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The Enchanted Room - Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

Exhibition preview

THE Estorick opens its 20th anniversary year with a major exhibition of works from one of the world’s most important collections of modern Italian art, housed at Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera.

Comprising paintings and sculptures donated to the museum by Emilio and Maria Jesi, it includes iconic images by Umberto Boccioni, Gino Severini and Mario Sironi, an extraordinary nucleus of Metaphysical paintings by Carlo Carrà, and important works by Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi and Filippo De Pisis.

The Enchanted Room runs at the Estorick Collection from January 24 to April 8, 2018.

Like Eric and Salome Estorick, Emilio and Maria Jesi were primarily drawn to figurative art and sculpture, although their collection does include a characteristic work of geometric abstraction by the maverick painter Osvaldo Licini. On donating their works to the Brera, they stated: “This collection of the art of our time, entrusted to the State, is dedicated to the artists and art lovers of yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

Among the highlights of the exhibition will be Boccioni’s Divisionist Self Portrait of 1908, and Carrà’s The Metaphysical Muse of 1917, in which a looming, faceless mannequin generates the claustrophobic and unsettling atmosphere typical of Pittura metafisica.

Alongside these will feature Amedeo Modigliani’s famous Portrait of the Painter Moïse Kisling (1915), Severini’s equally renowned Le Nord-Sud – a dynamic Futurist tribute to the Paris Métro of 1912 – and Ardengo Soffici’s exuberant Cubo-Futurist collage Watermelon and Liqueurs (1914).

Also included are a small number of Mario Sironi’s sombre cityscapes, and Massimo Campigli’s otherworldly depictions of women.

This is first time a major part of the Jesi collection has been shown outside of Italy. It will be displayed alongside a rehang of the Estorick’s own permanent collection, thereby providing an exceptional opportunity for the public to take a glimpse inside the minds of these great collectors of Modern Italian art.

Full list of artists on show: Umberto Boccioni, Massimo Campigli, Carlo Carrà, Giorgio de Chirico, Filippo De Pisis, Osvaldo Licini, Mario Mafai, Marino Marini, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio Morandi, Ottone Rosai, Gino Severini, Scipione (Gino Bonichi), Mario Sironi and Ardengo Soffici.

The Pinacoteca di Brera was officially established in 1809, although a collection of artworks began to be formed from as early as 1776 with the aim of allowing students at the Accademia di Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) the opportunity to study important masterpieces at first hand.

Today, the Pinacoteca is Milan’s main public art gallery, and represents one of most pre-eminent collections of Italian painting anywhere in the world, including a number of the greatest paintings of the Renaissance as well as key collections of modern art.

Image: Amedeo Modigliani, Head of a Young Woman, 1915. Oil on canvas, 46 × 38 cm. Courtesy: Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.

Admission: £6.50, £4.50 concessions (includes entry to exhibition and permanent collection).

Opening Hours: Wednesdays to Saturdays from 11am to 6pm, Sundays from 12 noon to 5pm.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7704 9522


Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square, London, N1 2AN