The name of Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978) is intrinsically linked to the history of art, taste and museology of the 20th century, so much so that in the seventies the French art historian André Chastel wrote: “Many of those who travel round Italy know him without realizing it: he is the greatest organizer of art exhibitions in Europe”. He still stands tall in the pantheon of those who revolutionized museums in the post-war years (in spite of widespread resistance and provincialism) transforming them into outposts of the avant-garde. The resounding success of the installation created to host the work of Paul Klee at the Venice Biennale in 1948 was followed by many others in quick succession. The personal exhibitions of Piet Mondrian and Marcel Duchamp, the collaborations with Lucio Fontana and Arturo Martini and his work on many historic buildings trace the development of an original architect who up-dated the way art was displayed by setting out a model that takes bold liberties to incomparable lyrical effect. It becomes unfettered from the lofty grandeur of the pre-existing places, fostering a style that is light and spare. His career was a series of legendary solutions resolved in situ (always in tandem with time constraints and a great lack of resources) in symbiosis with the mastery of the craftspeople around him.
How to find one’s way around the huge number of exhibitions and museums for which Carlo Scarpa was wholly or partially responsible? Philippe Duboÿ, who worked with him and had access to many archives, is the ideal guide to help us understand the plans, reliefs, sketches, and photographs relating to every one of Scarpa’s projects. Rare documents written by Carlo Scarpa have been included in the book, which has been conceived according to the principle of synchronism between image and word, which so interested Le Corbusier. The author reveals the personal dialogue between this great figure of European culture and the work of art.