ASTI CITY OF TAPESTRIES

After the great success achieved with the great exhibition “Monet and the Impressionists in Normandy”
which ended on February 16 and which reached its record of visitors with 58,798 presences and after the
closure due to the Covid-19 health emergency, since 19 September the Asti Musei Foundation
organizes at Palazzo Mazzetti an exclusive exhibition entirely dedicated to the territory and to the great
local manufacture: Asti, City of tapestries.

Asti starts again and does so starting from its history, from some great characters who have it
marked the stages and which, through the art of the loom, have made it known all over the world for its workers and
products of excellence.
Through the display of 21 tapestries, the city wants to pay homage to the activities of Ugo Scassa and
Vittoria Montalbano, two of the most prestigious Asti manufacturers protagonists of a chapter
important and unique in the context of the relationship between the city and the artistic and cultural environment since the years
Sixties of the twentieth century.

On display great examples made by these laboratories that have both interpreted masterpieces of
Twentieth century that started collaborations with well-known Italian artists: the Apollo and Dafne tapestries (1967) by Corrado
Cagli; Abstract Composition (1968) and Mural Painting (1980) by Luigi Spazzapan; Theater of
Marionettes by Paul Klee and Target shooting (1986) by Felice Casorati and always by the Scassa tapestry
comes Abstract composition (2005) by Paolo Conte.
By Valerio Miroglio are Homage to Rubens and Doppio sole (1989), Flora (1991) and F. Bomb (1986) and
always made on the loom by Vittoria Montalbano are the works exhibited by Francesco Preverino,
Sandro de Alexandris and Eve Donovan.

The Asti, City of tapestries exhibition is organized by the Asti Musei Foundation, by the Cassa Foundation
di Risparmio di Asti, the Piedmont Region, the Municipality of Asti and the Chamber of Commerce of
Asti, sponsor of the Cassa di Risparmio di Asti Group and with the collaboration of Arthemisia for the
communication and promotion.

THE EXHIBITION
L’ARAZZERIA SCASSA: HISTORY AND COLLABORATIONS
In the most recent exhibitions – including that of Alexandria (Ancient orders for new plots. The tapestries of
Vittoria Montalbano, 2006), Caraglio (Mural2018) and Venice (2018-2019) – the role of Asti was emphasized
in the insertion of the ancient art of tapestry in the cultural debate of the second postwar period.
Ugo Scassa’s initiative was responsible for the birth of the first tapestry weaving workshop with high looms
heddle.
Subsequently – with the collaboration of Corrado Cagli – the factory, located since 1966 in the
Certosa di Valmanera, attracts the attention of Italian artists and critics. In addition to reproducing in
tapestry many of his works, including the grandiose example of Apollo and Daphne (1967) exhibited in the exhibition, Cagli
involves Mirko, Guttuso, Clerici and others in this enterprise.
Furthermore, reproductions of paintings by Luigi Spazzapan, Antonio Corpora and
Giuseppe Capogrossi.
The debut of the Asti factory is linked to the prestigious competition of 1960, for the decoration of the
First Class party hall of the Leonardo Da Vinci ship. The Italian Navigation Company
had appointed a commission chaired by the art and political critic Giulio Carlo Argan (1909 –
1992), with the task of selecting the artists and choosing the workshop for the execution of the tapestries.
The contract was won by Ugo Scassa and this is how 16 tapestries were made in Asti for the Salone delle
Celebrations of the great transatlantic, symbol of the affirmation of Italy and a great traveling art gallery.
A period of great success for the Asti tapestry that won the commission of new tapestries
for the ships Michelangelo and Raffaello (theme of the video produced in 2013 by the Cassa di
Savings and present in the exhibition).
Since that time, the Asti workshop has continued to translate works by other painters into tapestries
also focusing on the metaphysical, the mythical and the fabulous: Max Ernst, Giorgio De Chirico, Paul Klee,
Matisse, Kandinsky, Mirò and Botero, Guttuso, Sironi, Mirko, Muzzi, Gribaudo and Tadini; then there are the
tapestries taken from the computerized design of architectural projects as in the case of Renzo’s works
Floor.

The Palazzo Mazzetti exhibition welcomes Apollo and Daphne (in the Hall of Honor), where the i
references to the mannerist culture dear to the imagination of Corrado Cagli (Pontormo, Rosso Forentino,
Primaticcio), two tapestries taken from works by Luigi Spazzapan (Mural painting, 1980; Abstract composition,
1968) and the magic of the plot reinterprets with great sensitivity in Target shooting (1986), a painted canvas
by Felice Casorati in 1919.
From Scassa’s friendship with Paolo Conte was born Abstract Composition (2005), which can be read
also as a tribute by the Asti lawyer-songwriter to abstract expressionism and to that
great season of tapestry whose full affirmation is due to the commissioning of the tapestries which
furniture for large Italian ships.
The Asti laboratory has also made banners and of these the banner is on display
of the Province of Asti (2002) and the beautiful Palio designed by Ugo Scassa and won in 2010 by the Borgo
Tanaro Trincere and Torrazzo. Both banners are characterized by references to great painting: from
figures executed between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries by Gandolfino da Roreto from Asti, on the famous canvas by Giorgio
De Chirico with the horse Arione, immortal and divine.

MONTALBANO TAPESTRY: HISTORY AND COLLABORATIONS
Along this exhibition itinerary of “twentieth century weaves” you can also admire magnificent ones
works by another great name of the Asti tapestry factory: Vittoria Montalbano, who after an important
collaboration at the Scassa factory directed by Cagli begins after the artist’s death
marchigiano (1976), a research path aimed at the realization of the tapestry in direct contact with e
with the participation of the artist.
The technique used by Montalbano is always that of processing on the high heddle vertical frame,
which allows you to obtain a more accurate and precise product.
Under the artistic direction of Miroglio and the technical one of Vittoria, they are born in the Montalbano tapestry shop
about twenty tapestries, and the exhibition at Palazzo Mazzetti welcomes a special selection that is a witness
of their great collaboration since 1980. Among these you can admire those of the art collection
of the Cassa di Risparmio di Asti Foundation such as the Discovery of America, performed on the occasion of the
Colombiadi (1992) and Creation (1983), Tribute to Rubens and Doppio Sole (1989) from the collection of the
Banca di Asti, in which monumental tributes to the Renaissance and Baroque repertoire are found
of images.
But not only that: other artists have been fascinated by the expressive potential of weaving and among these in
shows Francesco Preverino with Subway (2004) and My soul (2004), Sandro de
Alexandris with Stanza (1999) and Giardino (2001), Eve Donovan with Drum (1992).

The tour also includes the incredible floral “explosion” F. Bomb (1986) and Flora (1991)
both from Miroglio – Montalbano and from private collections.
The tapestry maker has enhanced his language by taking new paths even different from the ancient one
high heddle technique, such as that of fiber art. After Miroglio’s death in 1991, Vittoria Montalbano
she chose to involve artists with a more intimate vision that allowed her to experiment by creating
mélanges of 6-8 threads or hachures with seams made directly to the loom, interpreting with sensitivity
personal projects of the chosen artists.
The tapestry becomes a means for a new type of communication, sometimes outside the logic of the market.

For info: https://www.fondazioneastimusei.it/asti-arazzi/

https://www.palazzomazzetti.eu/