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Fashion Witnessed: Italian Visual Art Section No.2

Johnny 2018-04-10 10:30

In the first part of the series, we introduced the visual art phenomena in the early times since Ferragamo returned to Italy in 1927, the country where he lived. This specific period of time witnessed an abundance of art forms, and occupied eight exhibition halls. Other than the fashion pieces, fabrics, fine artworks, photography and advertisements, the exhibition presents arrays of works by multiple artists, including Maccari, Martini, Thayaht, Gio Ponti, Rosai, Depero and many others. The whole exhibition is kaleidoscopic, as if an attractive best-seller. With the chapters unfolding one after the other, the legendary history of Ferragamo is told through the changing of art forms.

The 5th Exhibition Hall The Blossoming 1920s

The fifth exhibition hall is a continuation of the second exhibition hall, displaying all sorts of fine art pieces from 1920s Florence. 


The 5th Exhibition Hall

Exquisite handcrafts, various materials and decorative patterns combine personality and artistic expression in a perfect manner, as perfect as Ferragamo’s fine shoes.


From Left

Etching by Franz Pelzel, Bowl “Beach”, 1925-1928,Glass, rotary cutting lathe etching【S.A.L.I.R., Venezia,Foto Diego Lazzarini】

Antonio Maraini, Eva, 1923, Painted plaster with traces of gilding. The bronze was displayed at the First Monza Biennal, 1923【Firenze, Collezione privata; Foto Arrigo Coppitz】Dario Viterbo,Earrings, 1926, Yellow gold, jade, emerald【Collezione Antognini,Foto Arrigo Coppitz】

This exhibition hall displays including Gio Ponti’s delicate vases especially designed for Richard-Ginori, Carlo Scarpa’s paintings for the Cappellin Florence shop window, Cantagalli’s artworks, Lisio’s fabrics, Thayaht’s furniture pieces, etc. 


From Left

Società Ceramica Richard-Ginori,“Donatella” plate, 1924, Hand-painted majolica

【Foto Arrigo Coppitz per Museo Richard-Ginori della Manifattura di Doccia, Sesto Fiorentino (FI)】

Società Ceramica Richard-Ginori,Urn with grotesques, 1924-1925, Hand-painted porcelain

【Foto Arrigo Coppitz per Museo, Richard-Ginori della Manifattura di Doccia, Sesto Fiorentino (FI)】

Bruno Innocenti e Francesco Prosperi, Giraffes, 1925, Plaster【Courtesy Liceo Artistico Statale di Porta Romana di Firenze e Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze】

These art pieces infuse pragmatism and modernism to the traditional elements, illuminating a peculiar fashion trend. 


From Left

Anonymous, Florentine festivities: Mid-lent, The burst of the cart, The Ascension, The fires of Saint John, The paper lanterns, 1930 c., Batik on cotton dyed with sulphur-based pigment【Courtesy Liceo Artistico Statale di Porta Romana di Firenze e Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze】

Manifattura Cantagalli, vase “Poetry in the forest”, 1930, Majolica【Courtesy Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Applicata – Castello Sforzesco, Milano】

Manifattura Cantagalli, Romano Dazzi, Vase, 1930, Majolica【Gabinetto fotografico del Polo Museale Regionale della Toscana】


From Left

RAM (Ruggero Alfredo Michahelles), Primitive girl, 1927, Bronze【Courtesy, Archivio THAYAHT & RAM, Firenze; Foto Arrigo Coppitz】

Thayaht, (Ernesto Michahelles), Fugitive, 1921-1927【Courtesy, Archivio THAYAHT & RAM, Firenze; Foto Arrigo Coppitz】

Lucio Venna, Moderne, 1930, pochoir on paper, The advertisting mock- up was made for Salvatore Ferragamo【Firenze, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo】


From Left

Thayaht (Ernesto Michahelles), Sécretaire, 1923, Lacquered wood with gilded intaglios. Displayed at the First Monza Biennal, 1923【Collezione privata】

Carlo Scarpa,Study of a blown-glass pane for a two-part door with semicircular arch featuring an abstract motif to be located in the Cappellin shop in Florence, 1927 c., Indian ink, watercolours and coloured pastels on paper【Courtesy Museo di Castelvecchio, Archivio Carlo Scarpa, Verona】

Arte della Seta Lisio, Thursady Tie, 1930 c.【Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Firenze Foto Arrigo Coppitz】


From Left

Arte della Seta Lisio, Regionale Toscano, 1930 c., Woven cotton lampas, Jacquard hand-weaving【

Firenze, Archivi Fondazione Arte della Seta Lisio; Museo Salvatore Ferragamo; Firenze Foto Arrigo Coppitz】

Arte della Seta Lisio, Root wood, 1927 c., Two-piece voided liseré velvet in silk and gold thread, Jacquard hand-weaving

【Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Firenze Foto Arrigo Coppitz】

Moreover, Florence is dedicated to promoting the cooperation between different art forms among art organisations and society as a whole. For instance, after a successful cooperation with the renowned sculptor Liberto Andreotti, young artists actively responded to the society and devoted their life to different art projects and works and thus had their faces printed on the cover of Domus magazine.

The 6th Exhibition Hall Italian Household Design

From 1920 to 1930, both indoor and outdoor household design gradually developed and prospered, forming a sound basis for the “Made in Italy” art fashion of the 1950s. Artists grasped the opportunity to explore the art of architecture as a whole and eventually combined different forms of art in creating distinctively stylish works.


