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Museum of Modern and Contemporary House Cavazzini

Home > Venice > Architecture | Art | Cultural Events | Exhibitions
by Marta Pin (subscribe) MP
Published June 18th 2017
Modern & Contemporary treasure in the heart of Udine
Casa Cavazzini is a three storey house from 1550 which has been transformed into a modern and contemporary museum in Udine, which includes hundreds of working of arts. The venue, since 1537, is a private house and a fabric shop. It also was owned by the merchant Dante Cavazzini, who had rented the spaces on the ground floor to stock and sell fabrics for furniture.

When the landlord Colombatti passed away, Cavazzini bought the whole palace and broadened his private rooms and business areas. After Cavazzini's death, the house was donated by the family to the council of Udine, which decided to appoint the architect Gae Aulenti as the leader of the entire renovation process. Nowadays, we can admire beautiful and significant art collections in those 3500 square meters all the year long.

Entrance and ground floors

I visited it for the first time, on the ground floor there was an area reserved for temporary exhibitions, in this case, it was Paradoxa that was set up. The concept focused on the theme of the dark within the Chinese culture. Prints, paintings and videos of three Chinese artists were displayed in the renovated area. Right now that exhibition is over, but I cannot wait for the next one.

A few rooms are reserved for conferences and events and one in particular still shows the arcades typical of a house of XVI century. This, simplified in a contemporary key and white painting, it is quite fascinating and adds mystery and curiosity on the structure.

Back to the entrance, evergreen pieces are exposed to the visitors. On the wall at the left, there is the model of Mirko Basaldella for the Cancellata delle Fosse Ardeatine's work. This is basically an artistic fence created to commemorate the horrifying episode occurred in Rome during the Nazi occupation.

On the opposite side, giant letters made in PVC are hung on the wall. They represent the idea of Marotta and Russo to identify the twenty most popular words used in the art literature.

Down in the centre of the room, a Venetian basin-tank from XVI century had been discovered during the works and now is preserved as an important archaeological artefact.

First Floor

The first floor tour starts with the Marangoni Collection and its artistic works dated between 1800 and 1915. Marangoni was a rich merchant who had arranged the increase of his collection even after his death, by nominating the Council of Udine as his legitimate heir in order to provide new acquisitions and care to his assets.

Walking on, a couple of rooms are dedicated mainly to the production of Basaldellas Brothers (Dino, Afro and Mirko). Outstanding sculptures of Mirko are placed in a fantastic frescoed area. They are the following:

Wood trophy coloured in ocher and white:
Mahogany wood beak bronze chimaera;
Shouting concrete chimaera

In the second part, Afro and Dino's works prevail in the exhibition. Nonetheless, the sketch for la Cancellata delle Fosse Ardeatine designed by Mirko is hung on the wall close to the door that marks the begin of another section of the museum.

Indeed, on this side of the building, we will find the original apartments of Cavazzini. The structure was restored at that time by Ermes Midena and painted with beautiful scenes by Afro Basaldella, which are still intact and visible as well as the furniture.

Now, it includes the collection of works of the 1930's avanguarde of Friulian artists and their friends and workmates. One of the main pieces here is the Chimera in stoneware by Arturo Martini.

Second floor

The second and last floor consists of two important permanent exhibitions. The first one is the Astaldi Collection, donated to the museum by the Astaldis, a couple of entrepreneurs and intellectuals who developed a great interest on the artistic panorama of the last century.

Thanks to Mrs. Astaldi, who was born in Tricesimo, a town close to Udine, the collection has found a permanent place in the city. The number of the canvas and sculptures is one hundred and ninety and it begins with the drawings of:

Alberto Savinio
Filippo de Pisis,
Renato Guttuso,
Antoniett Raphael,
Mario Mafai
Anton Zoran Music

ny more.

Particularly, among those works, there were some who caught my attention for the techniques that had been used to realise them. For example, Gentilini mixed oil paint and sand to create his paintings, while Picasso and Braque produce coloured lithography.

Franco Gentilini

Pablo Picasso

Georges Braque

Right now, while I am writing, the temporary exhibition on Mattotti''s comics is over, but if you hear this name around, do not hesitate and go to visit one of his displays. This retrospective is useful to understand how much effort and organisation skills exist behind the production of this art series in pastels and ink.

The last are of the itinerary is reserved to FriAM - Friuli Art Movement group: it rose in 1976, following after the terrible earthquake occurred in the Friuli region. The project engaged one hundred of artists from U.S.A., who donated a total amount of 113 art pieces. Initially, the purpose aimed to sell all the stock in order to get funds for the reconstruction, but at the end the major decided to add it in the regional artistic and cultural heritage. Amazing examples of this collections are, to mention a few:

Horizontal 4 colors, a colored silk-print scree by Sol Lewitt;
no title lithography by Frank Stella,
Elaine e Willem De Kooning canvas;
June in January, a pop acrylic-painting by William N. Copley

Frank Stella

June in January
William Copley

The Udine website specifies that the works of arts belonging to the permanent collection rotate accordingly with theme and topic changes within each exhibition.
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Why? Art
When: Every day except Mondays
Where: Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia
Cost: 2-10 euro
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