In recent art world news, earlier this month the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art of Turin, Italy announced an agreement with the Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerruti per l’Arte to maintain and display the impressive but largely unknown private collection of the late Francesco Federico Cerruti of 13th– to 20th-century treasures. Cerruti was a reclusive Italian art collector and entrepreneur whose collection was regarded as one of the best in Europe.
The collection has been valued at $570 million to $600 million by Sotheby’s in 2015 and includes masterworks by Francis Bacon, Giorgio de Chirico and Jacopo Pontormo. The collection is on permanent loan to the museum and is planned to be the centerpiece of a museum expansion scheduled to open to the public in January 2019.
Cerruti’s collection, amassed over seven decades, includes about 300 paintings and sculptures, 200 rare and ancient books, including fine hand-bound editions, and 300 pieces of furniture and other decorative works. Cerruti owned some exceptional works, including Bacon’s canvas “Study for a Portrait IX” (1957), a postwar highlight, Amedeo Modigliani’s “Woman in a Yellow Dress (La Belle Espagnole)” (1918), and a group of five rare “Metaphysical” (1910) oil paintings by de Chirico.
When purchasing art in Italy, Cerruti benefited from “a Mussolini-vintage regulation prohibiting the permanent export of artworks more than 50 years old officially designated as having cultural interest. These works could not be sold on the international market.” The late Cerruti was from a generation that did not buy 21st-century art.
The Cerruti collection represents a “rare case of a contemporary-art museum incorporating an encyclopedic and historical art trove.” The museum intends to integrate works from the collection into its changing displays of contemporary art instead of keeping old and new works separate.