The Boschi Di Stefano House Museum is a museum in the Municipality of Milan which has been open to the public since 2003. The apartment, formerly inhabited by husband and wife Antonio Boschi (1896-1988) and Marieda Di Stefano (1901-1968), hosts an exhibition of around three hundred works, including paintings, sculptures and furnishings belonging to their collection.
The Boschi Di Stefano House-Museum is a historic home in Milan. It is located on the second floor of a building in via Giorgio Jan at number 15. Boschi Di Stefano House Museum at number 15, Via Giorgio Jan, Milan, has been open to the public since February 2003. In these rooms – once inhabited by the married couple Antonio Boschi (1896-1988) and Marieda Di Stefano (1901-1968) – are exhibited about three-hundred selected pieces from the whole collection, donated to the City of Milan in 1974.
The collection – about two thousand works, over paintings, sculptures and drawings – is an extraordinary testimony to twentieth century italian art history, from the first decade to the end of the Sixties and includes artists like Lucio Fontana, Giorgio Morandi, Mario Sironi, Giorgio de Chirico, Piero Manzoni, Arturo Martini, Emilio Vedova, Piero Marussig, Umberto Boccioni, Filippo de Pisis among others.
The historic home
The building was built between 1929 and 1931 under the supervision of the architect Piero Portaluppi – former designer of the Villa Necchi Campiglio – by the company Di Stefano and Radici: Francesco Di Stefano was the father of the recipient of the accommodation, Marieda Di Stefano (1901 – 1968).
Since February 2003 the historic home has been open to the public and since October 2008 it has been part of the circuit of the ” Case museo di Milano “: a selection of more than two hundred pictorial works from the collection which, together with the house, belonged to Di Stefano and to her husband Antonio Boschi (1896 – 1987), who made the house an inhabited museum.
Architecturally, the building that houses the art gallery is distinguished on the outside by its characteristic “corner” structure, while the interiors – both in the common areas and in the apartments – are enriched, according to the typical Portaluppi style, by large windows and elegant railings in art deco style.
From 16 May 2009 the House-museum can be visited completely free of charge from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm thanks to the presence of the Volunteers for the Lombard Cultural Heritage of the Italian Touring Club who, with their presence, allow the opening of this and other Milan sites
Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano
Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano married in 1927. Antonio, born in Novara in 1896, had moved to Milan at the end of the war to attend the Polytechnic, where he had graduated in engineering. After a few years of work in Budapest, he returned to Italy to deal with the production and processing of rubber at Pirelli.
Marieda, born in Milan in 1901 from a family originally from the Marche, had studied sculpture at the studio of the artist Luigi Amigoni, and from these had been started to work with ceramics, a passion that she would not abandon.
Known during a holiday in Val Sesia, the two spouses share a passion for art. In the building built by Marieda’s father, Francesco, where they move shortly after their wedding, they collect about two thousand works including paintings, sculptures and pieces of ancient art. Friends of the artists and their supporters, they participate in the vitality and variety of proposals of the city of Milan, managing to make their own paintings representative of Italian artistic culture.
Antonio works at Pirelli until retirement age. The company will offer him an honor for his long collaboration, which lasted from 1926 to 1965 and is studded with important patents, such as the GIUBO (Giunto Boschi): a joint consisting of rubber blocks arranged in the shape of a polygon, useful for absorbing vibrations. of vehicles and used for the first time in the 1900 model Alfa Romeo produced between 1950 and 1959.
In addition to travelling with her husband, Marieda continued to cultivate her interest in ceramics. From 1953 onwards, she exhibited her sculptures on an almost annual basis at the Montenapoleone Gallery and contributed to numerous collective exhibitions and competitions in cities across Italy. Building on her natural flair and growing recognition, she later opened a School of Ceramics on the ground floor of the apartment block on Via Jan.
In 1968, Marieda passed away. The love for art shared with his wife will push Antonio Boschi, in 1974, to donate the collected works to the Municipality of Milan.
