Twentieth century Italian art collection
Risale alla fine degli anni Settanta del secolo scorso l’idea di modificare la destinazione d’uso di Palazzo Ricci da edificio di rappresentanza della Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia di Macerata a vero e proprio spazio museale per ospitare quel primo nucleo di acquisizioni, già fatte dalla stessa negli anni precedenti, che darà avvio all’attuale collezione d’arte italiana del Novecento di proprietà della Fondazione Carima.
Oltre trecentocinquanta opere tra pittura e scultura italiana del XX secolo danno corpo alla raccolta, facendone un caso unico nel panorama del collezionismo privato di origine bancaria, tanto per la sua specificità quanto per gli artisti presenti in essa.
These masterpieces, a part of which is on display at the Palazzo Ricci Museum, offer an excursus through the movements and major protagonists of twentieth-century Italian art, which ideally begins with the sculpture Ecce Puer by Medardo Rosso, a prominent figure in the passage between the nineteenth century and the twentieth century, which Umberto Boccioni, in 1912, highlighting the revolutionary significance, defines: “the only great modern sculptor who has tried to widen the horizon of sculpture by making plastic the influx of the environment and the invisible atmospheric bonds that the bind to the subject “.
In the years of his stay in London (1905-1906) the portrait of the young Alfred William Mond, commissioned by his father Emil, grandson of the industrialist and collector Ludwig Mond, also known as Portrait de l’enfant Alfred Mond and Enfant anglais .
Numerous existing versions of the work – about fifteen of them in chalks, waxes and bronzes – and precisely from the plaster, preserved in the Museo Medardo Rosso in Barzio (LC), the Turin sculptor has made this splendid example in bronze.
From the sculpture of Medardo Rosso we pass to the great names of the first and second Futurism – Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini and Giacomo Balla – to which works such as Portrait of a woman must be traced, respectively (1909-10), whose perfect balance of chromatic and luministic fabric, composed of irregular, swirling, short or slipped brushstrokes, favors the union between form and surrounding space. In the painting some stylistic affinities with other portraits realized by the artist in the same period can be recognized, in particular with that one known with the title of Spring (1909) or even more with Portrait of the sister who reads (1909); even in our case, in fact, the reproduced young woman could be Amelia, sister and muse of the painter. Sunset with two sheaves (1905), in which Gino Severini prefers to examine the effects of natural light, in particular the twilight, on the landscape, also aided by the wise use of the pastel technique. Lines-force of the sea (1919-1920), executed by Giacomo Balla after the cycle Lines-force of landscape (1917-1918), part of a nucleus of twelve canvases of the same format, inspired by the theme of the sea and sails.
No less interesting is the still life with fruit bowl and dove (1914) by Ardengo Soffici, an integral part of the decorative cycle of the “Hall of the Mannequins” for the house of Bulciano (AR) of his friend and scholar Giovanni Papini, which bears witness to the artist’s profound knowledge of Cezannian and Cubist poetry, the fruit of his Parisian stays.
The second Futurism also includes names of the stature of Fortunato Depero, Enrico Prampolini and Ivo Pannaggi. Precisely the latter, an eclectic artist and signer of the famous Futurist Mechanical Art Manifesto , the collection presents a nucleus of twelve works ranging from the beginning to maturity, including the famous painting entitled Treno in corsa (1922).
Futurist echoes find fertile ground in Macerata that, in the course of just over a decade (1932-1944), sees the establishment and activity of the “Futurist Group” or “Gruppo Boccioni”, with exponents such as Bruno Tano, Umberto Peschi, Sante Monachesi, the young Wladimiro Tulli and many others.
The virtual journey in the collection of the Carima Foundation continues with the father of the Metaphysics Giorgio De Chirico and his brother Alberto Savinio (Andrea De Chirico), present with a nucleus of six works, among which Papera (1930-1931 c.) And Le Muse disturbing (1950); the latter, in which the dictates of metaphysics are condensed, becoming almost a sort of ideal manifesto.
The metaphysical experience also passes through the artistic evolution of Filippo De Pisis and Giorgio Morandi, who are represented in the collection by works of maturity. The first, in fact, is documented with four paintings, made between 1934 and 1949, of which we note Bambino con cocò (1941) where stands the faithful parrot that usually accompanied the artist; while the poetics of the second materializes in Vaso di rose (1947) and Natura morta (1962).
From the ranks of the Novecento group – loudly proclaiming the “return to order” as the foundation for an art that recalls antiquity, the purity and perfection of forms, as well as the harmony of the composition – artists of the caliber pop up by Leonardo Dudreville, Primo Conti, Carlo Carrà, Mario Sironi and Arturo Martini. All present with works of great quality, as in the case of Study of character or Testa d’uomo (1921) by Leonardo Dudreville which, in harmony with the German New Objectivity, seems to immerse the figure in a Flemish twilight so as to make it stand out with raw truthfulness of the features of the face.
