My Life in Four Artworks: Francesca Andrews

This year we’re beginning a new series asking our interviewees to choose four works of art that have had a significant impact on their lives. To kick off the series we talked to Head of Digital at Unit London, Francesca Andrews, who previously worked at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac and Dominique Levy Gallery.


What was the very first work of art which ignited your passion and made you consider a career in the art world?

My mum is from Florence, the city of culture. Growing up there we’d visit the Uffizi on an almost daily basis. At the time I very much took the art for granted, but it clearly sparked an underlying passion in me. I remember sitting on a bench in front of Boticelli’s Primavera, fixated on the different characters that didn’t seem to fit together in the picture. Later, I went on to study the same painting as part of my university dissertation on iconography in Giorgio Vasari’s le Vite. Graduating university, it never even occurred to me to work in another industry.

The Uffizi Gallery, Florence. Photo: Michelle Maria / Wikipedia.

Which work of art defines your early career/ university days?

A Castellani artwork from the Superfici series at Lévy Gorvy (formerly known as Dominique Lévy). I was working in their London office, translating Italian poetry and essay contributions for a catalogue they were releasing in tandem with their exhibition – Enrico Castellani’s first solo show in london.

It was the first time I fully appreciated the power of contemporary art to provide a language to express reality – specifically in the case of shadow, here existing only as the negative imprint of presence. Donald Judd aptly called Castellani the father of minimalism.

What was the first piece of art you worked with that took your breath away and left the greatest impression, and why?

While working at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac I was totally blown away by my discovery of Jules de Balincourt. Through his paintings he explores a heightened world: vibrant, sumptuous and unexplored lands, speckled with human figures. I get a real sense of escapism when looking at his work –  it’s like being teleported into my own dreams or imagination.

Georgia O'Keeffe, 'Jimson Weed', 1939, Indianaoplis Museum of Art. Image: Peter Barritt / Alamy Stock Photo.

If you were gifted any piece of art in the world to keep and put in your home, what would you pick and why?

I would pick a Georgia O’Keeffe – one of her flower works. She did these incredible close-ups of flowers that don’t really look like flowers, where she has blown them up. I think she is incredible and has such a huge personality; you can really feel it through the works, they have such a power to them. They are feminine and colourful without being too delicate. I think for your home, it needs to be something you can look at every day; to want to keep looking at it and to rediscover something each time you look at it. The beauty of O’Keeffe’s work is that you can feel her personality through it, it is not just decorative but a statement and an expression of her.

Words by Francesca Andrews.