The first exhibition of the Boschi di Stefano collection is located in Palazzo Reale in 1974, with an exhibition curated by the then director of the Civic art collections, Mercedes Precerutti Garberi, whose role was instrumental in ensuring such an important collection for the city of Milan. At that time the Lombard capital could not yet boast a museum dedicated to the art of the twentieth century, but its realization was being planned on the noble floor of the Royal Palace. In 1984 the CIMAC (Civic Museum of Contemporary Art) was born which, pending a definitive location, was placed on the second floor of the Royal Palace. A hundred and forty of the works exhibited in the path of the nascent museum came from the Boschi Di Stefano Collection.
In the same years Antonio Boschi, on the eve of his death in 1987, made a second donation in favor of the municipality of Milan, including the purchases made after the death of his wife Marieda. The breadth of the collection and its uniqueness meant that, alongside the project for the construction of a museum dedicated to contemporary art (which gradually took shape in the idea of using the Arengario in Piazza Duomo), work began adaptation of the Boschi apartment to the role of house-museum.
The Boschi di Stefano House Museum was inaugurated in 2003. Conservation and safety reasons, as well as the changes undergone by the apartment to become a museum, have imposed a selection of the works, which therefore do not reflect the original layout. However, the organization of the paintings in a picture gallery keeps faith with the particularly dense distribution that characterized the rooms when the Boschi spouses were still alive and of which remains in a series of photographs taken by Gabriele Basilico. The exhibition, curated by Maria Teresa Fiorio, privileged a chronological presentation of the collection, easier and more comprehensible to the visitors’ public.
With the exception of a few pieces of furniture, the furnishings of the Casa Museo are the result of a series of targeted purchases made by the Boschi Di Stefano Foundation in respect of the style of the building and the time of birth of the collection.
However, the arrangement of the paintings in a sort of picture gallery, covering the walls all the way up to the ceiling, is a faithful representation of how the rooms looked when the Boschi family still lived there, as demonstrated by a series of photographs taken by Gabriele Basilico.
The exhibition, curated by Maria Teresa Fiorio, is set up to present the works chronologically, making it more accessible to the public. Save for a few pieces, the furnishings of the House Museum were purchased specially by the Boschi Di Stefano Foundation to match the style of the building and the era in which the collection was founded and developed.
The Boschi Di Stefano collection was donated to the Municipality of Milan in 1973 and represents a testimony of twentieth-century art (especially between the years 1910 and 1960) with its 1817 works. Mercedes Garberi dates back to the years 1929-30 the first systematic purchases of works by the Boschi spouses who could count on the initial assistance of his father-in-law, Francesco Di Stefano, who in 38 inherited a substantial core of works.
The Boschi Di Stefano Collection includes about two thousand works, including paintings, sculptures and graphics. A selection of about three hundred works is exhibited at the Boschi Di Stefano House Museum, while the rest are partly included in the visit itinerary of the 900 Museum, located in Piazza Duomo, and partly preserved in the deposits of the Municipality of Milan.
The Boschi Di Stefano collection also includes a collection of musical instruments mostly kept in the Museum of Musical Instruments of the Castello Sforzesco, including the Bechstein piano and the violins in the Casa Museo; a collection of carpets today at the Castello Sforzesco and a collection of ancient art, in small part inserted in the path of the House Museum and mostly preserved in the Museum of Cultures (MUDEC).
The collection represents an extraordinary testimony of the history of Italian art of the twentieth century and includes works by Umberto Boccioni, Gerardo Dottori, Gino Severini, Felice Casorati, Piero Marussig, Arturo Tosi, Carlo Carrà, Scipione, Mario Mafai, Mario Sironi, Arturo Martini, Giacomo Manzù, Aligi Sassu, Renato Birolli, Renato Paresce, Alberto Savinio, Giorgio de Chirico, Filippo De Pisis, Massimo Campigli, Lucio Fontana, Cesare Peverelli, Rodolfo Aricò, Bepi Romagnoni, Giulio Turcato, Gianni Dova, Alfredo Chighine, Enrico Baj, Piero Manzoni.
