Massimo and Sonia Cirulli began to collect art in New York, in the early 1980s.
This is a passion that Massimo Cirulli initially combines with his daytime job as a financial consultant, exploring the New York art scene with friends and colleagues who lead him to the discovery of the historical avant-gardes and of graphic design for advertising. It is precisely the scarcity of Italian posters that impresses him and spurs him to begin the adventure of collecting, along with his wife Sonia Pellegrini.
This journey has led them to a search of artists from the Italian graphic design tradition (from Roberto Metlicovitz, to the heirs of Marcello Dudovich, and to Lilia Pratelli, daughter of Esodo Pratelli). They encountered both heirs and key figures in the history of Italian commercial communication, from Ricordi’s Director, Eugenio Grassi, to Armando Testa.
During a visit to collector Micky Wolfson’s 1984 exhibition, Italy 1900-1945, notwithstanding the night, Massimo and Sonia developed the insight and ambition, which continue to this day, to narrate Italy and the art of the twentieth century through an aesthetic dialogue that involves painting, posters, design, technical projects, books, photography, and architecture. They strive to reconstruct through images the development of an Italian style and the historical link between the high art and the knowledge of a craft, between artists and major Italian companies. This vision has resulted in an acquisition policy that favors artists active between the beginning and the second half of the twentieth century, and follows the rule of the Boston art dealer, Bernice Jackson: “First ten seconds”, 10 seconds to choose a work of art. Regardless of trends and fashionable names.
Pierpaolo Antonello, University of Cambridge
Contessa Maria Fede Caproni, Caproni Museum
Nicola Lucchi, New York University
Ara H. Merjian, New York University
Jeffrey T. Schnapp, MetaLab (at) Harvard, Harvard University
Massimo Cirulli, Direction
Sonia Pellegrini, Head of Archives and organizational coordination
Vittoria Cirulli, Communication and Social Media
Nicola Lucchi, Advisor and External Relations, New York