Valentina Castellani, born in Boston to Italian parents, grew up in Turin (Italy), where she graduated in Greek Archeology and History of Art with magna cum laude. In 1997 she moved to London, where she worked for Sotheby’s as an expert in the Contemporary Art Department for five years, playing a crucial role in putting together the first “20th Century Italian Sale” auctions and securing for sale important private collections. She continued to work for Sotheby’s as a deputy director in New York, traveling to South America and lecturing at the “Arteba” fair in Buenos Aires and at the Museum of Modern Art of Salvador de Bahia on “Collecting Contemporary Art”.
In 2005 she quit Sotheby’s to join Gagosian Gallery New York as a director, where she organized and curated many historical exhibitions, amongst Francis Bacon Triptychs (London, 2006); Isabel and Other Intimate Strangers. Portraits by Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon (New York, 2008); Piero Manzoni: A Retrospective (New York, 2009), with Germano Celant, which won the Art Awards for Best Exhibition of the year in a commercial gallery and was listed by “Artforum" among the best shows of 2009; Lucio Fontana: Ambienti Spaziali (New York, 2012). In collaboration with Sir John Richardson and the Picasso family she organized and co-curated Pablo Picasso. Mosqueteros (New York 2009); Pablo Picasso.The Mediterranean Years (London, June 2010); L’Amour Fou: Picasso and Marie-Therese (New York, 2011); Picasso and Francoise Gilot. The Vallauris Years (New York, 2012); Picasso and Photography (2014). Francis Bacon: Late Work (2015) was the last exhibition she organized for Gagosian and the first one ever devoted to the artist’s late production.
Besides her involvement in exhibitions, she actively worked in the secondary market, outsourcing important works of art from European collections.
In 2016 she quit Gagosian Gallery to work as an independent dealer.
Since 2019, she teaches as an adjunt professor a course titled ”Market Histories” in the master of Visual Arts of NYU Steindhardt. She sits on the board of the Casa Italiana of NYU and of the Drawing Center of New York.