The painting Mother and child is placed at the turn of the nineteenth-century stylistic figure and metaphysical reminiscences (1934) by Carlo Carrà, in which the ascendancy of the Italian “primitives” (Giotto, Paolo Uccello, Piero della Francesca) and some clear references, in the shapes and volumes of the protagonists, to the models of Picasso remember the Twenties . The artist offers a singular interpretation of the iconography of motherhood, devoid of that intimacy that usually characterizes it, because it is more interested in the arrangement of figures and objects and in their mutual relations and with the surrounding space.
The constitution of what Roberto Longhi called the “School of Via Cavour” (Roman School), which finds its promoters in Mario Mafai, Scipione (Gino Bonichi) and Antonietta Raphaël, dates back to the late twenties. From the association of the three, a painting that is sensitive to European expressionism, visionary-symbolic, with warm and bright tones, which inflames every inch of their works, starts. The founders of the “Roman School” are represented in the collection by particularly significant paintings, as well as that heterogeneous group of artists who animated the “second season” of the same, which extends to include the thirties and the second post-war period. In particular, six paintings, among which masterpieces such as La Piovra stand out (I molluschi, Pierina has arrived in a big city, 1929) and Still life – Figs split on the table (1930), and seven drawings document the brief but intense artistic career of Scipione from Macerata, struck down at the age of 29 by tuberculosis. The aforementioned paintings are inspired by the theme of still life, made through a unique aerial perspective. The second, in particular, depicts the five halves of the fleshy fruit arranged on a red-hot surface; they are pagan representations, remnants of magical and esoteric rituals, in which molluscs, feathers, severed lamb’s heads, playing cards or the same obsessively open figs as vaginas, seem nightmares of a condemned man. The pictorial material of these paintings corresponds perfectly with the subjects: sumptuous and soft, spread on the table in dense and vibrant brushstrokes, sometimes scratched with the handle of the brush, makes one think of a sort of erotic encounter rather than a simple description of objects. Both in the portraits and in the biblical scenes and still lifes the color is the absolute protagonist: gray, purple, ocher but above all red, in its many shades, invades the whole pictorial surface overflowing from the contours and dissolving the forms and volumes .
Going through the exponents of the Corrente group, headed by Ernesto Treccani, the Maceratese collection continues giving ample space to non-figurative research between the two wars, which in the following decades come to be connected to abstract and informal languages. Examples are Atanasio Soldati and Mauro Reggiani, active in the Thirties around the Galleria del Milione and then in the Movimento Arte Concreta (1948-1958), Osvaldo Licini and his lyrical abstract art that will result in the famous production of his “Amalassunte”, while Sintesi (1950) by Piero Dorazio documents the activity of the Roman group of Forma I.
The informal finds its greatest protagonists in Lucio Fontana, with the works Concetto spaziale (1958) and Concetto spaziale. He waited (1966), which testify to the artist’s experiments first in the series of “inks” and then in the famous series of “cuts”, and in Composition (1954) by Alberto Burri, close to the “Pages” series in terms of type and size in which the flap of sack used is subject to abrasions, sutures, tears, burns and holes, culminating in the central vertical tear in response to the well-known “cuts”. Lucio Fontana’s spatial movement is approached by artists such as Roberto Crippa, Gianni Dova, Tancredi Parmeggiani, Emilio Scanavino or Giuseppe Capogrossi present in the collection with late works of various informal implications.
Emilio Vedova, on the other hand, after a first phase linked to figuration, decides to explore the possibilities offered by a violent and dramatic gestural painting with influences of Action painting, as documented in carpet bombing and shooting , both of 1951.
From the many protagonists of the abstract and informal research the path winds through the Italian Pop Art with exponents such as Mario Schifano, Tano Festa, Valerio Adami, Emilio Tadini, Lucio del Pezzo, Tino Stefanoni up to the sculptors Gino Marotta and Mario Ceroli.
Finally, the collection is completed by a substantial group of sculptures documenting the plastic research of the 20th century, from the aforementioned Medardo Rosso to the works of Arturo Martini, Pericle Fazzini and Mirko Basaldella up to the great protagonists of the post-war period, such as Pietro Cascella, Edgardo Mannucci, the Pomodoro brothers, Francesco Messina, Emilio Greco, Valeriano Trubbiani, Giuliano Vangi, Augusto Perez, Giacomo Manzù, Luciano Minguzzi and Umberto Mastroianni.