Museo Fortuny

Fortuny Museum

AUTUMN AT PALAZZO FORTUNY. The Divine Marchesa. Art and life of Luisa Casati from the Belle Époque to the Spree Years

The exhibition

The Divine Marchesa
Art and life of Luisa Casati from the Belle Époque to the spree years

From October 4th, 2014 to March 8th, 2015
Palazzo Fortuny, Venice

Venice celebrates the persona and legend of the woman who fascinated D’Annunzio and whose outrageous lifestyle made her the muse of the greatest artists of the day, from Boldini to Bakst, Marinetti, Balla, Man Ray, Alberto Martini, Van Dongen and Romaine Brooks.

Palazzo Fortuny in Venice – one of the most significant places in the Divine Marchesa’s life – is hosting the first important exhibition devoted entirely to Luisa Casati Stampa, the woman who at the beginning of the 20th century transformed herself into a work of art through exaggerated makeup, transgressive and over-the-top “performances” and a life of excess. She became a living legend, an astonishing and disturbing personification of modernity and the avant-garde.

Conceived by Daniela Ferretti and curated by Fabio Benzi and Gioia Mori, the show is coproduced by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and 24 ORE Cultura – Gruppo 24 Ore. It features more than 100 works between paintings, drawings, jewels, sculptures and photographs on loan from private collections and international museums.

A vast collection of artworks and portraits were either dedicated to or commissioned by Casati. The exhibition will display pieces from private collections, like the polychrome ceramic head by Renato Bertelli, La Marchesa Casati by Romaine Brooks and Portrait of Marchesa Casati with a Greyhound sculpted by Paolo Troubetzkoy. These are accompanied by undisputed masterworks from museums the world over, such as Portrait of Marchesa Casati by Giovanni Boldini from the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna (GNAM) in Rome, The Marchesa Casati by Augustus John from the Art Gallery of Ontario, the many portraits of her executed by Alberto Martini, Lines of Force of Glazed Landscape by Giacomo Balla, and jewels by Cartier that were inspired by her.

There are also many compelling photographs of Luisa Casati Stampa, ranging from shots taken by Adolph Gayne de Meyer and Man Ray, to images of her “stolen” by Cecil Beaton when she was living in poverty in London.

The exhibition reconstructs through constant cross-referencing the social and artistic relationships that filled Luisa Casati Stampa’s life: from the gilded cage of high society to her encounter with Gabriele d’Annunzio – which changed her for ever and developed into a love relationship and friendship that lasted her whole life – from her eccentricities to her masquerades and practice of the occult. Next came the Futurist period, when she met Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and embraced the cause of this artistic movement, promoting the artists and collecting their works.

It all ended with her financial ruin and self-imposed exile in London where she died in June 1957.

The exhibition on three floors of Palazzo Fortuny will recreate and immerse the visitor in the atmosphere of the Divine Marchesa’s life. For half a century she was a living legend, a dark lady, a major art collector and patron, and muse of the Symbolists, Fauves, Futurists and Surrealists: a legend who still inspires artists and leading couture houses today.

Contents about the exhibition can be shared through social networks by using the official hashtag: #marchesacasati

Info, tickets and bookings at


Curated by Fabio Benzi and Gioia Mori
Project of Daniela Ferretti

Co-producted by
logo 24 Ore Cultura



Visit for more official information about the Marchesa Casati.