Collection Carlo Cardazzo, Venice/Milan

The Venetian art book editor and collector Carlo Cardazzo (1908-1963) started out his collection of modern art by the end of the 1920s. He opened his first art gallery (Il Cavallino) in Venice, in April 1942, after the enormous success achieved by the exhibition of his collection in two occasions in the previous year. A selection of 100 works of his collection had been presented in April 1941 at the Galleria d'Arte di Roma (the gallery of the National Fascist Trade Union of Italian Artists), and again at a major exhibition of private collections of modern art at Cortina d'Ampezzo (Northern Italy). In the latter Cardazzo was awarded a prize by the Ministry of National Education for the high quality of his collection. By the end of the II World War, in 1945, Cardazzo closed down his Venetian gallery, handing it to the management of his brother Renato, and opened a new gallery in Milan. Despite the misery situation of Italian territory in the imediate post-war period, the activities of his Galleria Il Naviglio were very prosperous and it was to become a reference for the new trends and currents in Italian art in the 1950s. Galleria Il Naviglio would thus be the center of publicizing of Italian abstract art in the 1950s internationally, with the support of the precious friendship between Cardazzo and North-American collector and gallerist.

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Collection Carlo Peroni, Como

Milanese industrial, who gathered a significant collection of Italian modern art in the 1930s and 1940s. Peroni is also known to have used his influence and the strategic location of his summer villa at Como Lake, to help artists being chased by the Fascist regime in Italy - as for instance Aligi Sassu. He had a close relationship with art critic Margherita Sarfatti and her family, as testified by their meetings during summer, when both families were spending time at their villas at Como Lake.

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Collection Alberto della Ragione, Genoa (today partly in Florence)

Engineer and businessman Alberto della Ragione (1892-1973) first started collecting 19th century Napolitan artists. After his visit to the first I Quadriennale di Roma, in 1931, he developed an interest in Italian modern art. Then, he started to build his modernist collection, first through an exchange with Milanese gallerist Vittorio Barbaroux: he gave Barbaroux his 19th century art collection in exchange for works by De Pisis, Carrà, Campigli, Morandi and Sironi. In 1938, through the same Barbaroux, he acquired other works for his collection, among which the famous Autoritratto by Amedeo Modigliani. His collection of modern art was also presented at the exhibition of private collections of Italian modern art at Cortina d'Ampezzo, in 1941. On that occasion he was awarded the title of Patron of the Arts and of the best collection of National Art. The early 1940s is also marked by the important role he played giving support to young artists of the so-called Corrente group - formed by anti-fascist artists. In 1969, approximately 200 works of his collection were donated to the city of Florence, through the mediation of art critic Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti.

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Collection Riccardo Gualino, Turin

Industrial Riccardo Gualino (1879-1964) gathered one of the most important collections of Italian old and modern art in the first decades of the 20th century. He started his collection in 1912. After the end of the I World War, he met art historian and critic Lionello Venturi, who would help him shape his collection of modern art. Together, they formed a notable set of modernist works, often commissioned directly to the artists. After his arrest by the Fascist Regime in 1929, his collection is sold in auction. The famous Autoritratto by Amedeo Modigliani was to be sold in the third edition of the auction, in 1934, passing later on into the hands of Alberto della Ragione.

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Collection Rino Valdameri, Rome

Little is known of the activities of lawyer Rino Valdameri. Apart his making of an important collection of Italian modern art, exhibited at the Galleria d'Arte di Roma, in 1942 (attained then great prestige), we can find traces of his engagement in an editorial project, in France. This involved the reedition of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, in the early 1930s, for whose illustrations was to be commissioned by an important artist of Italian modern art. La Maddalena by Piero Marussig, presented at the exhibition of his collection in 1942, had also been on show at the Venice Biennale in 1938.

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A Collection of Collections

The set of Italian paintings acquired by the Matarazzo couple for the first nucleus of the former São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM) was shaped out of purchases of works that were part of some of the most important private collections of modern art, which had grown in Italian between the wars.

In this section, we point out which works whose provenance have already been identified as to being part of such collections. We also supply information on the collectors behind these works.