frieze’s Belinda Bowring celebrated the launch of her new Koenig-published book Valeria Napoleone’s Catalogue of Exquisite Recipes.
Napoleone’s culinary prowess is nothing new; unlikely as it may seem for an aristo like herself, she’s long done much of her own cooking. (“My tiramisu is quite famous,” she once bragged to the FT.) Her twin passions are food and art. (Fashion is a close third, and she’s been active in areas that combine it with art, serving on the judging panel of the MaxMara Art Prize for Women.) And food and art come together in the new book, which includes works by artists including Goshka Macuga, Pamela Fraser, and Monika Baer—women all. The unifying theme of her collection is its feminist slant: She collects only works by women artists.
“I didn’t start off thinking, ‘Oh, I am only going to collect art from women,’ ” she explained over herbed veal and polenta (her own recipes). “No, it all started for me in the late nineties when I went to New York and women like Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger were doing these amazing things. I was fascinated and noticed they were very underrepresented in galleries and in the press, so that was the moment it all happened. I have not looked back since.”