Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Venice: Palazzo Vendramin Grimani – Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro


Palazzo Vendramin Grimani

Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro


Welcome inside the newly restored sixteenth century Palazzo Vendramin Grimani, overlooking the Canal Grande - opening May 24.  Once the residence of the humanist doge Pietro Grimani,  the palazzo comes back to life thanks to the restoration of the Fondazione dell’Albero d'Oro the non-profit cultural institution, founded by a group of French and Venetian entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about culture in all its forms and who have strong links to Venice. The venue will be a place for the promotion of culture and collecting in all its forms between past and present to transform the palazzo into a crossroads of cultures that are alive and active, thanks to the collaboration with other public and private institutions. The activities will also include prizes, scholarships, residencies and workshops to support research and production in the artistic field.


Photograph - Ugo Carmeni – courtesy - Fondazione dell’Albero d'Oro


Doge Pietro Grimani and the Albero d’Oro - Golden Tree


The name chosen for the foundation is a direct tribute to the branch of the Grimani dell’Albero d’Oro family which lived in the palace for centuries: for some, the family name is a reference to the purity of the lineage, while for others it refers to the golden decorations that originally embellished the facade. The family gave the Republic a doge, Pietro - from 1741 to 1752 - formerly ambassador to England, where he met Isaac Newton and became an honorary member of the Royal Society. In the first decade of the eighteenth century Pietro Grimani, a man of great culture, transformed the palazzo into a circle for all things pertaining to Enlightenment, enlivened by the presence of exponents of various branches of culture, from architecture to poetry and science to philosophy. As well as being refined collectors, the Grimani dell’Albero d’Oro were important patrons of architectural, sculptural and pictorial works, both in Venice and in the dominions of the Republic on the mainland and overseas. 


Doge Pietro Grimani


The Grimani Family Coat of Arms


The Piano Nobile


In the rooms of the piano nobile, visitors can learn more about the history of the palazzo and of the illustrious families who lived there for six centuries, and explore the restoration that has taken place in recent months. The story of the dispersed art collections, started by the family of Doge Grimani will include an initial exceptional nucleus of paintings that once belonged there, painted by artists such as Domenico Tintoretto, Sebastiano Ricci and Francesco Montemezzano, as well as, a series of both antique and contemporary works on loan from international private collections. In addition, the tour will be enriched by the photographs of artist Patrick Tourneboeuf, illustrating the evolution of the building before and after the works through the eye of the French architect and photographer. This work constitutes the first commission made by the Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro.


Photograph courtesy - Patrick Tourneboeuf


Patrick Toyrneboeuf

Palazzo Vendramin Grimani


The board of the Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro


Daniela Ferretti and Beatrice de Reynies

Architect Ferretti is the former director of the Museo Fortuny in Venice, she specialises in the field of curation and exhibition design, both in Italy and abroad. de Reynies is an expert in the development and animation of cultural and tourist sites around the world.


Gilles Etrillard

Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro chairman, is the founder of one of Europe’s leading independent financial groups.


The Piano Nobile


A reconstruction of the history of the families and collections that used to reside in Palazzo Vendramin Grimani is also at the centre of the first illustrated guide, published in Italian, French and English. It is edited by Massimo Favilla and Ruggero Rugolo and is accompanied by photographs by the Venetian artist Ugo Carmeni. The completion of careful archival research will then lead to a second and more exhaustive volume.



Massimo Favilla and Ruggero Rugolo



The Piano Nobile


Due to the upheavals that followed the fall of the Venetian Republic - 1797 - and the various divisions caused by testamentary vicissitudes which brought about the dispersal of the Grimani family art collections. Now the Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro, through a future exhibition project, proposes to recompose a large part of the dispersed collections.



At Palazzo Vendramin Grimani the theme of collecting will be developed through a wide-ranging and international cultural programme, on the second floor with its rich and elegant furnishings providing an excellent example of the stratification of eras, tastes and origins. This exclusive space will be reserved for exceptional occasions and may be used by the corporate world for the organisation of private events, in order to create a virtuous circle that can support the cultural production and research activities of the Foundation.


La Sala delle Quattro Famiglie


Jean-Francois Dubos, Beatrice de Reynies and architect, Giovanni Rubin de Cervin Albrizzi

Jean-Francois Dubos is president of JFD Associates, chairman of the Maison Europeenne de la photographie (MEP) in Paris and general secretary of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.


Exhibition Itinerary and Guided Tours


After the important restoration and modification, the Foundation is now ready to open its doors to the public, in conjunction with the 17th International Architecture Biennale and in the year in which the 1600 th anniversary of the founding of the City of Venice is celebrated; from May 24 – June 6 the public will be able to discover Palazzo Vendramin Grimani, formerly known as Palazzo Grimani Marcello, built at the beginning of the sixteenth century, through daily guided tours, in  English, Italian and French, available upon reservation and free of charge for the occasion. The itinerary represents a declaration of intent of the different areas of activity in which the Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro aims to work, starting from the study of the Grimani Marcello Collection to the promotion of culture and collecting in all its forms between past and present.


photograph by Ugo Carmeni – courtesy Fondazione dell’Albero d”Oro


 Ugo Carmeni - Invisibilia


The entrance hall on the ground floor will host Invisibilia a photographic project by the Venetian artist Ugo Carmeni, the rereading in macroscopic terms of some small important formal elements that decorate the sixteenth-century Palazzo Vendramin Grimani, identified during the restoration works.


Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro - Cultural Programming


Palazzo Vendramin Grimani comes to life as a new place for artistic and cultural exchange and dissemination open to all those who love Venice, live there or frequent it – be they residents, students or international travellers – and who still accord the city its role as a starting point and destination of that real or imaginary journey that connects East and West. Scholarships, prizes and multidisciplinary projects represent a fundamental part of the Foundation’s cultural programming, which aims to promote research and international exchanges in collaboration with public and private institutions. Residencies, workshops, meetings, concerts and exhibitions will round off the Foundation’s rich cultural offerings, animating the different spaces in the building, with the third floor used as guest quarters and working areas.


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