Touring: "Il Nuovo Palazzo dell'Arte"

Barbara Gallucci, interview, May 1, 2019

A new palace for the art. 


It shows up in millions of photos shooted by the same amount of tourists crossing the Accademia's bridge in direction of Dorsoduro, captivated by one of the most breathtaking view of Venice. The Grand Canal, the Guggenheim Foundation and, on the back, the dome of the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. In the foreground there is almost always ACP Palazzo Franchetti Cavalli, an example of late-Gothic and neo-Gothic architecture, overlooking the canal and surprisingly surrounded by a park. “The location is really enviable and we plan to value and to open the palace to the pubblic, through art and culture”, tell Franco Calarota, president of ACP Art Capital Partners, the group which has taken the managing and the curatorship of the palace from the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti.


The history of the building is the history of same between the most importante family of Venice. As first the Marcello started the construction during the mid of the fifteen century, then the Gussoni, and then the Cavalli who divided the floors with attached during the Cinquecento. It was just only after the “extinction” of the two families that, in 1847, the so called “Cavalli” was handed over to the young archduke Frederic of Austria. He brings together the different proprieties and he began a series of works of modernization (gas lighting, heating, running water) just before he died at the age of 27. When it happened it was the earl of Chambord (also known as Charles-Ferdinand-Marie-Dieudonné d'Artois) who hired the architect Giambattista Meduna to redesign the palace as we know it now. But the history has others cards to play: when the Veneto was annexed to Italy in 1866, Chambord was obliged to go back to France and to sell off all his properties. In 1878 the palace has been acquired by the baron Franchetti and his wife Sarah Luisa de Rothschild after a long and extenuating negotiation. It was agreed that the purchase price was of 200 thousand lire, almost a million euros of today, a very good deal. Franchetti hired Camillo Boito to do the renovation of the palace in neo-Ghotic style, which included also the construction of the monumental staircase. When the baron passed away, the widow Rothschild decided to divest of the ownership to the Istituto federale di credito per il Risorgimento delle Venezie which stepped in again to make functional the place.


The past history of this palace is fascinating but we are much more interested into its future”Calarota aims to turn the palace into a real blue-chip and high-quality exhibition venue which could be collocated into the venetian cultural circuit together with Palazzo Grassi, the foundations as Guggenheim and Cini. “Thanks to a restricted and selected Scientific Committee we want to collaborate with very important International Institutions in order to present interesting exhibitions as the one that we will open on the 10thof June, Jean Dubuffet and Venice, realized together with the Dubuffet Foundation of Paris. It is not a case of a retrospective, but it's the story of the two big and important exhibition the Master has done in the city. The first one was at Palazzo Grassi in 1964, when he proposed the cicle of theL'Hourloupe, while the second one in 1984 it is when Dubuffet made the French Pavillon at the Biennale”. 

One hundred artworks exhibited, some of them sculptures placed in the the garden, a rare green space in Venice which is now protagonist of the new valorisation project of ACP Palazzo Franchetti. Calarota emphasizes that the event dedicated to Dubuffet is not just a collateral exhibition during the Biennale: “we are already working on the next show which will be dedicated to a dialogue between Giorgio Morandi and Mark Rothko”.


The new art spot will have a calendar of two exhibitions each yearin order to become a cultural hub in a total renewed context ables to welcome the artworks at its best. In addition it is proposed to be also a place to live thanks to the amazing garden and to the restaurant, also a coffee shop, overlooking Campo Santo Stefano and open all the year long. “ We want that ACP Palazzo Franchetti will be not only a beautiful, more or less wanted, subject of a souvenir's picture but also an unmissable spot for all the art lovers who are looking for quality exhibition or for the people who want to live as insiders a piece of history of Venice”, finished Calarota. The prospective from the Accademia's bridge can finally find a new, original frame.