House of a Thousand Paintings. Okay, Two Thousand.
Milan, the Italian metropolis that like a treasure trove keeps its artistic heritage concealed, unveils the wonders of the Museum-Home that once belonged to the Boschi Di Stefano family.
Casa Boschi is located in via Giorgio Jan n. 15, in a beautiful building designed by the prominent architect Piero Portaluppi. Antonio Boschi — an engineer at Pirelli — and his wife Marieda Di Stefano —a ceramic artist — in the course of their life collected over 2000 works of 20th century art, in their 11-room apartment.
Since they had no children, they left their collection and home to the City of Milan, under the condition that it would be open to the public for free. Today about 300 pieces are exhibited in Casa Boschi, that were donated in 1974; whereas the rest of the collection is exhibited at Museo del Novecento that first inaugurated in 2010. The artwork people can admire while visiting Casa Boschi comprises paintings, sculptures and drawings from the beginning of the nineteen hundreds up to the Sixties, by the likes of Gino Severini, Umberto Boccioni, Achille Funi, Piero Marussig, Mario Tozzi, Carlo Carrà and Felice Casorati, to mention a few.
The beautiful period furnishings in the Museum-Home are not entirely retraceable to the acquisitions made by the Boschi Di Stefano spouses, since some of the pieces withered through time. However the ones that were saved possess a captivating charm, like a small table designed by Piero Portaluppi, and the Bechstein grand piano. The Boschi Foundation purchased additional furniture to blend in with the period of the building; a noteworthy piece is the Agena ceiling light of the Galassia collection by Alessandro Mendini, produced by Venini in 1993, installed in the former master bedroom of the Boschi Di Stefanos.
Casa Boschi — that used to be a cenacle for artists and intellectuals of the 20th century —today has volunteers from the Touring Club of Italy welcoming guests who are interested in the history of the house and the several cultural initiatives, such as the current book-show Einaudi: Libri per Ragazzi (Books for Kids), organized by Comune di Milano. This exhibit displays volumes of the first edition of the Italian publishing house Einaudi, featuring distinguished actors and illustrators from the book collection of Claudio Pavese.
This series of children’s books was revolutionary, withdrawing from the tendency of narrating mawkish stories to the younger ones, and choosing to trigger the imagination of its readers, arousing artistic interests. The leading writers featured in this series include Elsa Morante, Italo Calvino, Gianni Rodari, Giovanni Arpino, Luigi Malerba, Mario Lodi and Nico Orengo. Equally prestigious are the illustrators: from the classics Yambo, Antonio Rubino, Sergio Tofano (Sto) to Emanuele Luzzati and Toti Scialoja. But the dominant figure is undoubtably the Milanese Bruno Munari, a historical collaborator of the Turin publisher and a key figure in Italian editorial graphics.
This exhibit is the demonstration of how the spirit of Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano continues to live, through the inspirational, cultural occasions that are hosted in their former home. Casa Boschi continues to capture the zeitgeist of the artists and intellectuals that pass the threshold.