A house without art on the walls is like a body without a soul – we could say drawing inspiration from Cicero’s famous quote (although the original was about a room without books).
Such lacking is almost impossible to encounter in artists’ homes, perhaps also because their apartments tend to be their ateliers and workshops too: paintings are never just hung on the walls, but invade rooms as they wait to be finished or moved to galleries and other residences.
Many important artists of the 20th century had houses in Turin, usually unbeknownst to the general public and sometimes apparently hidden in the small streets of the city center. Some of them are now proper museums, while others are managed informally by the artists’ relatives, and open by appointment only.
We visited seven for you.
Our tour starts in Rivoli, 15 kilometers east of Turin, at Via Rombò 14: Casa Carena (photo above) was home to contemporary artist Antonio Carena (1925-2010). Known for his “aerographic skies”, which decorated and opened to infinity ceilings and walls in various cities in Europe, he claimed he “made neutral spaces un-opaque” and turned “voids into fullness”.
Via Rombò, 14
In the center of the Piedmontese capital, at Via Saluzzo 56, we visit Casa Molinari, an apartment in an old early-1900s building where Mario Molinari (1930-2010) spent his days painting and sculpting. The artist’s wife and son still live there, and welcome visitors with warmth. In his home studio, Molinari shaped playful visions such as the “Woman Closet” and “Grinder Bishop”, still hung on these walls.
Via Saluzzo, 56
Casa Paulucci, at Via De Nicola 6 bis, was named after Genoa-born painter Enrico Paulucci (1901-1999), who in the late 1920s founded the “Group of Six” in Turin with five of his colleagues (including Carlo Levi and Jesse Boswell). The house, however, actually belonged to Laura Riccio Ferrero and her husband Federico Riccio, who showcased Paulucci’s works in their art gallery for years. His creations were a mix of “honesty […], spontaneity, immediacy, a sort of marvelous infallibility”, as Filippo De Pisis once said).
Francesco Tabusso lived at Corso Galileo Ferraris 95. His master and friend, painter Felice Casorati, once said, “The innocence, simplicity, and naturalness of his painting, of his all-open and never-rigged processes, are able to hide all technical skills, all efforts, so his painting seems easy, like a game or something fun… It is exactly this lack of cumbersome concern – that I might describe as utilitarian – that allows it to delicately, humbly enter the magical realm of poetry”.
Casa Casorati – at Via Giuseppe Mazzini 52 – is next on our tour. The great Novara-born artist Felice Casorati (1883-1963) lived and worked here with his wife Daphne Maugham, also a talented painter. The apartment holds a number of their works, as well as the materials they used to create them – not to mention books and a range of furnishings. Of this home, Casorati said, “I love it very much. It’s quiet, on the ground floor, with a small garden, a courtyard, where I can be with my dogs…”; here “I live in peace, and cannot hear cars, cannot hear trams, cannot hear anything…”.
Via Giuseppe Mazzini, 52
Despite its name, Casa Mollino, at Via Napione 2, was not Carlo Mollino’s home. The brilliant, fanciful designer (1905-1973) mixed natural shapes and artistic elements inspired by various styles – namely Baroque, Rococo, Art Nouveau and Surrealism – to create his whimsical pieces. The apartment is decorated with furniture and objects Mollino designed and will delight design enthusiasts and anyone with an appreciation for beautiful things.
Via Giovanni Francesco Napione, 2
Tel.: +39 011 8129868
The address of the last stop in our tour around Turin happens to be particularly fitting: Via Artisti 39 (“artists’ street”). Casa Mazzonis was home to Ottavio Mazzonis (1921-2010), famous for a number of religious works. Silvia Pirracchio, Chair of the Mazzonis Foundation, welcomes visitors in the artist’s apartment – taking them on an enjoyable journey in the great master’s creativity.
Photos via: ©Casa Casorati: firstname.lastname@example.org, ©Casa Molinari: email@example.com, ©Casa Mollino: firstname.lastname@example.org, ©Casa Carena: email@example.com, ©Casa Paulucci: firstname.lastname@example.org, ©Casa Mazzonis: email@example.com, ©Casa Tabusso: firstname.lastname@example.org, Cfr. anche “La Stampa”.