The Tito Balestra Collection

‹‹Got to the stage of cutting one’s teeth, now that I start orienting myself, I’m feeling great satisfactions.

Sometimes even something more; maybe that thing which we’ve been fighting for for years without getting it: the happiness.››

Tito Balestra, Diario di Casimiro Reis, 1946.


The collection made by Tito Balestra is certainly the biggest in Emilia Romagna in the contemporary art field: you can find traces of the biggest artist of the Italian XXth century (including Mafai, Rosai, together with De Pisis and Sironi, or even Guttuso, Morandi, Vespignani, Zancanaro) and the international panorama, too (Chagall, Goya, Kokoschka, Matisse, Twombly,…).
The collection has got an enormous number of artworks of Mino Maccari, a close friend of Tito Balestra (Mino was Tito’s best man) and an important character of the Italian painting of the second half of the XX Century.
The 1903 artworks, consisting of oil paintings and graphics, show the activity of the artist from Tuscany between 1920 and 1976, making almost an indipendent exhibit.

This collection was made thanks to the great interest of Tito in the culture of the second Postwar period. Tito was a odd collector, guided by a singular passion and sensibility far from the trends in vogue, opportunism and economical logics of the marketing; Tito was collecting artworks influenced exclusively by his own spirit and taste, which brought him to a visual completion of his poetry.
His deep passion made him collect artworks and artistic heritages that would have been ignored otherwise: that’s why most of them are sketchs, reconsiderations and discards of artworks that Balestra retrieved and kept jealously, acknowledging their value that the artists themselves couldn’t recognise.
More artworks have been added to the collection as they were gifts or coming from an exchange, but less frequently bought, showing how the collection would have grown with every single meeting and a lifestyle made of passions and friendships.
Tito Balestra is both the protagonist and part of the audience of the so called Roman season (1946 – 1976), main part of the collection, in which masterpieces of foreign authors have been added.