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A family collection, a story of friendship

14 July 2023

Until 8 October 2023 Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan is hosting the exhibition “Adriano Pallini. A family collection”. Among the works are masterpieces by de Chirico, Fontana and many others. We talk about it with his daughter Nicoletta Pallini Clemente.

The exhibition “Adriano Pallini. A family collection” inaugurated on 23 May, proposes a series of significant works, some never exhibited before, profoundly linked to the collector’s life. Such as Campigli’s portrait of Adriano Pallini, donated to FAI by his daughter Nicoletta in 2021 (article in Italian), which opens the sequence of family portraits on display at Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan, an ideal venue for hosting an exhibition that reveals a path through the artistic biography of a man, the collector, and his time, the 20th century.

WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO DONATE THE PORTRAIT OF YOUR FATHER PAINTED BY MASSIMO CAMPIGLI TO FAI?

Two years ago I wanted to donate the portrait that Massimo Campigli painted of my father in 1934 to FAI and in particular to Villa Necchi out of a sense of gratitude and recognition.

In fact, I thought that right here, in this unique house-museum that in many ways has always reminded me of the atmosphere of the homes where we lived, Adriano Pallini, friend and patron of so many artists, could find his rightful place so that his memory could be honoured. And then, I find that my father, in this way, is in excellent company along with Arturo Martini, Mario Sironi, Alberto Savinio, de Chirico, Piero Marussig, and all those companions of his who were given the same passion for art by my friend Claudia Gian Ferrari.

It fills me with joy to think that I have contributed to creating a sort of ‘rendez-vous des amis’ where lifelong friends who shared the same path can meet again forever.

HOW DID THE IDEA OF CREATING AN EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO YOUR FATHER’S COLLECTION COME ABOUT?

Actually, my donation did not envisage an exhibition but triggered the desire to delve into the history of my father and the years in Milan when his collection was formed. Together with Marco Magnifico, Daniela Bruno, Paolo Campiglio, Roberto Dulio and Aurora Totaro, we thought we would try to go further by bringing together at least some of the works that belonged to my father.

The story of this collection was above all a story of friendship between Adriano Pallini and the artists and poets, as can be seen from the numerous letters from the various protagonists that I keep in my archive and that are partly in the exhibition. We have tracked down some thirty works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and engravings, many of which are unpublished and exhibited for the first time on this occasion, and we have tried to restore not only the atmosphere of an era, but also the activity of my father who, a tailor by family tradition, began his important collection at the beginning by making ‘changes’ with artists: a coat for a sculpture, a perfectly cut suit for a painting, a pair of flannel trousers for the poet Vincenzo Cardarelli who feared the cold of the long Milanese winters.

Then, as his profession became more and more established, my father succeeded in realising his life’s dream, that of creating an extraordinary collection of important masterpieces that today I enjoy seeing in museums or published in numerous catalogues.

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