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The Mattioli Collection in Milan

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

The Gianni Mattioli Collection has been presented to the public at Museo del Novecento in Milan, in a new exhibition's design. The collection - declared indivisible by the Italian State in 1973 - was donated on loan for five years to the Municipality of Milan by Mattioli's heir, his nephew Giacomo Rossi, one year ago.

Twenty-six masterpieces, some of the most significant examples in the history of Italian art, are on display: from the exponents of the Futurism Boccioni, Balla and Carrà, to the Metaphysic of Mario Sironi, up to the paintings of Giorgio Morandi to whom an entire room is dedicated.

The exhibition's layout has been designed by architect Italo Rota, in collaboration with Artemide srl for the lighting and the Molteni Group for the seating (by Vincent Van Duysen).

Gianni Mattioli (1903-1977) decided to start his art collection after the tragic events of the Second World War: in 1943, he witnessed the first massacre of Jews carried out in Italy by the Nazi occupation troops, at Meina on Lake Maggiore, therefore he committed himself to make the Jews still remaining in Milan safely flee to Switzerland.

Mattioli attributed to art the ability to elevate man from his most bestial instincts, making him rediscover a new humanity.

Soon attracted by avant-garde art and innovation thanks to his frequentation of the group that met in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan around Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Fortunato Depero and the entrepreneur and collector Fedele Azari, Gianni Mattioli began collecting - having the financial means - only after the end of the Second World War, with the precise aim of telling the history of 20th-century Italian art through the most significant and carefully selected examples, starting with Futurism as an international historical avant-garde.

Materia, by Umberto Boccioni, extraordinary for the fusion of the figure of the mother with the environment, was purchased in 1949; the last Boccioni's work entering in his collection, Dynamism of a Cyclist, a perfect expression of movement as a single form made up of body and space, was purchased in 1955.

From 1950 to 1965, Gianni Mattioli began an important work of education and marketing, opening his house-museum in Via Senato to visitors, journalists and art critics, and lending his works to all the major Italian art exhibitions abroad.

Umberto Boccioni. Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio, 1913. Museo del Novecento Milano, Galleria Futurista. Credit: Margherita Gnaccolini

Museo del Novecento Milano, Galleria Futurista. Credit: Margherita Gnaccolini

Museo del Novecento Milano, Galleria Futurista. Credit: Margherita Gnaccolini

Sala Carlo Carrà, Arturo Martini, Mario Sironi. Museo del Novecento Milano, Galleria Futurista. Credit: Margherita Gnaccolini

Umberto Boccioni. Materia, 1912-1913. Collezione Mattioli

Umberto Boccioni. Dinamismo di un ciclista, 1913. Collezione Mattioli


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