Museo Fortuny

  • Until 27 March 2017

    The Cadorin bottega.
    A dynasty of Venetian artists

Fortuny Museum

THE CADORIN BOTTEGA. A dynasty of Venetian artists

Until  27 March 2017

10 am – 6 pm
last admission at 5 pm

Closed on Tuesday


from 26 November 2016 to 27 March 2017
Venice, Palazzo Fortuny


The epic deeds of a family under the aegis of art, in Venice in the nineteenth and twentieth century


“Talent appears to rattle the wind…”


Lives that were inextricably interwoven, grandparents, children, sisters- and brothers-in law, brides and grooms; lives that were devoted to art in a city that overwhelmed them with its beauty, transmitting a sense of marvel to them: architects, sculptors and cabinet-makers, painters, photographers, restorers, inspirational forces in the liveliest artistic and cultural salons.

From Pieve di Cadore (like Titian), the Cadorins moved to Venice in the sixteenth century, and for three centuries they were a constant presence in the artistic vicissitudes of the city; this seemed to come to an end in 1848 when the last of the seven workshops in the Most Serene Republic was closed but it was only an interlude: it was Vincenzo who took over the family atelier several decades later, continuing until 1925; a great sculptor and woodcarver, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and soon became the head of an enterprise with over 40 skilled workers, receiving commissions from the Savoia family and D’Annunzio, for churches, houses and palazzi; they also took part in the Biennale exhibitions from the very beginning.

It was in the house-workshop situated on Fondamenta Briati that Vincenzo and his wife Matilde began a period under the aegis of art that was to last another three generations with many more protagonists – their children Ettore and Guido Cadorin, sculptor and painter, the architect Brenno del Giudice, the photographer Augusto Tivoli and his daughter-painter Livia, the lute-makers Fiorini, and Ida Cadorin, in art Barbarigo, and Zoran Music, all of whom were united by a life and passion for painting.

This is a story that was both intimate and public, made up of feelings, works of art, historical occurrences and cultural events in Venice in the nineteenth and twentieth century, and it shall be on show in the unique rooms of Palazzo Fortuny in Venice from 26 November 2016 to 27 March 2017, based on the memories of the last testimony and great heir of this dynasty, and thanks to the emotions that transpire from her tales.

Over the years Ida Barbarigo has collected works and historical testimonies of a family that are actually an outstanding patrimony of art and knowledge. More than 200 of these works are on display for this exhibition in Mariano Fortuny’s house-museum, a true artistic cross-roads, where Ettore and Guido Cadorin were often to be found when they were young; the result is the recollection of a family album that we can all admire, almost as if we were friends.

For example, the fragrance of Swiss pine shavings; the much-repeated phrase in the family “talent appears to rattle the wind”; the lines mother Livia Tivoli would read in French from “One Thousand and One Nights”, or the satirical newspaper that mocks Uncle Ettore’s passion for beautiful women, and who is constantly travelling around the world – “Our correspondent in Paris for the arts is unable to find him because he spends day and night admiring the legs of Isadora Duncan, the unrivalled dancer”. And then Papà Guido’s friends who “could do anything. The decorative arts, furniture, glass, fabrics, mosaics, but above all paint”: from Malipiero to Pirandello, the Venetian painters Nono, Ciardi, Favretto and others including Kokoschka. Then there is Ida’s maternal grandfather, Augusto Tivoli, the great photographer – but “the Tivolis never manage to accomplish anything” – and grandma Irene from the Fiorinis, a great lute-maker family from Bologna whose great-uncle Giuseppe Fiorini donated the Stradivarius instruments and archives to the Cremona museum. And here they are travelling to Paris with Zoran, the much dreamt-of Paris.

Other memories are interwoven with this web, first and foremost Jean Clair’s, a French academic and the curator of this exhibition, conceived by Daniela Ferretti – who personally knew Guido, Livia and Paola, as well as being a close friend of Ida and Zora, having been a frequent guest in their homes and studies for over forty years. Under her great guidance, the works were carefully selected to document an outstanding artistic epic. From Ida’s home Palazzo Balbi Valier, we have works, drawings and paintings by her father Guido Cadorin, which either hung on the walls of the large salon or study or were in the home’s countless rooms: they include some from the early twentieth century, The Idol (1911), Portrait of the Father (1910), the triptych, Flesh, Flesh, Flesh (1914) and the Nude and Landscape in Bloom from 1920, The Canal (19121); works from the fifties and sixties such as Punta della Dogana from 1956, Piazzale Roma from 1958, Acque from1963 or the beautiful Donde un giorno nacque il miracolo di Venezia [When One Day the Miracle of Venice was Born] from 1969, and canvases dated 1973.

Then come the wooden sculptures by the grandfather Vincenzo – a large stele, an art-nouveau flower stand from, the Tabacchine sculptures – but also his plaster casts and terracottas; we can also admire the ivories that are testimony to Ettore’s technical skill;  Augusto’s outstanding photographs that show us the faces that belong to this dynasty, scenes of family life, also a testimony to Venetian high society, the interior of Palazzo Papadopoli, the arrival of Emperor Wilhelm II and the collapse of the bell tower of Saint Mark’s in 1903.

Then we have Ida and Zoran. Her dreams: Caffè (1956), Jeu ouvert (1961) – and her anguish: from L’uomo di pietra [The Man of Stone] (1967) to Le persécuteur (1979), Demone or Saturno (1997) and I terrestri [The Terrestrials] (2002).

And Zoran’s dramatic ink drawings, with their permanent vision of the terrible vision of grief-stricken bodies in Dachau, and his paintings: from the fifties, – Summer in Istria (1957), Terre dalmate [Dalmatian Lands] (1958) – and images of Venice in the eighties such as th Canale della Giudecca (1980) or Il Mulino stucky, and Portrait of Ida in ’83 and ’86, taking us to the last period when his sight was fading: Figura grigia seduta[Seated Figure in Grey] and La poltrona grigia [Grey Armchair] both from 1998.

“Daddy kept telling us: above all, don’t become artists. That’s something terrible!”

The exhibition catalogue was edited by Daniela Ferretti (ed. Antiga), with essays by: Laura Bossi Régnier who collected Ida Barbarigo’s memories, Ester Brunet, Silvia Carminati, Jean Clair, Daniela Ferretti, Valerio Terraroli, Marco Vallora, and Monique Veillon Cadorin.


Curated by Jean Clair
designed by Daniela Ferretti


We would to thank Consorzio Tutela Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore