Leopoldo Metlicovitz, Turandot, 1926, Litografia a colori, Milano, Archivio storico Ricordi | Courtesy of Musei San Domenico, Forlì

From February 11 until June 18, 2017

Forlì | Forlì-Cesena

LOCATION: Musei San Domenico

CURATOR: Valerio Terraroli


  • Fondazione Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì
  • Comune di Forlì

PHONE FOR INFORMATION: +39 0543 1912030-31



A taste, a fascination, a language that has characterized the artistic production of Italy and Europe in the 1920s, with results above all Americans after 1929. What is the definition for all Art Deco was eclectic, worldly, international lifestyle. The success of this moment of taste should be recognized in search of luxury and a pleasant experience, especially as intense as ephemera, fielded by the European bourgeoisie after the dissolution, in the great war, the latest 19th century myths and mimicry of industrial reality, with the logic of its production processes. Ten years frat boys, roaring like you said, the upper middle class international, as the story drew, between war, revolutions and inflation, gloomy horizon of totalitarianism.

After the great exhibitions devoted to the twentieth century and to Liberty, in 2017 Forlì devotes a large exposure to Italian Art Deco.

The relationship with the Liberty, which precedes it chronologically, was first, then passing until the opposition. The difference between the idealism of Art Nouveau and rationalism of the Déco appears substantial. The very idea of modernity, the industrial production of the art object, the concept of beauty in everyday life are changing radically with the lithe, coil and asymmetrical line tied to a Symbolist conception that plant and animal nature to the fundamental laws of the universe, a new artistic language. The vital thrust of the Vanguards, the industrial revolution replace the myth of nature, the spirit of the machine, the geometry of the gears, the prismatic forms of skyscrapers, the artificial lights of the city.

As part of a recent rediscovery of culture and art in the 1920s and, in particular, of that particular taste from the year 1925, the note Style defined the universal exposition in Paris dedicated to the Arts Decoratifs, from which the successful formula that Art Deco sanctioned morphologies and patterns, was born the idea of an exhibition that proposes images and interpretations of a number of historical and cultural events and artistic phenomena that have passed through the Italy and Europe during the period from after World War I and the global crisis of 1929, taking over gradually forms and national characteristics, how to show not only the numerous architectural works, pictorial and sculptural, but especially the extraordinary production of decorative arts. The Deco was the style of cinemas, railway stations, theatres, public buildings, large ocean liners, bourgeois residences: this was, above all, a stylistic form, clearly recognizable traits, which influenced to varying degrees the entire production of decorative arts, from furniture to ceramics, glass to wrought iron, from jewellery to textiles to fashion in the 1920s and early 1930s , as well as the shape of cars, poster, sculpture and painting in decorative function. The reasons for this new system meaningful and taste are recognized in several avant-garde movements (the Central European Secession, Cubism and Fauvism, Futurism) involving several artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Lhote, Schad, while among the international actors of taste must be mentioned at least the names of Ruhlmann, Lalique, Brandt, Dupas, Cartier, as well as worldly and aristocratic portraiture by Tamara de Lempicka and sculptures of Chiparus , that fuels the myth of the dancer Isadora Duncan.Ma the show will especially Italian declination, agreeing with the international biennial exhibitions of decorative arts in Monza 1923, 1925, 1927 and of the 1930 ‘s, and of course of the 1925 Expo in Paris and Barcelona 1929 and 1930. The phenomenon Déco crossed with a disruptive force the Decade 1919-1929 with furniture, ceramics, glass, metalwork, textiles, bronzes, plasterwork, jewels, silver, dresses as the force of high industrial and handicraft production and design and proto birth of Made in Italy. The demand of an increasingly thirsty for news, but at the same time nostalgic Italian artistic handicraft tradition, had literally explode in the 1920s an extraordinary production of objects and decorative forms: from the Venini Martinuzzi, lighting and Fontana Arte di Pietro Church, the ceramics of Gio Ponti, Giovanni Gariboldi, Guido Andloviz, the sculptures of Adolfo Wildt , RAM, Arturo Martini and Libero Andreotti, Lenci figurine or sculpture to original Sirio Tofanari, from Byzantine goldsmiths of Ravasco to silvers dei Finzi, from furniture to Buzzi, bridges, spear, Parkes at silks of Rabbits, rats and Fortuny, as in Depero’s felted wool tapestries. objective of the exhibition is show the public the quality, originality and importance of modern decorative arts have played in Italian art Deco fonts connoting deeply culture also in relation to arts figurative: great painting and sculpture. Here are the stories of the essential works of Galileo Chini, painter and ceramist, flanked by great masters such as Vittorio Zecchin and Guido Andloviz, who looked to Klimt and the Vienna secession; the masters of Faenza Domenico Rambelli, Francesco Nonni and Pietro Melandri; the inventions of the second Futurism of Fortunato Depero and Tullio Mazzotti; paintings by, among others, Severini, Casorati, RAM, Martini, Thayaht, Cagnaccio di San Pietro, Bocchi, Ballesteros, Timmel, Bucci, Marchig, Oppi, all accompanied by the extraordinary production of Richard-Ginori designed by the architect Gio Ponti and emblematic French, Austrian and German examples until the passing of the baton, at the beginning of the 1930s, the United States and to American Deco. It never staged in Italy a comprehensive exhibition devoted to this diverse world of inventions, which not only produces fascinating contamination with modern taste – for example at Coppedè in Rome or at the Vittoriale, last residence of Gabriele D’Annunzio – but evokes atmospheres from the Mediterranean world of classicism, as well as the discovery in 1922 of the tomb of Tutankhamun relaunched in Europe fashion of Egypt. And then echoes the Persians, Japanese, Africans distances and otherness, dreams and suggested escapes from everyday life, in a continuous and illusory comings and goings from modernity to the history.

Being a taste and lifestyle influences were not lacking and correspondences with the cinema, theatre, literature, magazines, fashion, music. From Hollywood (with the Parade of Lloyd Bacon or dive, as Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich and stars like Rudolph Valentino) at unforgettable pages of the Great Gatsby (1925), by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, Oscar Wilde, Gabriele D Annunzio.

The exhibition is curated by Valerio Terraroli, with the collaboration of Claudia Casali and Stefania Cretella, and is directed by Gianfranco Brunelli. The prestigious Scientific Committee is chaired by Antonio Paolucci.