MARIA PIA FANFANI'S LEGACY AT AUCTION AT BERTOLAMI FINE ART

BY ROSSELLA ARIOSTO

The first part of the sale of the furnishings and objects in the last house inhabited by Bertolami Fine Art will be held on Wednesday 23 June at 3 pm at Palazzo Caetani Lovatelli, the Roman headquarters of Bertolami Fine Art. 00 at Palazzo Caetani Lovatelli, the Roman headquarters of Bertolami Fine Art, the first part of the sale that will auction off the furnishings and objects present in the last house inhabited by Maria Pia Tavazzani Fanfani, the one in Corso Rinascimento, chosen in great haste after a devastating fire had made the flat in Via Platone alla Balduina uninhabitable, the domestic setting for twenty-four years of married cohabitation with a piece of Republican Italian history, Senator Amintore Fanfani. Among the items on sale: the extraordinary collection of international honours conferred on both him and her during two long careers spent in the sign of power; a selection of Maria Pia's wardrobe, an elegant woman with a predilection for Mila Schön; the witty caricatures of the protagonists of post-war Italian politics drawn by Amintore during the interminable parliamentary sessions or those in which the Constitution of the new Italy took shape and many other memorabilia and furnishings. The second part of the auction will take place in July.

JACKET GASKET

consisting of 16 miniatures of orders of merit of the Italian Republic awarded to Maria Pia Fanfani mounted on gold chain

Maria Pia and Amintore: a power couple

A strange jacket gasket consisting of sixteen miniature honours mounted on a gold chain: the lot, marked in the Bertolami auction catalogue with the number 31, is the only piece of jewellery, together with the wedding ring, to be kept by Amintore Fanfani. Maria Pia Tavazzani Fanfani after the decision to sell the family jewellery, a suggestion he had received some time before from Mother Teresa of Calcutta a suggestion he had received some time before and promptly put into practice in order to raise funds for the earthquake victims in the Marche and Umbria regions. She had been unable to part with a single piece of jewellery, the one in which she had collected the miniaturised effigies of the medals earned in the field of her ancient war against the world's famines, a war fought since her early youth and in which she had immediately carved out the role of commander-in-chief, the only one for which she felt she was cut out.That unique piece of jewellery ," explains Danilo D'Alfonsothe head of Bertolami Fine Art's Militaria and Orders of Chivalry department - is really the key to understanding the personality of the auction's protagonist, a woman with a strong predisposition for power who had placed her personal ambition at the service of the noblest of causes" . The famous second husband was made of the same stuff, Amintore Fanfani, a perfect example of the synergy between a relentless drive for success and a spirit of service to the community. " One of the strong points of the auction," continues D'Alfonso, "is the presence in the catalogue of the 'orders of knighthood'(this is the technical name for medals of military or civil merit) awarded to Fanfani by governments all over the world, an extraordinary collection in terms of quantity, rarity and beauty of the pieces that is inevitably attracting the attention of collectors in the sector . This collection worthy of a monarch is the plastic representation of the importance of Amintore Fanfani's role in the post-war international political scene.

AMINTORE FANFANI

ZOOPOLITICO - The Hon. Luigi Einaudi rages like a grasshopper, spending two days on amendments.

Ink and pencil cartoon on Constituent Assembly letterhead

Fanfani caricaturist

He was six times Prime Minister, five times President of the Senate, two times Secretary of the Christian Democrats - the most powerful Italian party of the post-war period, of which he was also President - and minister on several occasions, eleven to be precise, as well as President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1965 and Senator for life since 1972. In 1958 he had the triple role of secretary of his party, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, a unique case in the history of the Italian Republic. Even his never-achieved goal of the presidency of the Republic can be considered an implicit recognition of his success, given the unwritten but scrupulously observed law in post-Fascist Italy of excluding the most powerful from the highest office in the State.

In the spotlight from his first steps in politics, he was immediately given a string of significant nicknames. At the beginning of the 1940s, when with Dossetti, La Pira e Lazzati he was one of the Professorini group. Then he was a thoroughbred of the Christian Democrats (together with Aldo Moro) for Carlo Donat Cattin, a very lucky nickname that was also used in the mocking version of thoroughbred pony . A man born under the sign of command for Dossetti, Italian De Gaulle for La Pira, Il Rieccolo for Indro Montanelli and then Mezzotoscano, Nano maledetto and so on and so forth.

In that climate of incessant confrontation, his natural wit allowed him to shine, and the caricatures of the Italian political class drawn by Fanfani during the interminable parliamentary sessions, the Council of Ministers or the founding sessions of the Constituent Assembly appear brilliant today.

