There are those who not only exhibit, but revive historic buildings: the Calarota of Galleria Maggiore in Palazzo Franchetti, the Ferrarese Brunelli in Palazzo Martinengo.
For centuries they have overlooked the waters of the canals and the lagoon, still and fairytale-like, and come alive with new life in these days of the Art Biennale. The Venetian palaces do this, thanks to artists and gallery owners, many of them from Emilia-Romagna.
The most striking novelty is offered by Franco Calarota, owner with his wife Roberta and daughter Alessia of the Galleria Maggiore in via D'Azeglio in Bologna. He took charge of the beautiful Palazzo Franchetti, right in front of the Academy, and made it an evocative art center. There are three floors for a total of about one thousand square meters, including stairways and rooms entirely decorated with frescoes and stuccos, ready to host the masters of the twentieth century.
The building belongs to the Venetian Institute of Sciences, but the Bolognese family has obtained, for the next eighteen years, to be able to change its intended use.
A first glimpse of the future potential of the building is entrusted to the exhibition "Jean Dubuffet and Venice", inaugurated yesterday evening presenting a hundred works that testify the relationship of the French artist with the Serenissima: from the first exhibition in 1964 at Palazzo Grassi to solo exhibition at the French Pavilion in the 84 Biennale. In the garden and in the entrance two large sculptures with the famous "Hourloupe" stand out, while in the rooms alternate paintings, drawings, gouaches, documents and photographs that recall Dubuffet's stays in the city. In one room, all the works that were exhibited in 1984.
«For many years we have been present in Venice at the Biennale with exhibitions and initiatives, collaborating with the Querini Foundation or with Fortuny» - recalls Franco Calarota -. And so, when the opportunity arose to take care of this beautiful building, we jumped at it.
«We are eighteen years old, we will try to organize exhibitions continuously throughout the year». This one by Dubuffet will remain open to the public until 20 October. The next will compare the paintings of Giorgio Morandi with those of Mark Rothko, the Catholic world of the Bolognese with the Jewish one of the American.
Not far away, on the other bank of the Grand Canal, thanks to the Maria Livia Brunelli Home Gallery in Ferrara, Palazzo Martinengo reopens to the public for the first time, which was the home and studio of the painter Mariano Fortuny. Here, until 21 May, the collective "Mortal Dement" is set up, which brings together the light boxes by Hiroyuki Masuyama, the large ceramic sculptures by Bertozzi & Casoni, the "roses" by Ketty Tagliatti, the installations by Matteo Valerio, a still life by Hans Op De Beeck. «I had an idea of doing an exhibition on the theme of the memento mori when a friend made me enter this building - explains the gallery owner -. As it happens, the motto of the Mocenigo family, the current owner, is "Mortal Dement". We propose the format we tested in our home gallery, placing the works in dialogue with domestic spaces».