Spread across Naples many museums, not to mention its churches and local art galleries, the city maintains a fairly comprehensive record of Neapolitan art through the centuries. But until a few years ago, Modern Art in Naples, works produced between the early 1900s and the 1970s, was highly under represented.
That all changed when Novecento a Napoli Museum opened in March 2010, in the Carcere Alto, the High Prison of Castel Sant’Elmo. Drawing on generous contributions and long term loans by private galleries and collectors, other museums, and artists themselves, Novecento a Napoli compiled an impressive collection of Neapolitan Modern Art.
A chronological record of the artists and the movements at work in 20th century Naples, it includes some 170 works by 90 artists, mainly Neapolitan, but also artists connected to the city or working in the city during that time. Artists like Armando de Stefano, Vincenzo Gemito, Mimmo Paladino, and Luigi Mazzella, whom we met during America’s Cup 2012.
Organised into three major sections, the museum’s collection of paintings, sculpture, design, and engravings starts with the first Futurism movement in Naples (1910 – 1914) and moves chronologically through the artistic development of the 20th century. From second Futurism (1920s – 1930s) to works produced between the two World Wars; from the post WWII movements (1948 – 1958) – Gruppo Sud, Neorealism, Movimento Arte Conreta (MAC) to works produced in the 1970s; and culminating with works produced after the tragic earthquake of November 23rd, 1980.