Gabrielle Pizzi

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Gabrielle Pizzi (1940 – 5 December 2004) was an Australian art dealer who promoted Aboriginal art from the Western Desert from the early 1980s.

Early life[edit]

Born Gabrielle Wren,[1] in Sydney she moved to Hobart when she was five years old. Later she moved to Melbourne as a teenager.


Gabrielle Pizzi created Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi in 1987 in Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Gabrielle Pizzi always worked with art advisers from community art centres, ensuring that artists were paid correctly and new artists supported. Unlike some dealers who later exploited the boom in Aboriginal art, Pizzi was known as a woman with great integrity who treated the artists with enormous respect.

Gabrielle Pizzi was a pioneer in the Aboriginal art world and made it her life's mission to have Aboriginal art accepted as powerful contemporary art, and since 1990, regularly curated exhibitions of Australian Aboriginal art internationally. Australian Art Collector states that “Pizzi stands alone among commercial dealers in her longstanding efforts to take Aboriginal art to the world.” and describe her as being “… instrumental in securing its international profile…”.(Issue 17, July - September 2001, Hutak, M. 2001)

Gabrielle Pizzi brought the dynamic works of artists such as Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri and Emily Kam Kngwarreye to world audiences, organising exhibitions from Venice to Bangalore, Moscow to Madrid, Kiev to Jerusalem. Her international exhibitions also introduced artists such as Ronnie Tjampitjinpa, Mick Namarari Tjapaltjarri, Narputta Nangala and Emily Kngwarreye, as well as artists from Maningrida, John Mawurndjul, James Iyuna and Jimmy An.gunguna.

In addition to her career as an art dealer, Pizzi was an activist for animal rights and Palestinian rights in Israel.

Personal life[edit]

Pizzi died of cancer after eighteen months' illness.[2] She had one daughter, Samantha, and was the granddaughter of John Wren.


  1. ^ "Gabrielle Pizzi", Australian Women (biography entry).
  2. ^ Gabriella Coslovich, "Farewell to a Trailblazer", Dec. 7, 2004, Fairfax Digital.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jones, Philip. "Gabrielle Pizzi, Gallery owner, collector, 1940-2004", Sydney Morning Herald, 18 December 2004.
  • Coslovich, Gabriella. "Farewell to a Trailblazer", The Age, 7 December 2004.
  • Heide Museum of Modern Art, "Mythology & reality : contemporary Aboriginal desert art from the Gabrielle Pizzi collection", Melbourne, 2003.
  • Hutak, Michael. 2001 "Gallery Gabrielle Pizzi:International Style" Australian Art Collector, Issue 17, July–September, 2001.
  • Kronenberg, Simeon. "Why Gabrielle Pizzi has changed her mind about Aboriginal art / Gabrielle Pizzi tells Simeon Kronenberg", Art Monthly, vol. 85, November, 1995, pp. 7–9.
  • Benjamin, Roger. "The work is the statement : an interview with Gabrielle Pizzi", Art Monthly supplement: Aboriginal Art in the Public Eye, vol. 56, no. 1992/93, 1992, pp. 24–27.

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