A fascinating place with a unique atmosphere, where every detail contributes to recreating the style of an era, the Boschi Di Stefano House Museum offers the visitor an experience different from any other museum. Through the rooms of the apartment on the second floor of the prestigious building designed by the architect Piero Portaluppi in the 1920s, the Casa Museo reveals to the visitor the profound link between the individual experience of collecting and the history of the territory to which it belongs.
The Boschi spouses
The entrance of the house with Marieda’s sculpture “La Collana” (“The Necklace”, 1966) between the twin doors that lead respectively to the living room and Antonio Boschi’s study. Above the doors one “Concetto spaziale” (“Spatial Concept”, 1956) by Lucio Fontana. Since then a lot has changed, but “La Collana” still welcomes our visitors today in the same place.
The wooden bench still present today. Hanging on the wall the 1956 “Golgotha” by Lucio Fontana, now exhibited in Milan at the Museo del Novecento. Lucio Fontana was a close friend of Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano. Today we find in the House Museum a room entirely dedicated to him, displaying a large selection of masterpieces.
The entrance to the house with Marieda’s sculpture “Il Passo” (“The step”, 1966) right in front of the corridor door. On the wall there are other works and “cuts” by Lucio Fontana, including the 1958-60 “Concetto spaziale. Attese” (Spatial Concept. Waitings”), which is now located in the monographic room dedicated to the great spatialist.
Marieda Boschi Di Stefano On three floors, 1964
Marieda Boschi Di Stefano The stained glass window, 1965
Gianni Dova Portrait of the engineer Boschi, 1948
Giuseppe Ajmone Portrait of Mrs. Boschi, 1947-1948
Marieda Boschi Di Stefano The path, 1961
Marius Ledda Portrait of Marieda Boschi Di Stefano, 1934
Cesare Monti Portrait of Marieda Boschi Di Stefano, 1929
Remo Brindisi The Boschi couple, 1951
Remo Brindisi The Boschi couple, 1947
Marieda Boschi Di Stefano Metallic plate, 1967
Before the twentieth century
The corridor of Casa Boschi Di Stefano taken from the bottom towards the entrance. On the wooden cabinet the sculpture by Arturo Martini “La vittoria” (“The Victory”, 1934) which is now on display in Sironi’s room. The showcase and the door that act as a backdrop on the right have been removed during conversion works as museum space. This antechamber is now dedicated to works created before the “Novecento Italiano” movement.
The corridor framed from the bottom towards the entrance. On the cabinet near the “Vittoria” is a set of dishes created by Marieda, shaped as fishes, now on display in the showcase of the Chiaristi corridor. On the right is also visible the original armchair now in the living room, used by the Mendini brothers as a model to draw the sofa and armchairs that we see in front of the bow window.
Paula Modersohn Becker Girl in a red dress, around 1906
Piero Marussig Portrait of his wife, 1904
Ardengo Soffici Paesaggio, 1908
Achille Funi Portrait of a little girl, 1921
Achille Funi Fruit basket, early twenties of the twentieth century
Piero Marussig The friends, around 1918
Piero Marussig Two children, around 1915
Piero Marussig The garden, 1914
Piero Marussig Dressing table, around 1925
Piero Marussig Still life with pears, around 1915
Piero Marussig Vase with flowers, 1915
Piero Marussig Parrot, around 1915
Piero Marussig The dome of San Carlo, mid 1930s
Ubaldo Oppi September full moon, 1923
Piero Marussig The window, around 1915
Ubaldo Oppi Religious subject, 1929
Gino Severini Paysage à Civray, 1917
Gino Severini Still life with statue, around 1930
Atanasio Soldati The city, around 1935
Gerardo Dottori The tack, 1931
Umberto Boccioni Testa di vecchio, 1909
Scipione The rural muse, 1929
Enrico Prampolini Negro mask, around 1927
Ralph Rumney Composition Series, 1957
