Proudly billing itself as Britain’s sole museum dedicated to modern Italian art, the Estorick Collection occupies an important niche in London’s fabulous art world. Housed in a historic building in north London’s Islington neighborhood, the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art possesses notable pieces by some of the best-known Italian Futurists working in the first decades of the twentieth century. It also stages thoughtful temporary exhibitions and runs a pleasant café.
Money Saving Tip! Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is included on the London Pass and GoCity London Pass. If you are sightseeing in London, then you can save a lot of money with the pass.
History of the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is the handiwork of Eric Estorick, an American sociologist and writer, and his wife Salome Dassau, a German-born Englishwoman with a background in art, design, and textiles. The two shared a passion for collecting art, and throughout the middle of the twentieth century became renowned as owners of perhaps the world’s finest private collection of Italian Futurist paintings, sculptures, and drawings. Eventually, Eric Estorick would become a full-time art dealer, with numerous celebrities as clients, and loan out several of his pieces to prestigious facilities like the Tate.
Just before he died, Eric Estorick established a foundation and donated his entire collection to it, so that it might be displayed to the public after he was gone. In 1994, this foundation purchased a historic building in Islington, a Georgian structure which dated all the way back to 1807; at various moments it had once been a private residence, artificial flower factory, architecture studio, and business office. The building was last renovated in 2016.
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art Highlights
If the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is most famous for one particular thing, it would have to be its tremendous collection of art by Italian Futurists working between the years of 1909 and 1916. Many of the museum’s most famous pieces are from this time period; they include Giacomo Balla’s The Hand of the Violinist, Gino Severini’s The Boulevard, Umberto Boccioni’s Modern Idol, and Carlo Carrà’s Leaving the Theatre.
The collection’s strong reputation rests primarily on its Futurist holdings. Still, visitors to the Estorick will also encounter a selection of works dating as far back as 1893—the oldest piece in the museum being none other than Medardo Rosso’s influential sculpture Impressions of the Boulevard: Woman with a Veil. Likewise, the middle of the twentieth century is well-represented, too, in the work of esteemed figures like Marino Marini and Giuditta Scalini.
The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art routinely stages temporary exhibitions on a number of themes, artists, and artworks. Recent temporary exhibitions of note taking place at the Estorick include Lisetta Carmi: Identities, a retrospective on the work of the acclaimed photographer; Archipenko and the Italian Avant Garde, which charted the influence of the Ukrainian sculptor Alexander Archipenko on an entire generation of Italian artists; and The Making of Modern Italy: Art and Design in the Early 1960s, a multidisciplinary show that reflected on how Italy’s artistic reputation evolved worldwide during that tumultuous decade.
More to See and Do at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
Lovers of Italian art will want to keep in mind the following information as they go about planning their upcoming visit to the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art.
*The art is not the only element of the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art experience that is all about Italy. That’s because the museum’s in-house café, Caffè Estorick, features an Italy-forward menu—think energizing espresso, delicious coffee, tasty pasta dishes, and a host of other authentic Italian treats. It’s all made that much better when you make time to enjoy your drink or meal in the attraction’s lovely garden.
*It’s possible to take a slice of the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art home with you by stopping in at the museum’s well-curated shop. There you’ll find books, exhibition catalogs, posters, prints, and a range of art-themed gifts and souvenirs.
*Please be advised that the historic nature of the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art’s home building means that some of its galleries are only accessible via stairs; namely, Galleries 5 and 6, located two floors up from ground level, and the library, which is on the attraction’s third floor.
*Families visiting the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art with small children will want to be sure and pick up a free copy of the attraction’s Family Trail guide. This complimentary educational material will help you and your little one(s) learn all about the Futurist art movement and the museum’s rich collection as you move through the site.
*The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art regularly holds a variety of special events onsite; these include gallery talks, adult art classes, family days, and interactive workshops, just to name a few. To learn more about the sort of activities that might be taking place during your visit, check out the museum’s official website.
Why the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art Should Be on Your Must-See List
With so many wonderful art museums at your disposal while visiting London, it can be difficult to know exactly which ones to prioritize and which ones to place on the backburner. The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art is one of the city’s more specialized art spaces; whether or not you should make time for it will depend entirely on your level of interest in Italian art from the first half of the twentieth century. If that sort of scene sounds appealing to you, then you’re bound to love this cozy, light-filled gallery full of striking sculptures and dazzling paintings.