Art&Style

Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano

The Magnificent Obsession

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano — Lombardia Secrets

On a side street of Corso Buenos Aires, among splendid artworks of de Chirico, Fontana, and Sironi, and the friezes of the architect Portaluppi, the original Casa Museo was born from the love of Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano for collecting the great avant-gardes of the twentieth century.

The privilege of entering a house museum puts us in contact with some of the strongest emotions that art collecting, in its passionate Recherche, has in common with the artist himself. Indeed, obsession, sacrifice, sense of the divine can be felt as soon as you climb up to the second floor of this eclectic Milanese building.

Built between 1929 and 1931 by Piero Portaluppi for the Di Stefano family, Antonio Boschi (1896-1988) and Marieda Di Stefano (1901-1968) happily lived here and, united by the same boundless love for the figurative arts, they collected in the course of their life over 2000 works, including paintings and sculptures, by the most important authors of the twentieth century, then donated to the Municipality of Milan.

Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano — Lombardia Secrets
Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano — Lombardia Secrets

All the Italian artists have dropped by their living room, from Savinio to de Chirico, from Morandi to Marussig, often entertained by the famous musical evenings organized by my uncles.

(Alessandro Mendini, nephew of Antonio Boschi)

About 300 of them are exhibited in the rooms of their apartment, including works by Piero Marussig, Umberto Boccioni, Mario Sironi, Giorgio de Chirico, Arturo Martini, Achille Funi, Giorgio Morandi, Filippo de Pisis, Lucio Fontana, Renato Birolli, Aligi Sassu, Roberto Crippa, Enrico Baj, and Piero Manzoni.

Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano, as we see it today, only partially reflects the original appearance that the collection had when the Boschi couple lived there and received artists, intellectuals and friends there, assiduous visitors to the beautiful evenings that the two often organized. Vintage photos tell us, in fact, of paintings scattered everywhere, from the floor to the ceiling, stacked one on top of the other in a succession without respite for the joy of the couple to make room for the newest arrival.

Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano — Lombardia Secrets

Although the arrangement of the works has been rationalized to allow for a museum tour, the bohemian structure of the exhibition as well as most of the furniture have remained exactly as they were at the time, offering us the rare opportunity to see the home of two great art lovers and design as it was to appear in the early twentieth century up to the 60s.

Starting from the decorations that were studied in every detail by Piero Portaluppi, the architect of the Milanese Belle Époque who designed some of its most famous residences such as Villa Necchi Campiglio and Casa degli Atellani, whose “signature” can certainly be recognized in the beautiful wrought iron railings, in the leaded glass windows decorated with the distinctive geometric designs, as well as in the floors. All deliciously original.

Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano — Lombardia Secrets
Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano — Lombardia Secrets

Even the chairs, tables and sofa were designed by Portaluppi or by the artists themselves, such as Mario Sironi’s dining room presented at the 1936 Triennale, and artfully illuminated by beautiful chandeliers by Barovier, Fontana Arte, Salviati, Venini.

A collection of great value both because the couple managed, thanks to their artistic intuition, to buy works by many artists even before they became famous, and because of the close friendship with some of them, such as Mario Sironi and Lucio Fontana.

The itinerary winds through the Entrance where there is a beautiful portrait of Antonio and Marieda with their beloved cats and the ceramics created by the collector-artist herself, then the Sala del Novecento Italiano with works by Funi, Marussig, Tozzi, Carrà and Casorati up to the Sala Sironi, entirely dedicated to the artist in which there are also sculptures by Arturo Martini.

Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano — Lombardia Secrets

The next room includes the Corrente group, seven Moranti and six De Pisis, while continuing the visit we reach the Salotto degli Italiens de Paris with works by Campigli, Paresce, Savinio and the splendid painting The school of gladiators by de Chirico.

Next, we find the Sala Fontana which offers a precious set of twenty works by the artist, while the last two rooms are reserved for Picassian post-cubists, spatialists, nuclear artists and informal painters, including Piero Manzoni with the famous Achrome.

Many works, united by the promise of the eternity of Antonio and Marieda’s love that art has been able to keep, today more palpable and immortal than ever, in the halls of their beloved house museum.

The Secret

The famous architect and designer Alessandro Mendini, nephew of the couple who was born in the building, says that in the house there were always many ladders, nails and a hammer ready to place a new painting, which often meant redoing the endless puzzle of an entire wall.

Useful Info

Casa Museo Boschi Di Stefano
Via Giorgio Jan 15
20129 Milano
Tel. +39 02 88464748

Tue – Sun, 10 – 17.30, free entrance.

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