The Italian twentieth century
Piero Marussig Still life with tambourine, 1925
Arturo Tosi Anemoni, 1922
Piero Marussig Still life, mid thirties of the twentieth century
Piero Marussig Still life with mask, around 1928
Felice Casorati La donnaccia, 1934
Felice Casorati Female nude, 1928
Arturo Tosi The maid, around 1938
Piero Marussig Igea, early 1920s of the 20th century
Piero Marussig Still life, 1934
Marius Ledda Pesci, 1932
Felice Casorati Il mestolo, 1933
Carlo Carrà Still life with bottle and fruit, 1935
Piero Marussig The reader, 1935
Mario Tozzi Madonna and Child, around 1925
Giuseppe Montanari The fisherman, 1928
Achille Funi Bagnante, around 1928
Achille Funi The fisherman, 1927
Pompeo Borra Female figure, around 1935
Achille Funi Female nude, around 1930
Piero Marussig Female figure with a shawl, 1927
Piero Marussig Scugnizzo, around 1929
Carlo Carrà Case e monti, 1928
Arturo Tosi Road to Rovetta, around 1926
Piero Marussig Villa by the sea, late twenties of the twentieth century
Alberto Salietti The cement factory, 1927
Arturo Tosi Songavazzo, 1925
Achille Funi Trieste, around 1933
Raffaele De Grada Landscape on the Lambro, around 1930
Arturo Tosi The tip of Portofino, before 1937
Virgilio Guidi Paesaggio, around 1929
Virgilio Guidi Landscape with villa, around 1920
Mauro Reggiani Paesaggio, around 1937
Carlo Carrà Capanni in Versilia, 1931
Piero Marussig Peat bog houses, first half of the 1930s
Piero Marussig Still life with flask, early 1930s of the 20th century
A small study of Casa Boschi Di Stefano, which corresponds to the current Sala Sironi. In the center of the wall “Songavazzo” (1926) by Arturo Tosi; top left “Il bel cadavere” (“The Beautiful Corpse”, 1919-20) by Achille Funi, now in the Museo del Novecento. In the lower right corner “Case e monti” (“Houses and Mountains”, 1928) by Carlo Carrà. On the cupboard, some sculptures by Arturo Martini and Lucio Fontana.
Another shot of the same study. Top right, hanging on the wall, “Le amiche” (“The Friends”, 1918) by Piero Marussig, which is now in the antechamber. Lower right the iconic “L’Annunciazione” (“The Annunciation”, 1922), by Alberto Savinio, now visible in the living room and symbol of the House Museum. The sculpture on a white basement is a ceramic work by Marieda Di Stefano, “L’ippodrago” (“The Dragon-Horse”, 1951-52).
Mario Sironi Natura morta dalla squadra, 1923-1924
Mario Sironi Pescatori, 1931 circa
Mario Sironi Donna con vanga, 1934 circa
Mario Sironi Contadino, 1936 circa
Mario Sironi Il sogno, 1931 circa
Mario Sironi Figura femminile, 1929 circa
Mario Sironi La cucitrice, 1928
Mario Sironi Composizione, 1930 circa
Mario Sironi Apparizione, 1930 circa
Mario Sironi Manichino, 1917-1918
Mario Sironi Mondo arcaico, 1945-1946 circa
Mario Sironi Venere dei porti, 1919
Mario Sironi La fata della montagna, 1929
Mario Sironi Paesaggio alpestre, 1930 circa
Mario Sironi L’uomo e la montagna, 1930 circa
Mario Sironi Paese, 1924-1925
Mario Sironi Castello, 1929-1930
Mario Sironi Gasometro, 1922
Mario Sironi Paesaggio urbano, 1919
Mario Sironi Statue nelle nicchie, 1947 circa
Mario Sironi Il chiostro, 1925 circa
Mario Sironi Paesaggio, 1928 circa
Mario Sironi L’eremo, 1930 circa
Mario Sironi La nuvola sulla città, 1929-1930
Mario Sironi Paesaggio urbano, 1929-1930
Mario Sironi L’adultera, 1940 circa
Mario Sironi Il figliol prodigo, primi anni Quaranta del XX secolo
Mario Sironi Grande composizione, 1947 circa
Mario Sironi Donna che legge, 1930 circa
Mario Sironi Ritratto della figlia, 1925-1926
Mario Sironi Busto di giovinetto, 1925 circa
Corrente, Morandi, De Pisis
The dining room of Casa Boschi. On the wall, around the door, some works by Mario Sironi including “Il sogno” (“The Dream”, 1931) and “Mondo arcaico” (“Archaic World”, 1945-46). On the left we also see the fragment of an ancient indian plastered head, now in the Novecento room.
