As a young man, Soffici (1879-1964) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. He visited the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 and remained in the French capital for seven years, where his circle of friends included Braque, Derain, Picasso, Gris and Apollinaire.

After returning to Italy, Soffici contributed important and influential articles on French art to the cultural journal La Voce, including the first Italian essay to discuss the principles of Cubism. In 1910 he organised an Impressionist exhibition in Florence, devoting an entire room to the work of Medardo Rosso. The following year Soffici published a scathing review of a Futurist show which led him to be assaulted by the group in a Florentine café. Despite this, he developed an enthusiasm for Futurism, exhibiting with the movement in 1913 and giving its art and theory prime coverage in Lacerba, the journal which he edited together with Giovanni Papini.

Although he stressed the fundamental importance of modern subject matter to Futurist painting, his own works addressed curiously neutral imagery such as landscapes, still life compositions and figure studies; they also reflected Cubism’s muted palette and analytical approach to form and volume. During his brief affiliation with the movement – which had run its course by the outbreak of World War One – Soffici also experimented with Futurism’s literary principles, producing an outstanding example of avant-garde typography in the volume BIF§ZF + 18: Simultaneities and Lyrical Chemical Actions.

After serving in the First World War he displayed a newfound reverence for tradition, which manifested itself in the naturalistic landscapes that remained the mainstay of his art for the rest of his life.

History of the Collectors

Eric Estorick (1913-93) was an American sociologist and writer who began seriously to collect works of art after he came to live in England following the Second World War. Born in Brooklyn, Estorick studied at New York University during the early 1930s. It was there that he discovered The Gallery of Living Art in Washington Square College, a remarkable collection containing masterpieces by Picasso, Léger, Miró and Matisse which was to inspire him to become a collector himself.

Find out more...
The Building

The Estorick Collection is housed in a beautiful Georgian building previously known as Northampton Lodge. It was constructed between 1807 and 1810 by the entrepreneur Henry Leroux of Stoke Newington, who leased a plot of land from the Ninth Earl of Northampton in 1803 to build a series of house.

Find out more...

The Estorick Collection Library holds a large number of volumes relating to twentieth-century Italian Art. It is open to researchers and Members of the Estorick by appointment.

Find out more...