Galleria della Cometa

The Galleria della Cometa of Countess Pecci-Blunt: three years of intense activity, thirty-six exhibitions, a gallery in Rome, and an off-shoot in New York. It influenced the choices of the Venetian Biennale and the Roman Quadrennial.

The beginnings of the Galleria della Cometa

In 1935, the Galleria della Cometa opened in Rome at the behest of the Countess Pecci-Blunt and was led by Libero de Libero.

Its name, which means “Gallery of the Comet,” comes from Pope Leo XVIII’s heraldic sign in the Pecci family coat of arms.

The gallery space consisted of two small rooms.

It opened in April 1935 with an exhibition of fifty drawings by Corrado Cagli, which were presented by Massimo Bontempelli.

The exhibitions were almost always presented by literary figures (such as Bontempelli, Ungaretti, Scarfoglio, Cecchi, Solmi, de Libero, de Chirico, Savinio, Barilli, Soffici, Sinigalli, Moravia, Carrà, and Montale).

Exhibitions of the Galleria della Cometa

After Cagli (1935), exhibitions in 1936 included Mirko, Janni, Kate Castellucci, Adriana Pincherle, and Roberto Melli.

Solo shows at the Galleria della Cometa

Solo shows in 1937 included Galassi, Giacomo Manzù, Afro, Carlo Levi, Giorgio de Chirico’s drawings; and in 1938, Fausto Pirandello, Tosi, Severini’s mosaics and frescoes by Renato Guttuso, Francesco Messina, Paulucci, and Montanarini.

In 1937, Mario Mafai put on a solo show where his Dried Flowers series served as a counterpoint to the demolitions of some historical areas of Rome.

The year 1938 closed with an exhibition of fifty drawings by Vincenzo Gemito from the Minozzi collection.

Other artists shown at the Galleria della Cometa included Colacicchi, Francesco Menzio, Tallone, Sclavi, and Arturo Martini.

Testa di donna Francesco Menzio
Testa di donna Francesco Menzio

Galleria della Cometa off-shoot

In 1937, the Galleria della Cometa opened an off-shoot, Comet Gallery, in New York with an anthological exhibition of Italian painting.

This was followed by solo shows by Corrado Cagli, Mirko, Carlo Carrà, Filippo de Pisis, Gino Severini, Levi, Di Cocco and an anthological show of contemporary Italian drawing.

It closed in mid-1938.