Sunday, March 9, 2014

Dora Maar, and Much More, at Palazzo Fortuny

Prominent among the other works of Mariano Fortuny in this image is one of his famous classically-inspired gowns, while two glass pieces by contemporary artist Ritsue Mishima are visible on the large table at left
Yesterday, March 8, marked the public opening of the spring exhibitions in Palazzo Fortuny: chief among them an extensive show of photographs by Dora Maar, an artist in her own right, though, as the title of the exhibition--Nanostante Picasso or In Spite of Picasso--suggests, still often better known as a model and muse for others. (One of Picasso's famous portraits of her is among the many pieces on display, and another by Man Ray). Also newly on view is Le ammazzoni della fotografia: a selection of photographs from the collection of Mario Trevisan, ranging from the 19th-century work of Juliet Margaret Cameron, through Dianne Arbus, to the unsettling child portraiture of contemporary German artist Loretta Lux; and other exhibitions of works by Ritsue Mishima, Anna-Karin Furunes, and Barbara Paganin. A complete description of the currents shows, which run until the middle of July, may be seen (in English or Italian) at:

I had the good fortune to attend the preview of the spring shows on Friday, the first time, I'm rather embarrassed to say, I've actually visited Palazzo Fortuny--a couple of previous intended visits went awry. I did so in spite of a bit of a fever and some kind of virus that still hasn't gone away, and that has for the most part deprived me of the ability to put one sentence after another in any coherent fashion. So I'll leave this post mostly to some dozen photos, some captions, and the encouragement not to wait so long to visit Palazzo Fortuny as I did. It's one of the truly singular interiors of Venice, and still infused with the spirit of the painter, sculptor, photographer, designer of textiles, stage sets, fashion, and lighting who created it all.  

In the foreground is Sante Benato's and/or Giovanni Gloria's immense model of Villa Pisani in Stra, constructed around 1716
Léonor Fini allongée sur un planché jonché vetements by Dora Maar, from 1936
Portrait de Dora Maar de trois quarts ou fume-cigarette by Izis (Israel Bidermanas) from 1946
Some contemporary women take in the images of anonymous women of the past that make up the exhibition Shadows by artist Anne-Karin Furunes
Another work in glass by Ritsue Mishima amid various works by Fortuny
Fortuny's large model of the Bayreuth Theater, constructed in 1903
Another of Fortuny's stage designs, from 1908
Above and below: the frescoed walls of the room which now holds Fortuny's theatrical models and scenic studies

An anonymous death mask of Beethoven

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