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November 25th 2019 - summer 2020


Il Novecento a Palazzo Franchetti // The XX Century at Palazzo Franchetti

Location: Palazzo Franchetti, San Marco 2847, 30124 Venice. Google maps link.

Opening hours: open by appointment Wednesday to Monday, closed on Tuesday.

Book your guided tour at least 24 hours in advance calling the number +39 333 1012415 or sending an email to

Guided tour slots (1h long visit): 10:00 - 11:30 - 14:00 - 15:30 - 17:00 - 18:00

Price: 7 euros/person

The XX Century at Palazzo Franchetti with the Masters of the 1900s.

From the Metaphysics of Giorgio de Chirico to the original path of Giorgio Morandi, from Giacomo Balla's Futurism to René Magritte's Surrealism, from the Bauhaus of Paul Klee to the New York City of Franz Kline, from the colours of Joan Mirò to the material art of Leoncillo: the exhibition brings to life the protagonists of the last century through a series of works interpreted by their own words. An opportunity to question the future of art itself, which for example according to Giorgio de Chirico «will be exactly the same as that of poetry, music and philosophy: to create sensations unknown in the past; to strip the art of the common and the accepted, from any subject in favour of an aesthetic synthesis», an operation not by chance carried out literally by Andy Warhol years later. A reflection not only on art in itself, but also on today's large private collections.


A journey through important and rarely seen works, but above all an opportunity to reflect on art and its future through the voice of the protagonists of the Twentieth Century. A murmur that is heard from the first room, where between the times and the tones of still lifes and landscapes, the words of Giorgio Morandi in an interview with The Voice of America in 1957, suggest how «the possible educational task of the figurative arts » is « especially in the present, that of communicating the images and feelings that the visible world arouses in us ».


A silent reflection interrupted only by the praise of speed, movement and technology by Giacomo Balla and Gino Severini, protagonists with their works in the next room, where we see emerge how «Futurist painting in destroying immobility in everything» becomes «transported in the impressive chaos of universal dynamic action». A movement that also resonates in the colours of the canvases and in the «immediate irruption of the infinite in the finite» by Joan Mirò that acts as a counterpoint to the calm art of Paul Klee, present with Die Rolle (1930), painted during one of the last years of teaching at the Bauhaus, an experience that ended in 1931. The joyful atmosphere transports us elsewhere, in a tribute to a Venice of other times that in its different repetition looks at Canaletto, but also in the middle of a square Metaphysics where the question becomes manifest: «what will be the purpose of future painting? It will be exactly the same as that of poetry, music and philosophy: to create sensations unknown in the past; to strip art of the common and the accepted from any subject in favour of an aesthetic synthesis: to completely suppress man as a guide or as a means of expressing symbols, sensations, thoughts, freeing painting once and for all from anthropomorphism that suffocates sculpture; to see everything, even man, for its own innate qualities».


Entering the next room, we move on to the axis of art history, which moves from Paris, making New York the world capital and breaks from figuration to propose the new painting that has abstraction as its protagonist. These are the years of Abstract Expressionism and Franz Kline in the United States to whom the Informal phase, represented by Georges Mathieu and Leoncillo, corresponds in Europe. It is the triumph of instinct where: «volumes and design should not be sought.

The exhibition itinerary ends with the great revolution of the Sixties and the room dedicated to Andy Warhol, who realizes the prophecy predicted by Giorgio de Chirico, «all the paintings must have the same dimensions and the same colours, so that they are interchangeable, and no one thinks they have a better or worse painting. And if one is a masterpiece, so are all paintings. Besides, even if the subject is different, the same picture is always painted ». At the end of the artistic journey presented in the exhibition, in the garden overlooking the Grand Canal, the totems of Roberto Sebastian Matta, guardians of a future that is already today, watch over Palazzo Franchetti.

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