The Allegrini prize<br/>‘L’Arte di mostrare l’Arte’ <br/>awarded to Xavier Salomon
02 October 2018

The Allegrini prize
‘L’Arte di mostrare l’Arte’
awarded to Xavier Salomon

Xavier F. Salomon, head curator of the Frick Collection in New York, has won the Allegrini prize L’Arte di mostrare l’Arte 2018 (The Art of exhibiting Art), for the exhibition titled Canova’s George Washington, running in Manhattan from May to September this year. The presentation of the prize, now in its sixth year, is scheduled for Wednesday, October 10th at Villa Della Torre, in Fumane di Valpolicella, Verona.
“Salomon – explains Giancarlo Mastella, director of Villa Della Torre and member of the award jury – is being recognized for having introduced Americans to the surprising vicissitudes of the statue of the first president of the United States, sculpted in Rome by the great Italian artist between 1817 and 1820 for the State House in Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. Xavier Salomon has reconstructed the political and artistic history of the statue, thanks also to collaboration with the Canova Museum in Possagno, which lent the monumental, 1:1 scale model that Canova had created for the sculpture and his preparatory sketches, with the Bassano Museum, where the sketches came from, and with other American and European museums that provided paintings and sculptures. Salomon conducted a thorough ‘archaeological exploration’ of Canova, finding – and thus saving from oblivion – various charred fragments of the original statue in Raleigh, including the precious piece bearing Canova’s signature”.
In 1831, ten years after its arrival on American soil and positioning in Raleigh, Canova’s statue was in fact destroyed when fire swept through the State House. The statue was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to celebrate the first president of the United States, represented in the act of signing his farewell to political life, which he had chosen despite demands on him to serve a third term. Canova’s choice of Roman attire for George Washington is attributable to that worn by Lucio Quinzio Cincinnato, a Roman commander who, after his victory over the Equi in 458 BC, relinquished power and returned to his previous life as a farmer. After its period of stay at the Frick Collection, the exhibition will be hosted from November 11th at the Gipsotheca (collection of plaster casts) and Museum dedicated to Antonio Canova in Possagno.
“Had it not been destroyed – emphasizes Xavier Salomon, who organized the exhibition in collaboration with Mario Guderzo, director of the Gipsotheca e Museo Antonio Canova, the Venice International Foundation and the Friends of Venice Italy – now, Canova’s Washington would doubtless have been one of the United States’ main artistic treasures. The goal of this project is to bring back to life one of the most important European masterpieces of the 19th century, which reached America when the history of the new nation was in its infancy. The statue embodies one of the earliest relationships between Italy and the United States and through this exhibition we hope to renew this friendship”. Xavier F. Salomon was born in Rome of an English mother and a Danish father. He became an art historian at the Courtauld Institute in London. His first assignment was as curator at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. After collaborations at the John Soane’s Museum, the British Museum and the National Gallery, in 2010 he moved to the US to become curator of the Baroque Art collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and finally head curator at the Frick Collection in New York. One of his most famous successes was the great monographic exhibition on Paolo Veronese at the National Gallery in London (March-June 2014). Recently at the Frick he curated Cagnacci’s Repentant Magdalene (2016-17), Veronese in Murano (2017-18), Murillo: Self-portraits (2017-18) and now Canova’s George Washington (2018).
“In recent years, Allegrini has sought to distinguish its corporate profile by flanking Italian and international cultural institutions – says Marilisa Allegrini. This is what fuels our continued relationships with the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the many intellectuals of various backgrounds and interests, who are periodically invited to Villa Della Torre, the Renaissance villa designed by Giulio Romano, the beating heart of Allegrini’s corporate activities. It is in this context that the L’Arte di mostrare l’Arte Award was created. Past editions of the Allegrini prize have been awarded to the curators Davide Gasparotto, Adolfo Tura and Guido Beltramini for the exhibition Pietro Bembo e l’invenzione del Rinascimento, Paola Marini and Bernard Aikema for the exhibition Paolo Veronese: l’illusione della realtà, Salvatore Settis, Rem Koolhaas and Fondazione Prada for the exhibition Serial/Portable Classic, Luca Massimo Barbero, curator of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence for the exhibition Da Kandinsky a Pollock. La grande arte dei Guggenheim, and Maria Luisa Pacelli, the director of Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara.