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Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale-Attese, ca. 1960. Water-based paint on canvas, 73 x 60 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

TURIN.- Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Director of the Castello di Rivoli Museum, announces that Castello di Rivoli will enter into a special partnership with the legendary Cerruti Collection to become the world’s first contemporary art museum to incorporate an encyclopaedic collection of the art of the past. 

Castello di Rivoli Museum, a renowned museum of contemporary art and the first in Italy, is entering into an important agreement with the Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerruti per l’Arte to safeguard, research, enhance, and display the extraordinary, yet virtually unknown, Cerruti Collection. For the first time, it will be possible for the public to discover the priceless legacy of Francesco Federico Cerruti (Genoa, 1922 – Turin, 2015), a secretive and reserved entrepreneur and passionate collector who passed away in 2015 at the age of 93. 

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Agnolo Gaddi, Triptych, central panel: Christ the Redeemer; left: Archangel Gabriel; right: Virgin Mary; engaged frames - the pinnacles of altarpiece for the Nobili Chapel in Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence, ca. 1385. Tempera on board with golden background, 94, 8 x 38 each. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

Sir Nicholas Serota has praised this development: In thirty years the collection at Castello di Rivoli has become one of the outstanding collections of post-war and contemporary art. The full scope of the Cerutti collection has always been a secret, but we can now see that his exceptional eye brought together an astonishing range of work of all periods, all of the highest quality. For the Castello the proximity of this fine collection will provide inspiring histories and stimulating comparisons for the collection of Arte Povera and contemporary art. 

This ambitious project includes renovating the villa that Cerruti built at Rivoli, near the Castello di Rivoli Museum, to house his collection of art, books and furniture spanning from the middle ages to the twentieth century. In January 2019 the villa will become the main home of the Cerruti Collection and the Cerruti Villa and expanded Rivoli museum campus will open to the public.  

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Stefano di Giovanni Consolo, known as Sassetta, St. Augustine - An altar pinnacle of Borgo Sansepolcro (A Pinnacle from the Borgo Sansepolcro Altarpiece), 1444, tempera and gold on panel molded with engaged frame, 44.5 x 37.2 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

The Castello di Rivoli will manage the Cerruti Collection and the Villa, demonstrating that a fruitful dialogue between contemporary art and the past is possible. According to Christov-Bakargiev, “This important collection will be a driving force of creativity for the museum, in a unique dialogue between ancient and contemporary.” 

Castello di Rivoli will become the first contemporary art museum in the world to incorporate an historic art collection, says Christov-Bakargiev: “We are transforming what a museum of contemporary art can be, creating a new model that turns the paradigm of museums on its head. Instead of a museum of the past adding a contemporary wing, we are a museum of today, looking at the art of the past from a contemporary perspective. We are offering artists and the broader culture the opportunity to relate up-close to periods that came before, enabling them to respond to and work with the great works of art in this collection.”  

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Jacopo Carucci, known as Pontormo, Portrait of a Gentleman with book (Portrait of a Gentleman with Book), 1534-1535, oil on board, 88.2 x 71.5 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

From the 1950s until his death in 2015, Francesco Federico Cerruti collected some 300 works of sculpture and painting, ranging from the Middle Ages to today, plus approximately 200 rare and ancient books, exquisite book bindings and over 300 furnishings, including carpets and desks by renowned cabinet makers. Cerruti assembled a primarily European collection – very strong in Italian art – that provides a journey into the history of art, from historic art to furniture, from the Renaissance to today. It is a private collection of immense quality, like very few in Europe and the world, including extraordinary work ranging from Segno di Bonaventura, Bernardo Daddi, Pontormo, Ribera and Zubarán to Renoir, Modigliani, Kandinsky, Giacometti, Picasso, Klee, Severini, Boccioni, Balla, and Magritte, as well as Bacon, Burri, Fontana, Warhol, De Dominicis, and Paolini. 

As The Art Newspaper wrote upon Cerruti’s death in July 2015: He loved beauty, and every room was rich in masterpieces he had bought over nearly 70 years from auction catalogues and by just waiting for the art world to come to him. They were his family, his friends, his only raison d’être apart from his work. … Federico Cerruti, who died aged 93 … was famous with dealers for taking weeks to decide, but although he would occasionally consult, it was his eye alone that governed his choices, for he had the gift of understanding great art.  

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Medardo Rosso, The Jewish Child, after 1892, wax over plaster, 21 x 14 x 9.5 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

Cerruti, a reclusive bachelor, trained in accounting and made his fortune by transforming his family’s traditional craft book-binding business into Italy’s first industrial book bindery, responsible for printing telephone directories, among other things, although he was also a leader in luxury art book-binding. An entrepreneurial industrialist, he travelled to the US in 1957 to study the technology of automated perfect binding and then recreated it in Turin, founding the company Legatoria Industriale Torinese (LIT). 

