The 20th-century artworks that make up the Intesa San Paolo collections gather together an artistic heritage from the numerous banks that merged with the Group, as well as outlining a cultural itinerary that spans the entire century. The current collection widely showcases the events and protagonists of 20th-century Italian art: from Boccioni’s four masterpieces to works by Balla, Carrà, de Chirico, Funi, Mafai, Sironi, Rosai, Spadini, Tosi, Zanini (in addition to a large presence of authors “regional” in scope whose works date back to the early 1900s), all the way down to the most sizeable section, which covers almost every single trend proposed in late 20th-century Italian art.
Especially well-documented is the section featuring authors such as Fontana, Dorazio, Turcato, with a focus on the movements that flourished in the immediate aftermath of World War II: Spatialism, which took shape in relation to Fontana’s proposals; Nuclear art, promoted in Milan by Enrico Baj and Sergio Dangelo; Informalism, driven by Burri, Corpora, Scanavino, Scialoja, Tancredi; Concrete art (Dorfles, Munari, Reggiani, Soldati); the Gruppo degli Otto (“Group of Eight”, Afro, Birolli, Corpora, Moreni, Morlotti, Santomaso, Turcato, Vedova).
As to the 1960s and 1970s, the pervasiveness of the ensemble of works showcases homogeneous groups within the spheres of the technological and Constructivist avant-garde movements (all the key members of Group T and Group N), of Visual Poetry, of Arte Povera (Paolini, Alighiero Boetti, Merz) and of Conceptual Art (from Agnetti to La Pietra), finally presenting – in a structured fashion – Italian Pop Art (Ceroli, Festa, Schifano, Rotella).
Several works attest to the rich panorama of art produced in the 1980s and 1990s, ranging from technical and operating trials to a renewed interest in paintings (the members of the Transavantgarde movement, authors like Vanessa Beecroft or artists who gave rise to debates about photography, like Silvio Wolf).
An important group of sculptural works ranges from the significant presence of works by Arturo Martini, Arnaldo and Giò Pomodoro, Pietro Consagra and by foreign artists such as Arp, Mirò, Vantongerloo, with the marble sculptures produced in the 1960s for the Henraux Foundation in Carrara, to important works by leading sculptors from the 1960s-1970s and beyond – such as Colla, Pascali, Spagnulo, Staccioli, Carrino.
Last but not least, in addition to the sphere of sculpture, works of considerable value by foreign artists – from Picasso to Kandinsky to Riopelle, Matta and Warhol – denote the collection’s receptiveness to the international panorama, albeit maintaining its specific interest in Italian art.
Cantiere del ’900 (“20th-Century Worksite”) is a project for the enhancement of the over 3,000 works from the 20th century belonging to the Intesa Sanpaolo collections. The innovative “variable geometry” results in an interesting rotation of the artworks on display and of the layout of their staging, making the most of a prominent collection.
Inaugurated in March 2015, the new staging – thematic in layout – presents 79 works. The common thread is the idea of “shape” and its possible implementation – both in visual terms and with reference to the conceiving and realisation of the work itself. The pinpointed themes are the starting point for a reflection on key aspects of last century’s art history and criticism: shape, space, time, colour, figure and landscape. A selection of especially significant sculptures welcomes visitors to the main hall, giving rise to a dialogue between the geometries, the ideas originating the artworks and the space where they are displayed.