It is with the greatest satisfaction that I open this exhibition space and this project. Being able to pres- ent my collection to the public is the highlight of a journey that has come about over the years, and it illustrates the dedication to art that has always been a feature of my life. The project is the outcome of this long journey, which has been my life as a collector ever since I was young. Over the years I have fallen in love with and chosen the works that now form the heart of my collection. The entire series of paintings and sculptures range from the very early years of the twentieth century through to the present day, with a focus on both Italian and international art. The collection will be shown to the public in its entirety, in two different exhibitions. The first, which we see in first volume, consists of works from the early twentieth century through to the 1960s, while the second exhibition, which will be the focus of the next publication, will start from the 1960s and reach through to our contemporary world. This complex visual panorama is the outcome of a meticulous research that I have carried out throughout my life, and it also illustrates my love of art, which has always influenced my every choice.
I have decided to share my collection with the city of Florence, with which I have a deep emotional bond, so that the values that are inherent in art can be shared publicly rather than kept exclusive and private. I am absolutely convinced of the educational potential of art, which is able to educate and structure the mind, the soul, and the substance of our life. I am therefore convinced that beauty is able to save the world, just as Dostoevsky maintained.
I wanted my works to be shown in a building that represents the popular imagination of Florence – a building with a history and with an architectural significance that means something important for the people of this city. The choice of the piano nobile of the Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni was perfect in this respect. Considered as one of the most beautiful and best-known in our city, the palazzo was built in 1520 by Baccio d’Agnolo and is located at a focal point in the centre of Florence, on the way from Pi- azza Santa Trinita to Via Tornabuoni. The latter is a place that is very close to my heart, for it was here, in 1981, that I opened my first gallery, which took its name from the street. This closing of the circle, which defines my life experience, marks my human and professional journey from my earliest days to the present, and the birth of the collection is its epilogue.
Right from the outset, I have always considered Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni as suitable for housing my collection, for its ancient walls are well able to capture the silent conversation between history and the arts.
The birth of the Association is the culmination of a long story that runs through and is an essential part of our family. It is a story told by the living language of art.
Roberto Casamonti, March 2018
“The Collection is divided into two sections. The first includes works from the beginning of the twentieth century until the 1960s, while the second spans the second half of the century from the 1960s until the 2000s – that is the present day. The works are hung chronologically by year, while also taking into account the different artistic movements or tendencies to which the artists belonged or indeed helped found.
The diverse body of work shown in the first exhibition reflects Roberto Casamonti’s curiosity and his varied interests, as he never hesitated to add new artistic styles he encountered to his collection.”
“This project reflects my firm belief that we should love art for what it is, not for what it’s worth socially and financially. I fell in love with Fontana and Boetti’s work long before they gained worldwide acclaim. It thrills me to be able to hang works by these now established and international names next to works by other artists who today find themselves outside the glare of the international media spotlight and the machinations of the art market. You will find Fontana, Burri, Boetti and Castellani hanging alongside Ottone Rosai’s portrait of my father and works by Viani, Boldini, de Pisis and Fattori.”