Collezione Giuseppe Iannaccone

It’s wonderful to look at art history and see how artists have always explored the feelings, emotions, pleasures and torments of human beings. Era follows era, artists adapt to the social and economic factors of the changing scene, inventing new forms of poetry; but the human heart stays the same, and I can see a common essence, a shared poetic component, in every period of art. These were the thoughts that led me to begin collecting: works from the interwar period at first, then gradually moving toward the artistic languages of the present. I like to think of my collection not as two separate groupings of art, but as a single vast vessel of timeless stories to be explored, where the clearly visible guiding thread that links it all together is the ability to describe the deepest meaning of humanity, its nature and weaknesses.

Giuseppe Iannaccone

Il suonatore di flauto, 1940

L'elefantino del marchesino, 2000-2007

In the 30s and 40s, Filippo de Pisis used images of young men to describe his own homosexuality in a quiet, reserved, very intimate way. For the time it was a sign of great artistic courage, which is part of what I admire about him. And then in our own era, Luigi Ontani is openly homosexual and his work deals with gay sex without embarrassment. I think both of them may express the same discontent with a society that's not yet ready to fully accept them. So it's no coincidence that they meet up on my Elefantino del Marchesino.

Il postribolo, 1945

Tokyo Comedy , 1997/2008

The concept of woman as object, sadly enough, is still a part of the public imagination. Ziveri described it in his bordellos, and many, many years later, the photographer Araki did as well, in a seemingly different way.

La spiaggia, 1940

Midnight Garden, 2014

War and human suffering weighed on Fausto Pirandello's mind as he painted beaches where human flesh is crowded together and pointlessly tormented with absurd violence. Today, in the works of Imran Qureshi, I see the same torment, the same pointless violence against the spirit and body of man.

Ritratto di Mario Alicata, 1940

Untitled, 2011

Portraiture can be a study of character which delves into the soul, describing the nature of its subject and, at times, the profound goodness of man.

L'intagliatore, 1922

Fred Huges in Paris, 1994

And so Ottone Rosai's Intagliatore, Renato Guttoso's Antonino Sant'Angelo, and Scipione's self-portrait respectively portray love, integrity, and the knowledge of impending death.

Ritratto di Antonino Santangelo, 1942

Woman, 2003

Today, the portraits of Victor Man and Andro Wekua speak of suffering for a history that has become a part of you and can never be erased, Elizabeth Peyton tells us about love and admiration, while Michael Borremans and Roberto Cuoghi depict the mysteries of the human soul. And I could go on citing many other artists in my two collections, which are actually just one.

Amanti al parco, 1940

The Veils, 2001

Stories of lovers, in the 30s and in contemporary art: caught up in the problems of life, like the couple shown by Giuseppe Migneco who find no pleasure in their love due to the sufferings of society and the ugliness of war, or, like Michael Borremans's couple with the veil, united but divided by an invisible pain they must try to fathom.  

I fidanzati, 1934

Untitled, 2000

Lovers united by a boundless love, like Ottone Rosai's Fidanzati or the couple shown by Laura Owens.

I poeti, 1935

The Resemblance, 2006

Renato Birolli's I Poeti is about conceptual painting, about the realism that comes after the filter of poetry, about a kind of poetry that is inside the artist, just as Michael Borremans's diptych is about conceptual realism. Realist painting grows out of reality, but takes poetic shape in the artist's mind.

Natura morta con piuma, 1929

The Overthinker in a Ticket, 2006

I like artists who have no qualms about describing whatever moves the human soul, without filters or censorship, like the sex described by Scipione in Natura morta con piuma, or the artist’s discomfort with his own homosexuality in Hernan Bas’s self-portrait from 2006, or Luigi Ontani’s San Sebastiano.

L'Arlecchino, 1931

Bronze Rat, 2006

Freedom in art can be like Renato Birolli, who uses color to destroy the chiaroscuro of the Italian twentieth century, looking toward Europe for a kind of painting without pre-established rules, or freedom in art can be like Banksy, who in our own time uses a rebellious rat with a paintbrush to express himself outside the usual canons, celebrating art without frontiers, or it can be like Barbad Golshiri, who will accept no prizes from representatives of the official art world.

Donna al Caffè, 1940

Untitled, 2004

Not everything has stayed the same. There are things that belong to each era, like the violence against women depicted by Regina José Galindo and Wangechi Mutu, which has always existed but never used to be shown.

Ragazza, 1941

?Quién puede borrar las huellas?, 2003

Arnaldo Badodi did let us glimpse the subjugation of woman in the solitude of his girls and the sad faces of his dancers and prostitutes; faces that tell of psychological violence.

