Monday, 6 March 2017

Women Patron of Arts

Luciana Gentilini,
wife of one of the greatest painter of the XX century,
 continues to protect and promoting the Art of his husband

Traces of Women who were Patron of Art in History, especially in the ancient and modern period, did not  remained except of the few privileged such as Isabella d'Este, Caterina de' Medici, Lucrezia Borgia, Isabella Gonzaga before or Catherine II and Felicita Bevilacqua later.

Yet examples of Women even in more modern times that have enhanced the Art in its forms there have been important both for the culture of their country and for the entire human heritage. The best known, perhaps, Peggy Guggenheim who with her love for Art and the novelty has managed to collect works of Art even before they were retained Art! She in fact  discovered and exploited the unknown artist  Pollock making him a listed and requested artist by collectors and Museums around the world. Even more did Johanna Van Gogh, in fact not many people know that  the fame and reputation of one of the most important and valued Artists of our time, Vincent Van Gogh, due all this to his sister in law.

Once Johanna become a widow, inheriting all the collection from her husband Theo, realized the talent of Vincent and began to promote it. Back in the Netherlands when her husband was already very ill, to his death opened a guess-house where she have the idea to expose all the canvas of her brother in law, Vincent. It was already a first step to make them known, but it was not enough ...She began to read the letters that the two brothers had written over time and taking the suggestions that Vincent himself gave to Theo: few exhibitions and sell only the necessary. The first results will come soon,  Maus offers a first exhibition in Brussels where, however, the pictures of Vincent were cut off without mercy.  

Isabella d'Este one of the most
important Patron of her time.
 Paint by Titian 1534
Credits WikiCommons
But Johanna did not give up and look for new opportunities: small galleries, art critics open to the new, small exhibitions, new artistic friendships and so little by little, inspired by a sentence read in a feminist newspaper according to which it is necessary to seek a success but a long lasting success rather a quick but fleeting one, Johanna is not discouraged and therefore, hand in hand, exhibitions multiply, reviews vivify, and Museums called so at the end the Art of Vincent Van Gogh was imposed to the World.

A similar story is one that sees more than three decades of the work of recovery, archiving, preservation and exhibition of the works by Franco Gentilini by his wife Luciana. Her latest initiative is the exhibition which took place in Pontassieve, near Florence, entitled "Franco Gentilini- works of Luciana Gentilini's collection" which was in show until early March.

One can relieve some analogies with the story of  Johanna Van Gogh, but this is true only in the commitment and art promotional success of their loved ones, but the similarities end there, because when Franco Gentilini, one of the most important Italian artist of the '900, disappeared he was already an artist well known and appreciated in Italy and abroad of world famous, quoted.
 It will be exactely his art that will bring Luciana in life after losing her husband: "the agony of his death stole my mind. (...) Inertia and silence. Endless days until nightfall, endless nights waiting for it overlooked the new day ... 'severe depression' is the medical term "[1]. The request to organize an exhibition in memory of her husband, however, showed her the right way: "From that moment the uncontrollable inertia that had gripped me for so many months turned into an equally uncontrollable frenetic activity, which does not it is more arrested "[2]. And actually Luciana Gentilini since 1984 has organized over one hundred exhibitions in Italy and abroad, travelling from Venice to Brussels from Marrakech to Budapest, from Paris to Cairo, from Turin to Halle ... and not only to organize exhibitions but also to protect her husband's work against counterfeiters who now fear her like a ghost in the night because she force them to cut themselves with strong scissors the incriminating canvans!
In recent years she has then recovered, thanks to a grueling thirty-year work, the precious artistic work of the Maestro Gentilini even from his earliest youth work, organized it in the "Luciana Guintoli Gentilini Fund" and conveyed successively in the "Gentilini Archive" which also collects correspondence and biographical documents from the 30s to the 80s' of the XX century, and finally donated to the Quadriennale of Rome and declared in 2013 by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage "of particularly important historical interest"[3].

Stories of Women involved in the Art of their loved ones who have found their realization no longer as artistic subjects but as advocates of an artistic memory; rare witnesses of an unprecedented journey into the History of Art.

[1] A. Natali, A. Bimbi, “Franco Gentilini- Opere della collezione di Luciana Gentilini”, catalogo della collezione, Ed. Polistampa, Firenze, 2016, pag. 27
[2] Idem
[3] L. Gentilini, "Continuare il Tempo", Ed. De Luca, Roma, 2013, pag. 

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