A collection of Italian modern art
8 February – 31 March 2019
From 8 February 2019, an exceptional nucleus of thirty two works by some of the most important exponents of Italian twentieth-century art will join the collections of Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art. The artists in question are Massimo Campigli, Carlo Carrà, Giacomo Manzù, Ottone Rosai, Scipione and Mario Sironi.
The works come from well-known and prestigious Italian collections, including that of the writer and art promoter Margherita Sarfatti, of the publisher Pietro Vallecchi, of the art critic Raffaele Carrieri, of the lawyer and President of Brera Academy Rino Valdameri, of the engineer Alberto Della Ragione, of the lawyer Pietro Feroldi, of the entrepreneur Carlo Frua De Angeli, of the publisher and critic Giampiero Giani, of the trader Gianni Mattioli.
The works arriving today at Ca’ Pesaro on long- term loan from a private collection include a number of significant masterpieces, partially first presented in 1953 at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, in an exhibition on Gianni Mattioli’s collection curated by Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, partially in the inaugural show of the Galleria d’Arte Moderna of Turin in 1959 and eventually toured a number of American, Japanese and European museums between 1967 and 1972.
To welcome the visitor on this journey through Italian art between the two world wars, there are five works by Massimo Campigli, including such famous paintings as The Amazons, 1928, The Jailer’s Daughter, 1929 and Woman with Jewels, 1942, which was painted in Venice, to which the painter moved at the outbreak of war and which was displayed in the autumn of 1945 in a solo exhibition at the galleria del Cavallino.
The years of the ‘return to the order’ in Italian painting are then illustrated by some exceptional examples in terms of quality and compositional originality, realised in the early 1920s by Carlo Carrà. The aim was to do away with the fleeting moment and movement caught on canvas, an approach favoured not only by the Impressionists but also the Futurists, and with the rise of the modern and technological city in favour of the revival of a classical compositional form, but arranged in line with new vocabularies: balance, composure, measure, research into archetypal forms. A founder and master of Futurism, then protagonist of the return to order, Carrà now enters the Museum with five works, including Morning by the coast, of 1928, which establishes a virtual dialogue with the permanent collections of Ca’ Pesaro.
Five works by another Italian master, Ottone Rosai, now enter the Gallery. He was an exponent of the revival of synthesis, as Margherita Sarfatti defined it, and of a compositional essentiality that enjoyed great success in the European art scene between the two world wars.
A large room is dedicated to a fundamental artist for the development of Italian art, Mario Sironi. The group of eight Sironi pictures entering Ca’ Pesaro today includes a masterpiece of 1923-24 – The Drinker – formerly the property of Margherita Sarfatti. A second masterpiece by Sironi also dates from the 1920s – Pandora (The myth of Pandora), 1924 – which depicts a monumental figures of a woman in a rocky, uninhabited, almost primordial landscape.
Finally, a room shows forms of painting that reveal alternative and complementary approach to that of the Italian ‘return to order’: masterpieces by Gino Bonichi, called ‘Scipione’, with bright colours and perspective boldness typical of expressionist painting matured in the Roman scene. This was a school of art that rejected the fascist regime and also the realism of Italian twentieth century art and anticipated the post-war developments by making colour explode on the canvas and creating a new compositional balance. Likewise, the geometric and mural painting with which Sironi experimented between the 1940s and 1950s led to the art of the following decades and towards the disintegration of matter typical of the Informal school. The extraordinary collection closes with a small but fine selection of sculptures and drawings by Giacomo Manzù, one of the greatest exponents of figurative sculpture of the last century.