The gallery. Collection and historical archive: BPER Banca’s art collection is one of the most important corporate collections in Italy

Since 2017 BPER Bank manages its cultural heritage through “The Gallery. Collection and historical archive” and in 2021 in collaboration with specialists from Open carean in-depth process was carried out with verification, analysis and evaluation of the artistic heritage, with the simultaneous adoption of a management platform, which made it possible to digitize the database with documentation of the works of art and organize all information regarding. to them.

Open Care with “La Galleria. Collection and historical archive ”

The final report from the study returns the “photograph” of an art collection in good health, whose strengths are highlighted, but also the points of attention. Awareness and deep knowledge of the artistic heritage make it possible to refine the management of the art collection and improve conservation, research and planning strategies.

Total collection BPER Bank it is in a good state of preservation, which testifies to special attention to the protection of the valuable artistic heritage, with the sure prospect of acting on the works which to date have some gaps in this field. The recognition of the historical-artistic significance of some pieces – belonging in particular to the Modena, Ferrara and L’Aquila cores – was an affirmation, in other cases a discovery that testifies to the importance that BPER Banca and the banks have incorporated over the years has always attributed to the purchase of works of art that tell the art history of the various territories in which the bank operates. The “gallery” is the reality through which BPER Banca manages its corporate collection, and the work carried out in collaboration with Open Care has been a fundamental piece for the development and development of this project, which today has all the tools and information to manage. in a mature way one of the most important banking art collections at the national level.

The choice to rely on Open Care professionals stems from the many different collections that make up the BPER Banca’s artistic heritage, the sum of the numerous incorporations of the past, including Mediobanca (2012), Cassa di Risparmio della Provincia dell’Aquila (2013), Banca della Campania (2014), Nuova Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara (2017) and the business unit of UBI Banca (2020).

An ever-growing collection focusing on Italian image production from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, international openings and some recent inroads into the contemporary world.

“The growth path for our corporate collection – he says Sabrina Bianchi, Head of the cultural heritage of BPER Banca – today leads us to have an artistic and archival heritage of national significance. Recent entrances have added a significant number of works of art, including some masterpieces of twentieth-century art, such as the paintings of Antonio Ligabue, installations by Paolini and Spalletti for example, and also modern art, such as the paintings of Ceruti. or “Saul’s conversion” of Gambara. These items have further increased the size of the BPER Banca collection, which is already widely known and considered, but has also given rise to the need to verify and analyze in a precise and rigorous way the coherence of the so-called “valuable artistic heritage”, or the works of art which are of greater relevance to their historical and artistic value. The decision to leave the reconnaissance activities to Open Care was dictated by the complete range of art services that the company offers. With the indispensable support of the BPER team managing the collection, it was possible to carry out inspections of the various collection units in a short time, which made it possible to verify the location and state of preservation of the works, basic data must be able to plan the improvement activities of the corporate collection in the coming years. At the same time, we have completed the new management platform, a tool that now allows us to have direct and punctual control over all data and information related to each piece. The result is a clear picture of the state of preservation and of the artistic and economic value, which confirms the national relevance of the collection as a whole and the uniqueness of some highlights.

The work of the Open Care researchers included a more operational phase with inspections in the offices of Milan, Modena, Ferrara, L’Aquila, Avellino and Saluzzo, and a phase that is mainly performed externally for processing final data. The evaluation of the collection, from an economic and historical-artistic point of view, was accompanied by a check of the state of preservation in order to build an accurate and timely mapping of the collection, useful for its future improvement.

The evaluation process was carried out under the supervision of the Director of Open Care Art Advisory, Lorenzo Bruschi, MRICS expert in furniture, sculptures, artefacts and works from the nineteenth century. “It was an honor for us – explains Lorenzo Bruschi – to be able to relate to the works of art in the BPER Banca collection and its numerous masterpieces. It is a collection that tells about the Italian creative genius through the centuries, a visual representation of taste and of artists ingenuity, allowing us to trace a visual path in art history: starting from the gold backgrounds of the fifteenth century, such as the majestic work of the Master of the Crivelleschi Polytypons going through the Renaissance and Baroque forms and colors of Carracci, Reni, Tiarini, Guercino, through eighteenth-century landscape views by Giuseppe Zola, the luminous Neapolitan nineteenth century and up to the innovative studies of the early twentieth century seen in the paintings of the Chirico, de Pisis, Campigli, Funi. The works are a testament to the creative vitality of a territory that has been able to generate industry, agriculture and crafts at the highest level, as well as essential artistic expressions for the development of modern international culture.

The Conservative verification was overseen by Isabella Villafranca Soissons, Director of the Conservation and Restoration Department at Open Care. “By seeing the works – he explains Isabella Villafranca Soissons – we realized how much BPER Banca over the years has always been aware of the conservation issue and supported various restoration interventions of the works to ensure their preservation and use. Often we do not think about how much the paintings, and the material they are made of, are sensitive to environmental factors and therefore in a sense “living”; for this it is important to take care of it at regular intervals. This on-the-spot mapping served to show us the overall collection and take stock of the critical issues we encountered to discuss and plan general conservation strategies for the future with the BPER Banca, in order to increasingly improve the heritage spread across the territory “.

They also collaborated on the project Roeland Kollewjin (MRICS expert, ancient art expert), Edoardo Gnemmi (expert in modern and contemporary art), Jole Botti (curator), Chiara Fiorentini (art consultant), Sara Braga (project manager).

The reconnaissance of the collection is a tangible testament to BPER Bank’s awareness of the importance of asset management, which aims to make it increasingly accessible and usable, with a dynamic program of initiatives, exhibitions and events promoted from “La Galleria BPER Banca ”brand.

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