Renato Birolli The great mystics, around 1937
Renato Birolli Il Caos II, 1937
Italo Valenti Composition, 1939-1940
Fiorenzo Tomea Frutta, 1932
Renato Birolli Eldorado, 1935
Aligi Sassu Diana and Actaeon, 1938-1939
Aligi Sassu The death of Caesar (study), 1938-1939
Renato Guttuso The prodigal son, around 1935
Giuseppe Migneco Portrait of Beniamino Joppolo, 1942
Giuseppe Migneco Eufrasia and Polimnia, 1939
Bruno Cassinari Carpet on the chair, 1939
Giorgio Morandi Landscape, 1940
Giorgio Morandi Green landscape, 1940
Giorgio Morandi Landscape, 1941
Giorgio Morandi Fiori, 1952
Giorgio Morandi Fiori, 1941
Giorgio Morandi Dried roses, 1940
Giorgio Morandi Dark still life, 1924
Filippo De Pisis The post office in Venice, early 1930s
Filippo De Pisis Ducal Palace, early 1930s
Filippo De Pisis San Moisè, around 1945
Filippo De Pisis Interior with bottle, 1940
Filippo De Pisis Fiori, around 1939
Filippo De Pisis Flower pot, around 1925
Ennio Morlotti Fiori, 1939
Bruno Cassinari The chimney pots, 1941
Renato Birolli Urban landscape, 1931
Bruno Cassinari Deposition, 1941
Arnaldo Badodi Concerto, 1940
The Paris school
In the arc are hanging, among others, “Testa di vecchio” (Head of an Old Man”, 1909) by Umberto Boccioni and “Peruginesca” (1921) by Giorgio de Chirico. On the Bechstein piano, the wax sculpture “Testa” (“Head”, 1938-39) by Giacomo Manzù. The wooden table in front of the sofa, designed by the architect Piero Portaluppi, is still preserved today in the Corrente room. In these photos floors are almost completely covered by several layers of carpets and rugs. Paintings and sculptures are placed almost everywhere. No trace of the chronological succession that would have been followed in the design of the current museum itinerary.
The large canvas “La Scuola dei gladiatori: il combattimento” (“The School of the Gladiators: the COmbat”, 1928) by Giorgio de Chirico dominates the room. It is still hanging on the same wall today. A monographic de Chirico wall. “La scuola dei gladiatori: il combattimento” (“The school of Gladiators: the Combat”, 1928) in the center. On the top left “I facitori di trofei” (1926-28), on the lower right “Nudo sulla spiaggia” (“Nude on the Beach”, c. 1931), both still in the living room of the House Museum.
To the right of the mirror, three little paintings by Filippo de Pisis: “Fiori” (“Flowers”, c. 1939), “Vasetto di fiori” (“Flower Pot, c. 1925) and “San Moisè” (c. 1945). On the table a ceramic work by Marieda Di Stefano: “Gli uomini” (“The Men”, 1957-58).
