A major exhibition on Felice Casorati (more than 60 works) at the Magnani Rocca Foundation

From March 18 to July 2, 2023, the Magnani Rocca Foundation in Traversetolo (Parma) is hosting a major exhibition on Felice Casorati with more than 60 works reconstructing the entire career of the painter, an important exponent of magic realism.

From March 18 to July 2, 2023, the Magnani Rocca Foundation in Mamiano di Traversetolo is hosting an exhibition dedicated to the entire career of Felice Casorati (Novara, 1883 - Turin, 1963). Entitled simply Felice Casorati, the exhibition, curated by Giorgina Bertolino, Daniela Ferrari and Stefano Roffi, inscribes the artist’s career within the history of twentieth-century art and reconstructs his itinerary, from his early years to his maturity, with more than sixty works (many absolute masterpieces) from public institutions and private collections. The Magnani-Rocca Foundation in Mamiano di Traversetolo (Parma) thus continues its in-depth study of the protagonists of Italian painting of the last century.

Music is the key to the entrance of Felice Casorati’s works in Luigi Magnani’s Villa dei Capolavori, the “house of life” of the cultured collector, art historian, musicologist, composer and writer. Casorati ideally enters the space, both physical and mental, of what Magnani himself called “my imaginary museum,” that is, a collection of works seen and loved, and others acquired and owned: works that “inhabit my mind like my home,” “all objects of equal love and worthy of the most devoted contemplation.” Music is thus one of the themes that structure the exhibition’s conception, recalling the musical sensibility that marked Casorati’s biography, culture and painting, with “his slow melopoeias of planes or spaces,” as Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti precisely captured. On the other hand, the theme serves to investigate the concerted and guarded nature of Casorati’s art, his conceptual aptitude for the construction of a theatricality fueled by invention.

The exhibition aims to introduce Casorati’s oeuvre in its completeness and complexity, documenting each season of his painting and showing his favorite figures and themes with key works. It will open with his debut paintings: the Portrait of his sister Elvira, marking his debut at the 7th Venice Biennale in 1907, and The Heiresses, exhibited at the 9th Biennale in 1910: both imbued with balance and calm measure, they are evidence denoting Casorati’s precocious and sophisticated visual culture. A different atmosphere can be felt in the masterpiece Le signorine, of 1912, a crucial work that expresses a turning point in his painting, due to the clear and luminous palette, the study of figures and the central nudity. The exhibition will particularly effectively capture Casorati’s season in the 1920s, when the call for a return to order brought a new classicism to European art. With the exhibition of a series of paintings from 1921(The Two Sisters, Maiden with Linoleum, Masks) one will be projected into a suspended and silent atmosphere, pervaded by measure, order, melancholy and mystery, in a theater of endless allusions to the craft, to the practice of painting, understood as incessant study and research, confrontation with the model and with the antique. In the celebrated 1922 painting Silvana Cenni , an explicit homage to Piero della Francesca, a silent stillness permeates everything, freezing the scene in a mysterious still image. Everything is true to life, down to the minutest details, but so realistic that it translates into estrangement. Recurrent in Casorati’s painting is the theme of the still life of eggs, with its perfect form and fragile consistency that allow the artist a reflection on the contrast between precariousness and formal solidity, as well as a further reference to Piero.

The relationship between painting and music is made explicit in a series of important paintings in the exhibition that, in the setting of a hypothetical closeness between the collector Magnani and the artist, highlights their shared passions. In particular, Casorati’s painting Beethoven, belonging to the Vaf-Stiftung Collection and kept at the Mart in Rovereto, which was first presented at the 1928 Venice Biennale, refers back to Magnani’s predilection for the great German composer. The ideal relationship continues by articulating itself around the friendship with Alfredo Casella, Magnani’s composition teacher in Rome and collector of important Casorati works, portrayed by the painter in 1926. Casorati’s intense activity as theater set designer is documented in the exhibition by a corpus of sketches and figurines from the Fondazione Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

The chronological order, necessary for a philological reading of Casorati’s painting, will at times be interspersed with temporal accelerations that anticipate the outcomes of research on the same theme or subject, in order to understand the essence of the “complicated weave formed by the unfolding of my painting,” as the artist himself would say.The exhibition is organized by the Magnani-Rocca Foundation in collaboration with Mart - Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto.

Hours: Tuesday through Friday continuous 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (ticket office closes at 5 p.m.) - Saturday, Sunday and holidays continuous 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (ticket office closes at 6 p.m.). Also open Easter Monday, April 25, May 1, June 2. Mondays closed (open Easter Monday, Monday, April 24 as a bridge and Monday, May 1 as a holiday). Admission: € 12 also valid for permanent collections - € 10 for groups of at least fifteen people - € 5 for schools. Information and group reservations: tel. 0521 848327/848148 info@magnanirocca.it, www.magnanirocca.it. Saturdays 4:30 p.m. and Sundays and holidays 11:30 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. tour of the exhibition with a specialized guide; reservations can be made by email to segreteria@magnanirocca.it , or show up at the museum entrance while places last; cost € 17 (admission and guide).

Image: Felice Casorati, Beethoven (1928; oil on panel, 139 x 120 cm; Rovereto, Mart, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, VAF-Stiftung Collection)

A major exhibition on Felice Casorati (more than 60 works) at the Magnani Rocca Foundation
A major exhibition on Felice Casorati (more than 60 works) at the Magnani Rocca Foundation