The 6th Exhibition Hall

The video clip in the exhibition hall records three different types of household design of that time – the artistic style of Balla and Depero, the Neoclassicism of Gio Ponti and the rationalism presented by Terragni and Gruppo 7. 


Gio Ponti ed Emilio Lancia, Holiday Home (Triennial International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, Monza), 1930, View of the living room

【Archivio Fotografico © La Triennale di Milano】

Among which the last one is also called the “powerhouse” debuted in Monza, 1930. Every detail of the house, from indoor gadgets to the design ideas, were the newest of that time.


Luigi Figini e Gino Pollini (con Piero Bottoni), Electric House, Presented by La Rinascente and S.A. De Angeli-Frua(Triennial International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, Monza), 1930, View of the kitchen【Archivio Fotografico © La Triennale di Milano】

What’s more, the video clip also shows the modern architecture plan map re-created by students from the School of Architecture at the University of Florence. With a brand-new perspective, the traditions (especially the fine craftsmanship in Italian manufacturing sector), modern styles and technological creative ideas are reviewed for their relationship, aiming to explore prospective future lifestyles. The project proposes a feasible solution, vividly interpreting the future lifestyle and creative technological applications.

The 7th Exhibition Hall Physique Art

The seventh exhibition hall presents multiple physique arts through futuristic and cubistic deconstruction and reconstruction of human bodies. The motif also symbolises the “return of fashion trends”. Through the luxurious clothing and exquisite decorations, the beauty of the female body is presented with different forms including dancing, sports, anatomy, and measuring techniques.


The 7th Exhibition Hall

The physique art was totally redefined at that time. The public paid more attention to physical health and took active participation in physical activities, especially dancing. 


From Left

Salvatore Ferragamo measures the midline of a customer’s body and feet, 1927【Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Firenze】

Sergio Strenkowski, 1930【Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Firenze】

Besides, massage, cosmetology, and plastic surgery also gained popularity quickly. The exhibition hall presents huge volumes of magazines and special coverages on how the measuring techniques inserted critical influence on the fashion world and Salvatore Ferragamo’s works, which is exactly one of the fundamental elements that aided Ferragamo creating the perfect shoe style. 


From Left

Stucchi, Recchia & C. Milano, Papier-mâché and plaster mannequins, 1920, Period photograph【Courtesy La Rosa Mannequins S.p.a.】

Exercises from G. Poggi-Longostrevi, Cultura Fisica della Donna ed Estetica Femminile, 1933【Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Firenze】

Meanwhile as of the physique art, the museum once touched upon the same topic in a previous exhibition called “Equilibrium”, ranging from the art of shoe-making, the balance of human body, and the art of physique.

The 8th Exhibition Hall Somaesthetics

The eighth exhibition hall discusses the critical theme of the 1920s – Novecento. It regards the body as the carrier of moving aesthetics.


The 8th Exhibition Hall

The exhibition hall presents multiple classic artworks through different forms of portrait studies to interpret the mechanism of “somaesthetics”. The range covers avant-garde, metaphysical, and even the early works in fashion history; all of which are dedicated to present the newest body concepts of their time, as well as the visual balance created by the coordination of four limbs and the rule of movement and balance. 


From Left

Fortunato Depero, Coded Costume, 1929【Collage© MART – Archivio Fotografico e Mediateca, Trento e Rovereto】

Thayaht (Ernesto Michahelles), Charleston, 1929, Oil on Masonite【Courtesy Archivio THAYAHT & RAM, Firenze】


From Left

RAM (Ruggero Alfredo Michahelles), Bride and groom, 1932, Tempera on mixed lime【Courtesy Collezione privata, Foto Sandro Michahelles】

Fortunato Depero, Campari Cordial Davide Campari & C. Milano, 1928, Indian ink on cardboard【Courtesy Galleria Campari, Milano】

The items on display include the dancing portraits by Dario Viterbo, Alimondo Ciampi, and Giacomo Balla, the moving portrait by Thayaht (originally known as Ernesto Michahelles), Francesco Messina and Umberto Primo Conti, the “moda solare” works backgrounded by fascinating ocean creatures by Mario Broglio and RAM (Ruggero Alfredo Michahelles), as well as works by Fillia, Mino Rosso, Depero and Luciano Baldessari, featuring the abstract essence in the development of human models and mechanical counterparts.


From Left

Mario Tozzi, Characters in search of an author, 1929, Oil on canvas【© MART – Archivio Fotografico e Mediateca, Trento e Rovereto】

Nicolaj Diulgheroff, The rational man, 1928, Oil on canvas【Courtesy Radoslav Diulgheroff, Roma】


Umberto Primo Conti, The swimmer, 1925, Oil on canvas【Courtesy Archivio Banca Popolare di Vicenza】


From Left

Nicolaj Diulgheroff, The rational man, 1928, Oil on canvas【Courtesy Radoslav Diulgheroff, Roma】

Fillia (Luigi Enrico Colombo), Figure and setting – Seated woman, 1926-1927, Oil on canvas【Courtesy Galleria Narciso, Torino】


From Left

Mario Guido Dal Monte,Folies Bergères, 1928, Oil on canvas【Courtesy Museo del Novecento, Milano】

Luciano Baldessari, Luminator, ItalianTextile Stands at the International Exposition in Barcelona, 1929【Courtesy CASVA, Fondo Luciano Baldessari, Milano】

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