© Fabulorum. José Medio

Collecting art demands time, considerable wealth and space. Antonio Boschi and his wife Marieda Di Stefano seemed to have the former but not the latter. Yet, the surprising gathering of more than 2,000 items accumulated in their apartment  during their lifetime is a testament to their passion for the modernist and futurist period in which they lived.

In a drabber than usual corner of Milan, on via Giorgio Jan, stands a building vaguely more remarkable than the uniformed constructions of the street. Yet as one steps into the lobby, signs of a more peculiar architecture capture one’s attention. We are again in Piero Portaluppi‘s territory. One of the construction company‘s associates was the father of Marieda and the newly married couple were among the first  dwellers. Antonio Boschi was an engineer working for Pirelli, with a penchant for innovations. Marieda was a ceramicist. Both participated in the effervescent circles of intellectuals and artists of the Milan between the wars. They believed in progress, in explorations of color and form, in the blend of technical advances and aesthetics. All of the above were shared by the artists they encouraged and collected. The paintings hang from floor to ceiling pressed against each other, ignoring the skills of effective display, just determined to be present. It is an orgy of color, an overdose of some good and some excellent art and a unique environment.

Works of De Chirico and his brother Alberto Savinio hang next to works of Umberto Boccioni, Mario Sironi and Lucio Fontana. Sironi completed a dining room set of furniture also on display. The reduced and crammed space is not a hindrance to the spectacular richness of the exhibits. Milan and the pictorial research of the first sixty years of the XX century are there on the walls as a symbol of the vitality of a period and of a couple who witnessed the before and the after of the Second World War carnage.