Progetto In pratica

Years ago, in his law offices where part of his contemporary art collection is housed, Giuseppe Iannaccone exhibited a number of works by a young artist who at the time was almost unknown. This encounter led to such a lasting rapport that Giuseppe Iannaccone is now the only collector to own the whole series of self-portraits by that artist: Francesco Gennari. It was this wonderful experience that gave Iannaccone the idea of presenting small exhibitions on the premises of his law firm, side by side with the works of well-established artists from the international scene. Solo shows by talented young artists still unfamiliar to the general public are alternated with thematic exhibitions on the Expressionists of the 30s, to make the Giuseppe Iannaccone Collection part of an ongoing dialogue and an increasingly one-of-a-kind experience, moving past the idea of mechanically classifying and cataloguing artists and works by place and period. The collector's aim is to group together kindred forms of expression to help us gain a better understanding of them, weaving unexpected connections that offer fresh new insight.


Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art London | A New Figurative Art 1920-1945 | Works from Collezione Giuseppe Iannaccone

Since the early 1990s, Milanese lawyer Giuseppe Iannaccone has been amassing one of the most outstanding private collections of Italian art from the inter-war years. For the first time, 50 key works from the collection will be coming to the UK and will be shown at London’s Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art. A New Figurative Art 1920-1945: Works from the Giuseppe Iannaccone Collection will run from 26 September to 23 December 2018. 

Presenting a large number of iconic works, this exhibition explores a crucial phase of Italian art history that remains little-known outside its native country. It testifies not only to one man’s enduring passion for a period that continues to fascinate him, but also to the determination of a number of important painters to reassert their values of humanity and poetry in the face of militarism, nationalism and totalitarianism. 

Having become fascinated with figurative painting of the 1930s, Iannaccone set about building a collection that has brought together works by some of the most significant artists belonging to such influential schools and tendencies as the Scuola di Via Cavour (Mario Mafai, Antonietta Raphaël and Scipione), the Sei di Torino (Gigi Chessa, Nicola Galante, Carlo Levi and Francesco Menzio) and Corrente (Arnaldo Badodi, Renato Birolli, Bruno Cassinari, Giuseppe Migneco, Ennio Morlotti, Aligi Sassu, Ernesto Treccani, Italo Valenti and Emilio Vedova). A number of other painters are also represented in the collection, which includes major pieces by Filippo de Pisis, Fausto Pirandello and Ottone Rosai, and a rare figurative sculpture by Lucio Fontana. Including works by all of these artists (as well as a range of other figures such as Renato Guttuso and Alberto Ziveri), the exhibition will provide an authoritative overview of a key moment in the evolution of modern Italian art. 

Notes to Editors 

About the Estorick Collection 

The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is internationally renowned for its core of Futurist works. It comprises some 120 paintings, drawings, watercolours, prints and sculptures by many of the most prominent Italian artists of the modernist era. There are six galleries, two of which are used for temporary exhibitions. Since opening in 1998, the Estorick has established a reputation and gained critical acclaim as a key venue for bringing Italian art to the British public. 

More information about the Collezione Giuseppe Iannaccone can be found at 

Listings Information 

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, 39a Canonbury Square, London N1 2AN 

T: +44 (0)20 7704 9522 E: 

Twitter / @Estorick / estorickcollection / estorickcollection 

Opening Hours 

Wednesdays-Saturdays 11.00-18.00, Sundays 12.00-17.00 

Closed Mondays & Tuesdays 

Admission: £6.50, Concs £4.50. 

Includes entry to exhibition and permanent collection. 

Transport: Tube/Rail: Highbury & Islington (Victoria Line / London Overground / Great Northern); Essex Road (Great Northern) 

For further press information, please contact Alison Wright Alison Wright E: 

T: +44 (0)1608 646 175 or M: +44 (0)7814 796 930 

A New Figurative Art 1920-1945

Works from the Giuseppe Iannaccone Collection

Tuesday 25 September 2018 | 6.00 – 8.30 p.m.

Please bring this invitation with you

Admits Two

Mandatory RSVP by 21 September

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Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art,

39a Canonbury Square, London N1 2AN

T: +44 (0) 20 7704 9522 E:

Twitter / @Estorick / estorickcollection / estorickcollection

Orari di apertura

Mercoledì, sabato, dalle 11:00 alle 18:00, domenica dalle 12:00 alle 17:00

Chiuso il lunedì e il martedì

Ingresso: £ 6,50, ridotto: £ 4,50.

Include l’ingresso alla mostra e alla collezione permanente.

Trasporti: metropolitana / treno: Highbury & Islington (Victoria Line / London Overground / Great Northern); Essex Road (Great Northern)