Comprising over 120 works by many of the most prominent Italian artists of the Modernist era, the Estorick Collection opened to the public in January 1998. Described by Sir Nicholas Serota as 'one of the finest collections of early 20th century Italian art anywhere in the world', it was formed in the late 1940s and early 1950s by Eric Estorick (1913-93), an American art-dealer, writer and political scientist, and is the only collection in the United Kingdom dedicated to this turbulent and fascinating period of Italian art.
Best known for its undisputed masterpieces of the Futurist movement, founded by F. T. Marinetti in 1909 to celebrate the dynamism and excitement of the industrial era, the Collection contains truly iconic paintings by Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni and Luigi Russolo. Other important tendencies in Italian Modernism - from the Pittura metafisica of Giorgio de Chirico to monumental imagery of the Novecento school - are also represented with outstanding works, and the Collection contains a large number of Giorgio Morandi's contemplative etchings and drawings in addition to key pieces by Modigliani, Guttuso, Marini and Manzù.
The anniversary offered an opportunity to take a fresh look at the richness of the Estorick's permanent collection in its entirety, including a number of works by Massimo Campigli that had never been displayed, comprising delicate coloured lithographs and a series of bold black and white prints inspired by themes from antiquity. Additionally, important pieces from Italian and British collections were carefully selected to complement the Estorick's own masterpieces. lncluding exhibits by Balla, Carrà, Modigliani, Morandi and Severini - all artists represented in the Collection itself - these provided an additional dimension to the works on display.