Giorgio de Chirico Peruginesca, 1921
Mario Mafai Manichino, 1939-1940
Massimo Campigli Portrait of a young woman, early thirties of the twentieth century
Massimo Campigli Healthy Women, 1931
Massimo Campigli Les recluses, 1930
Massimo Campigli La petite reine, 1930
Giorgio de Chirico Trophy makers, 1925-1928
Alberto Savinio The Annunciation, 1932
Renato Paresce The port, 1932
Giorgio de Chirico Nude on the beach, circa 1931
Renato Paresce Statue and staircase, 1929
Renato Paresce La casa dell’ondina, 1932
Alberto Savinio Prehistoric Algeria, circa 1933
Giorgio de Chirico Still life. Silent Life, circa 1931
Giorgio de Chirico The school of gladiators: the fight, 1928
Umberto Lilloni The hill, 1930-1931
Angelo Del Bon Boats in the lagoon, 1926
Umberto Lilloni San Giorgio Island, 1931
Angelo Del Bon Boats in Riva Trigoso, 1927
Francesco De Rocchi Boy in red, around 1933
Costant Permeke Marina, late 1940s
Pio Semeghini Maschere, 1932
Francesco De Rocchi Interior with guitar, 1937
Umberto Lilloni The tree, 1930-1931
Francesco De Rocchi Still life with fish, 1937
Francesco De Rocchi The song, around 1933
Cristoforo De Amicis Landscape, 1928
Adriano (di) Spilimbergo Still life, 1938
Angelo Del Bon Peasant at work, around 1929
Angelo Del Bon Campi in San Siro, 1931
Pio Semeghini Landscape, 1932
Studio of Antonio Boschi
The small room was once the studio of Antonio Boschi. Next to the window the sculpture “Prometeo” (“Prometheus”, 1956) by Roberto Crippa. The room occupies one of the two ends of the current room dedicated to Lucio Fontana. The wall on the right no longer exists.
Lucio Fontana Spatial concept series, circa 1951-1960
Marieda Di Stefan’s studio
Remo Brindisi Nude horizontal, 1947
Cesare Peverelli The mother, 1947
Aldo Bergolli The old woman, 1946
Franco Francese Testa, 1947
Gianni Dova Male figure with cigarette, around 1946
Mattia Moreni Frutti, 1947
Mattia Moreni Watermelon, 1947
Bobo Piccoli Still life, 1947
Piero Giunni Crocifisso, 1947
Gianni Dova Toro, 1947
Aldo Bergolli Still life with skull, 1946
Aldo Bergolli Still life with skull, 1946
Giuseppe Ajmone Paesaggio, around 1947
Ibrahim Kodra Composition, around 1945
Luigi Spazzapan Cellist, around 1947
Gastone Breddo The seller, 1945-1946
Gianni Dova Uccello, 1947
Gianni Dova Toro, 1947
Aldo Bergolli Landscape, 1947
Giuseppe Ajmone The green hill, 1947
Gianni Dova In the landscape, 1955
Sergio Dangelo Forma, 1951
Sergio Dangelo Agitation, 1958
Sergio Dangelo Paesaggio, 1957
Aldo Bergolli Paesaggio, 1958
Roberto Crippa Totem, 1955
Gianni Dova Corsair Fish, 1955
Gianni Dova The nest, 1956
Sergio Dangelo The tree, 1957
Roberto Crippa Spirali, 1952-1953
Roberto Crippa The dream of Anna Boleyn II, 1951
Roberto Crippa Spirali, 1953
Cesare Peverelli Polimaterico, 1951-1954
Cesare Peverelli Insect fighting, 1955
Enrico Baj Atomized landscape, 1957
Enrico Baj Character in the mountain, around 1958
Enrico Baj Get excited, stones and mountains !, circa 1958
Roberto Crippa Forme on red, 1957
Roberto Crippa Composition, 1952
Roberto Crippa Spirale on gray, 1953
The Informal and Manzoni
Lots of painting in the bedroom too. Top left near the curtains, “I comignoli” (“The Chimneys”, c. 1941) by Bruno Cassinari; bottom left “Trieste” (1933) by Achille Funi. On the top of the back wall there are three paintings by Renato Paresce, including “La casa dell’ondina” (“The house of the Wave”, 1932). To the left of the mirror a ceramic work by Lucio Fontana: “Deposizione” (“Deposition”, 1955-56).
Arturo Carmassi Canneto, 1956
Arturo Carmassi L’autostrada, 1956
Alfredo Chighine Composition, 1954
Alfredo Chighine Composition, 1954
Alfredo Chighine Composition, 1954
Giuseppe Ajmone La grande palma, circa 1955
Giuseppe Ajmone Riviera, circa 1955
Alfredo Chighine Composition, 1954
Alfredo Chighine Brown figure on orange, 1954
Aldo Bergolli Red-purple landscape, 1955
Valentino Vago Two forms, 1960
Alfredo Chighine Black figure and yellow drawing, 1954
Alfredo Chighine Autumn, 1956
Valentino Vago Composition, 1964
Emilio Vedova Image of the time, 1953
Bepi Romagnoni Man who speaks, 1958
Elena Mezzadra Aerial composition, 1978
Giulio Turcato Composition in red, 1958
Valentino Vago Rettangoli, 1961
Toti Scialoja Blüthner small n. 1, 1960
Salvatore Scarpitta The Greek pitch, 1957
Costantino Guenzi Vertical image n. 1, 1963
Tino Vaglieri Interior-exterior, 1962
Rodolfo Aricò Event, 1960
Giulio Turcato Composition, 1958
Mario Blonde Marine element, 1962
Roberto Crippa Two forms, 1960
Sandro Martini Lamiera, 1959
Rodolfo Aricò Figura, 1958
Aldo Bergolli Black landscape on white, 1955
Mario Bionda Brown image, 1962
Piero Manzoni Rettangolo, 1958
Piero Manzoni Hypothesis first. Broken Rectangle, 1958
Ambrogio Fumagalli Aperiatur terra, 1960
The paintings and sculptures currently on display in the Boschi Di Stefano House Museum are spread throughout eleven rooms dedicated to the Novecento Italiano, Mario Sironi, the Corrente movement, Giorgio Morandi, the School of Paris, Lucio Fontana, the Nuclearists and Spatialists, Informalism, and Piero Manzoni.
As Antonio Boschi recalled in 1974, the collection stemmed from his association with Marieda Di Stefano.
«When I met Marieda and discovered the similarities that unconsciously brought us together, it was a classic “coup de foudre”. My experience with the plastic arts was limited; my father had guided me towards music and studying the violin, which was and still is one of my passions. What’s more, the troubled times of my youth during the First World War followed by two years abroad in Budapest for work had prevented me from focusing on art. Marieda, meanwhile, came from a family from the Marche who had relocated to Milan, so she had the central Italian passion for the plastic arts in her blood. Her father, shaken by the first exhibition of the Novecento movement, had already started a collection of his own, and we inherited some paintings when he passed away. When we married in 1927, it spurred on the passion that we both carried within us, with each of us pushing the other to overcome any concerns about our fairly modest household budget, which was that of a young engineer working for a major manufacturer».
The Boschi family acquired many of the works in their collection thanks to the direct relationships that they struck up with artists. Their relationship with Morandi is a perfect example: “Having secured an appointment through friends, Marieda went to the fateful Via Fondazza in Bologna one day. That evening, I went to wait for her at the station and saw her arrive with three paintings, all of excellent quality! Not only that, but she’d made an agreement with Morandi that Kissinger would have been proud of! “Write to me in three months and I’ll make you a promise.” The promise came: “In six months, I’ll give you a painting.” He kept his word to the letter. And so it was to continue. Once he gave Marieda two paintings and told her: “Name your price.” Sheepishly, Marieda put down three thousand lire. “That’s too much, that’s too much,” Morandi responded, handing back a thousand lire. Many critics and collectors visited that studio, and I think they all felt the charm of the silence in that little courtyard, which was Morandi’s world. I once saw it under a blanket of snow, and it was more enchanting than ever.”
Arturo Martini, Carlo Carrà, Mario Sironi and Lucio Fontana were frequent visitors to the building on Via Jan, while the couple were very early exponents of the Corrente movement, hence the presence in the collection of the earliest works by Birolli, Cassinari, Paganin and Migneco followed by Morlotti, Dova, Ajmone, Chighine, Bergolli, Crippa, etc.
A unique atmosphere
To this day, visitors to the Boschi Di Stefano House Museum can still get a sense of the events that led to the birth of the collection. A fascinating place with a unique atmosphere where every detail is designed to recreate the style of an era, the Boschi Di Stefano House Museum immerses visitors in a reality unlike any other museum.
As one moves through the rooms of the second-floor apartment in the prominent building designed by architect Piero Portaluppi in the 1920s, the House Museum reveals the profound link between the individual experience of collecting and the history of the land to which it belongs.