Carlo Cardazzo

The Beginnings

Carlo Cardazzo was born in Venice in 1908 where he died too young in 1963.

His education was not in art. He worked with his father who was a businessman in the construction field. As he had financial resources, he decided to invest them in artworks, first approaching art as a collector. 

He met Giuseppe Cesetti, a painter from Maremma in Tuscany, who was an assistant to Virgilio Guidi at the Academy and became his right-hand man. Cesetti supported Cardazzo on his path as a collector, suggesting which artists to invest in. Cesetti connected him with the Galleria del Millione and the Barbaroux Gallery in Milan.

Il Cavallino’s cultural movement

Cardazzo and Cesetti started a cultural movement marked by “Il Cavallino” (small horse, which Giuseppe Cesetti often painted). The horse was even engraved on the jamb of Cardazzo’s house at Calle dei Ragusei 34/78 in Dorsoduro.

Cultural Saturdays at Cardazzo’s

On Saturdays, his home became a key gathering point for artists, poets, writers, critics, and scholars – an art and literary salon. Visitors could admire Cardazzo’s collected works that hung on the walls, talk about art, listen to music, and appreciate his library, which he made available to all comers. He had an extensive library full of foreign authors who were banned at that historical period. In a letter to Santomaso, he wrote that he had bought a Cahier d’Art, the era’s most important contemporary art magazine, published in Paris. 

Carlo Cardazzo and film
In 1932, was organised for the first time the The Venice International Film Festival.Cardazzo was also interested in film.

Cardazzo made two documentary films, “Scene della strada” (or Visioni veneziane) and “Riflessi.”

Which artists did Carlo Cardazzo collect?

The photos taken at the time in his home/studio show pieces that we can recognize as by Carlo Carrà, Filippo De Pisis, Giorgio De Chirico, Virgilio Guidi, Gino Rossi, Scipione, Campigli, the then-unknown Giorgio Morandi, and Amedeo Modigliani as well as graphics and drawings. (Even Modigliani’s paintings were banned at the time.)

Carlo Cardazzo and the sculpture

He also collected sculpture. He was among the first collectors of Marino Marini and Arturo Martini.

Il Cavallino Editions 

The Edizioni del Cavallino publishing house was founded in 1935. This was one more way that Cardazzo contributed to culture. There were numerous lines: art, Italian literature, foreign literature, book lovers, and music. 

Galleria di Roma

Cardazzo’s collection was exhibited in 1941 in the Galleria di Roma,  which was the gallery of the fascist Fine Arts Union.

Exhibition of Contemporary Art Collections in Cortina d’Ampezzo

In 1941, he took part in the Exhibition of Contemporary Art Collections in Cortina d’Ampezzo.

On April 25, 1942, he opened the Galleria del Cavallino 

The gallery’s first location was on the Riva degli Schiavoni in the former Bar Orientale, a short way from Hotel Danieli. Carlo Scarpa was hired to design it and would later design his second gallery as well. 

In 1947, the Galleria del Cavallino moved to Frezzeria, after the accommodation known as the “Danielino” was built as an outbuilding of the Hotel Danieli. The gallery’s space was used for his cultural salons. The full spectrum of art was presented here: music, literature, painting, sculpture, and performance. Among its artworks was Georges Mathieu’s famous War of Lepanto (1955).

The Naviglio gallery 

He opened the Naviglio gallery in Milan at 45 Via Manzoni in 1946.

He showed Dubuffet, Schwitters, Jorn, Cy Twombly, Caro, Johns, Yves Kline, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Emilio Scanavino, and many others in Milan.

The Milanese gallery became the driving heart of Spatialism when Lucio Fontana presented his Spatial Environment in Black Lighton on February 5, 1949.

The Galleria Selecta in Rome 

From 1955 to 1960, Carlo Cardazzo and Vittorio del Gaizo had the Galleria Selecta in Via Propaganda, 2.

In this era, Rome was much aligned with the United States. Remember, for instance, the artists of Italian Pop Art

The Selecta Gallery also led to Mimmo Rotella being shown at Il Cavallino, bringing him into contact with the line of work connected to Nouvelle Realisme, décollage, New Dada, and American Pop Art.

Among the artists involved were: Campigli, Sironi, De Pisis, Capogrossi, Crippa, Michaux, Sonia Delaunay, Gentilini, Tancredi, Rotella, Scanavino, Fontana, Mathieu, Sanfilippo, Dubuffet, Brauner, Arp, Lo Savio, Deluigi, Nino Franchina, Carrà Carrà, De Chirico, Filippo De Pisis, Ottone Rosai, Luigi Boille, and Virgilio Guidi.

There were three Argentine painters (Geltrudis Chale, Raquel Forner, Juan Batlle Planas), VI° Graziano Prize 1956, Dorazio – Perilli – Rotella – Sanfilippo – Fasola

Cardazzo had three artists connected to him: Giuseppe Capogrossi, Franco Gentilini, and Emilio Scanavino.

Giuseppe Capogrossi made abstract art and his iconic image was the fork.

Franco Gentilini‘s work focused on figurative art.

Emilio Scanavino’s work was about gestures and signs and was dramatic and profound.

Cardazzo chose these three artists to be ready to respond to the interests of three types of collectors. 

When Carlo passed away, his brother Renato took over the gallery.

From 1966 to 1987, Paolo (1936-2011) and Gabriella Cardazzo oversaw the gallery. 

Carlo Cardazzo and Peggy Guggenheim 

In 1946, he met Peggy Guggenheim. They shared their visionary natures and skill at recognizing talent. She introduced him to contemporary American artists. 

In 1950, she organized an exhibition on Jackson Pollock at the Correr Museum. At the end of the same year, Cardazzo organized the first exhibition of Jackson Pollock in a private gallery at the Galleria del Naviglio in Milan. She encouraged his appreciation of works by Edmondo Bacci, who was shown at the Galleria del Cavallino at the time, and other artists such as Giuseppe SantomasoVinicio Vianello, and Tancredi Parmeggiani.

Cardazzo published Guggenheim’s Una collezionista ricorda.

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