Cerruti’s only collecting criterion was perfection – he aimed to create a collection of museum-quality masterpieces in every category. While he lent generously to important museum exhibitions, this was done anonymously; he and the extent of his collection remained a mystery until his death.  

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Umbertio Boccioni, Antigrazioso (Antigraceful), 1912, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

In his will Cerruti left his collection to future generations, so they could experience its beauty and complexity for themselves. In the foundation’s statute, Cerruti wrote how he “had decided to donate to a national and international public” his collection in the hopes of “perpetuating the values that animated him, as well as his sense of patronage, so as to help to make the Cerruti Collection a reality that could live on and stimulate cultural growth.” In his eccentric life and lasting cultural legacy, Cerruti can perhaps be seen as an Italian collector in the tradition of the American Albert C. Barnes, whose art collection continues to inspire future generations. 

Andreina Cerruti, the collector’s sister and President of the Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerruti per l’Arte, states: “We are pleased that Francesco Federico’s dream of offering his home and collection to the public can today become a reality thanks to an agreement with the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art. This initiative between the Museum in Rivoli and our Foundation makes my brother’s extraordinary art collection open to the world, as he himself said and desired. The collection is also the story of life, disclosing his own life in the exclusive language that belongs to art and to poetry.”

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Pablo Picasso, Oiseau avec une branche (Bird with Branch), 1913, oil on canvas, 66 x 50.5 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

Behind this exceptional collection lies the ideal and mysterious figure of the art lover Francesco Federico Cerruti, a discreet and private man, little inclined to the noisiness of the world or to social interaction. In the silence of his own private museum he sought emotion and amazement in front of the enigma of artistic creation. Despite passionately overseeing the display of his works and furnishings at the Rivoli villa in a balance where their closeness and distance could coexist, Cerruti chose not to live here, preferring instead a simple flat above his factory in Turin. He only visited the villa for a solitary lunch every Sunday, prepared by his housekeeper in a room filled with orchids. He organised two parties a year in the villa, on his birthday and name day, and spent Christmas with the homeless. Cerruti’s sensitivity and generosity, the hidden motif of his passion, are now an integral part of this new museum, unique in Italy and the world.  

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Giacomo Balla, Abstract speed, 1913, oil on canvas, 78 x 108 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

From January 2019, the Cerruti Villa will be open to the public through guided tours and a dedicated shuttle will run between the Castello di Rivoli and the villa. In addition, artists, writers, art historians, filmmakers, philosophers and other thinkers will be invited to experience the Cerruti Villa in an intimate dialogue to render the hidden voice, the nuances, the vibrations concealed in art that can embrace the legacy of the past, with its breath and its rhythm, and place these into the very heart of our age. In our digital era—technological and innovative yet aimed at archiving the past—encyclopaedic museums such as the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, and the Louvre in Paris are in process opening devoted to contemporary art. The Castello di Rivoli has chosen a different path, aware of the inescapable bond between the works of the past and of the present, and of a course like that of art which flows beyond all space and time. Castello di Rivoli will be the first museum of modern art in the world that, thanks to this agreement, will integrate the art of the past into the heart of a contemporary institution.

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Gino Severini, Dancer in a restaurant (Cafe Americano, Café Anglais), 1914, oil on canvas, 54 x 46 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Felice Casorati, Joke: Eggs or Egs on a Green Carpet, 1914-15. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Amedeo Modigliani, Woman in yellow dress - La belle espagnole, 1918, oil on canvas, 92 x 60 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Giorgio de Chirico, Metaphysical Muse, 1918, oil on canvas, 55 x 35 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Giorgio de Chirico, Metaphysical Selfportrait, 1919, oil on canvas, 60 x 50.5 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Giorgio de Chirico, The Departure of the Argonauts, 1922, mixed media on canvas, 54 x 73 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Wassily Kandinski, Plauderei Round (Round Conversation), 1926, oil on canvas, 51 x 47 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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René Magritte, The Duo, 1928-29, oil on canvas, 54 x 73 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Man Ray, Harry Melville, ca. 1930, photograph, 22 x 16 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Paul Klee, Blüten der Nacht (Blossoms of the Night), 1938, pastel on cardboard on jute, 43 x 39.5 cm; 51 x 38 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Pablo Picasso, The Faun, 1946. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Alberto Burri, Sacco and red (Sack and Red), 1954, acrylic, burlap and fabric on canvas, 100 x 86 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Francis Bacon, Study for a Portrait IX, 1957. Oil on canvas, 152.5 x 118 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Piero Manzoni, Achrome, 1959, kaolin on canvas, 73 x 60 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Andy Warhol, Portrait of Madame Rochas in Green, 1975, acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.

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Giulio Paolini, EBLA, 1977. Collezione Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerrui per l'Arte on long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino.