At the beginning of 2018, after an estensive restauration, Palazzo Reali, formerly home to the Museo Cantonale d’Arte and now to the Italian Swiss Museum of Art (MASI Lugano), will reopen its doors to the public. Thanks to its two locations, the Museum, whose artistic heritage counts more than 14,000 works, will be able to display its permanent collections and a rich schedule of exhibitions.
With its two sites, the MASI, whose artistic heritage counts more than 14,000 works, will finally be complete. The first section of the exhibition opens with a marvellous marble sculpture by Tommaso Rodari (1460-1525), an artist from Ticino rightly considered among the greatest Renaissance sculptors in the Lake Region. Rodari's marble bust, recently donated by Enzo and Maria Grazia Pelli, is perfectly in line with the rest of the collection, in particularly with other works of the first section devoted to the relationship with the territory and the vast and fascinating theme of artistic emigration. Some important works in the collection stem from the Gottfried Keller Foundation, founded in 1890 by Lydia Welti-Escher, who left the Swiss Confederation a large part of her artistic heritage. Furthermore, MASI has a significant number of works from the nineteenth century, such as a selection of paintings stemming from legacies and donations that left a significant mark on the collection: Milich Fassbind's legacy, which includes works by French masters from the end of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries (Monet, Boudin, Vuillard, Derain, Rousseau, Matisse and others); the Chiattone donation (including 21 works by the prefuturist Umberto Boccioni, and others by Tallone, Dudreville, Cremona, and others); the Ida Lenggenhager-Tschannen donation, with works by exponents of French art from the second half of the nineteenth century (Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, Maillol and others).
Tribute to the Panza di Biumo Donation
The second part of the exhibition pays tribute to the Panza di Biumo Donation, com-prising two hundred works created by twenty-nine European and American artists in the eighties and nineties. This extraordinary donation contributed substantially to the museum’s contemporary art section in the early days of the Museo Cantonale d’Arte, which in 1992 invited Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo to exhibit his recent acquisitions in an exhibition entitled The Panza Di Biumo Collection: Works from the 80’s and 90’s.
In 1994, this positive collaboration led to the donation by Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo of one hundred works from his collection, and a further surprise donation the following year of the same number of works.
The quality and size of the Panza Donation accelerated the development of the Museum’s contemporary art section, which over time was further expanded by other donations and deposits of indefinite duration, as well as by acquisitions made directly by the Institute. The exhibition’s works are displayed in monographic or thematic groups, highlighting in particular those of the Panza Donation, stemming from the new abstract, post-minimalist, conceptual and monochrome art movements.
The exhibition ends with recent acquisitions that reveal the latest experimentations in photography, painting and electronic art.