From Florence to Centuripe. The masters of the Alberto della Ragione Collection on a trip to Sicily – Enna

Enna – There are the streets of Bagheria crossed by Renato Guttuso’s brushes, and the madmen of the island of Italo Valenti, Sironi’s sailing ship and the houses behind the fields immortalized by Rosai.
These are some of the paintings made by early twentieth century artists owned by Alberto Della Ragione, a decisive defender of artistic freedom and the antagonistic function of the Avant-garde.
“Above all, he knew how to give us what we needed most: trust and friendship. She lived with us with the same passion, she burned with the same flame ”wrote Renato Guttuso in 1961 about the engineer, patron and collector from Campania. The historic collection that bears his name, consisting of over two hundred works, donated by the engineer to the Municipality of Florence in 1970, in the aftermath of the violent flood that hit the city in 1966, and today preserved in Twentieth century museum of Florence, now points south towards Sicily.

Massimo Campigli, Two dancers, 1938, Photo Library of the Florentine Civic Museums

The collection ranges from Second Futurism to Magical Realism, highlighting above all the works of the masters of the Roman School. Della Ragione had responded to the appeal launched by the art historian Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti, who had decided to establish an International Museum of Contemporary Art, as a symbolic compensation for the damage suffered by the Florentine historical and artistic heritage.

From 29 July 2022 to 8 January 2023a selection of 41 masterpieces from the Alberto Della Ragione Collection will be at the Antiquarium of Centuripe, in the province of Enna, at the center of the exhibition The Masters of the Twentieth Century: from Guttuso to Vedova. Works from the Alberto Della Ragione collection.
The project curated by Sergio Risaliti, director of the Museo Novecento, was born from the collaboration between the Municipality of Centuripe and the Museo Novecento in Florence, with the aim of making available a selection of masterpieces exhibited for the first time in Sicily and coming from a of the most important collections dedicated to Italian art of the twentieth century.

Mario Sironi, The sailing ship, circa 1929-1931, Photo Library of the Florentine Civic Museums

“Since 2018 the Museo Novecento – declares Sergio Risaliti – has been involved in the enhancement of the Alberto Della Ragione Collection, with projects ‘exported’ outside the metropolitan city of Florence. A large number of works from the collection of the engineer-collector was presented in Salò, before arriving in Livorno. Having overcome the obstacle of the pandemic, the works of the civic collection have returned to travel, and this time they arrive in Centuripe. On this occasion we focused our attention on the humanistic character of many paintings made by the Italian artists of the first half of the twentieth century, where the passion for human affairs, the daily environment, nature and the historical dramas experienced at the time emerge. which these works were made “.

Renato Guttuso, Strada di Bagheria, 1939, Photo Library of the Florentine Civic Museums

Thus, retracing the will of the great patron, the legacy goes beyond the city and regional borders to arrive in Sicily, in Centuripe, with a selection of works ranging from Renato Guttuso to Emilio Vedova, from Mario Mafai to Filippo de Pisispurchased by the courageous collector still wary of the production of his time.

From the moment Della Ragione began to offer its support to young artists, often neglected by the market and by official critics, his contemporary art collection, which was already one of the largest in Italy in the 1940s, grew progressively. The collection reveals the taste of the engineer oriented, in the choice of artists and works, towards the more traditional genres, from still life to portrait, from landscape to female nude, without however ever totally denying figuration.

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