True highlights of the auction, these drawings with their quick strokes make up an enlightening anthology of post-war Italian political history to be leafed through and studied. One smiles when thinking of the austere Constituent Fanfani - he formulated the most famous article of the constitutional charter, "Italy is a democratic Republic founded on labour" - busy depicting, on the assembly's letterhead, his colleague Einaudi in the form of a grasshopper: "The Honourable Luigi Einaudi is raging like a grasshopper. He stays 2 days on the amendments (13 May 1947)".

 

MILA SCHÖN
PURPLE AND PINK SILK CREPE DRESS
1981 

the outfit chosen by Maria Pia Fanfani for the wedding of Charles of England and Lady Diana Spencer: Mila Schön dress in purple and pink silk crepe, Sacchetti shoes in purple silk and beads, Cleo Romagnoli hat in purple silk with veil

The austere elegance of the first first lady of the Italian Republic: in Mila Schön at Lady Diana's wedding

When talking about Italian first ladies, the discourse must be built around an incontrovertible dividing line: before Maria Pia and after Maria Pia. Before Maria Pia, the wives of Italian politicians were mysterious and absolutely neutral entities (or at least that was how they were asked to appear), but the arrival of Amintore Fanfani's second wife turned the tables. Maria Pia Tavazzani was a star who had always shone by her own light. The daughter of Carlo, a textile industrialist from Lombardy, the sister of Attilio, who led a partisan formation after 8 September, and the young wife of Giuseppe Vecchi, a wealthy Milanese businessman, this beautiful girl from Pavia with a special talent for public relations had immediately found her place in the world, combining high society and social commitment. On the one hand, there were the premieres at La Scala, weekends at the villa in Portofino or the villa in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland, receptions at the Crespi and Falk families, and on the other, the conviction that she had to do her part to make the world a better place. In her father's company, where she had started working at a very early age, she had worked to promote the construction of houses for workers; she was a relay girl in the partisan brigade led by her brother, adventurously escaping from a German patrol that had captured her while she was driving Jews to Switzerland; and in 1942, at the age of 20, she founded her first humanitarian association, First Help; on a mission to the USA in 1946 to solicit the American contribution to the reconstruction of the country and in the front line, in the 1950s, in the fight against poverty, a scourge still widespread in post-war Italy, which she fought by distributing food, clothes and televisions, the new household appliance which, she was certain, would prove fundamental in eradicating social marginalisation.

 

In 1972, the year of her first meeting with Amintore Fanfanithe man who would become her second husband, she travelled the world to photograph him. A student of Evelyn Hoferthe great Life reporter, she used her unquestionable talent for photography as a picklock to open up new international relationships. Eighteen books were produced from her remarkable reportages. Before marrying the brilliant alien he had fallen in love with, the 67-year-old Amintore asked her to give up her Jaguar, golf course and villa in Switzerland, and she accepted, creating a union that was as solid as it was scandalous. And scandalous could only be the first entry into Palazzo Chigi, in 1982, of a woman much closer to the standard of a first lady of the White House than to that of an invisible consort of a mayor of the first Italian Republic.

VALENTINO COUTURE
SILK CRÊPE EVENING DRESS
Spring/Summer 1984 

Red silk crepe evening dress, embroidered detail with rhinestones and beading

In the Bertolami Fine Art auction, a selection of items from her wardrobe gives us the image of a woman of sober elegance, very Milanese in her choice of clothes with clear and modern lines, perfect those created for her by Mila Schön. Mila Schöna standard-bearer in the field of fashion of that idea of "radical luxury" so in tune with Maria Pia's personality and sporty beauty: tall, slender, her hair cut very short.

Also by Mila Schön is the pink and purple dress (lot 103) worn by Maria Pia in 1981 at the wedding of the decade, that between the Prince Charles of England e Lady Diana Spencer.

The catalogue also includes two rare creations from the early 1960s by the tailor Remo Gandini (lots 75 and 76), which from 1922 to 1965 was a compulsory reference point for Milanese high society ladies in search of the perfect dress to wear to a premiere at La Scala or on any other occasion in the city's high society.

THE COLLECTION OF ORDERS OF MERIT AWARDED TO AMINTORE FANFANI

Extraordinary in terms of quantity, beauty and rarity of the pieces

His moral legacy

The strength of the bond between Maria Pia Tavazzani and Amintore Fanfani, two individuals who were apparently very different from each other, but who were twinned by an identical approach to life, lies in their mutual ability to support and enhance each other. She put her unparalleled talent for weaving high-profile relationships, including at international level, at his service, taking advantage of the progress that her new position could guarantee for her humanitarian mission. As president of the Women's Committee of the Italian Red Cross from 1983 to 1994, vice-president of the International League of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent from 1985 to 1989, as well as founder of important humanitarian associations, she carried out 208 relief missions in the theatres of the cruellest wars and the most painful emergencies of recent history. Capable of raising astonishing amounts of money and food supplies to accomplish her challenges, she left no riches behind her, just as her husband Amintore did not. The ambition of personal wealth was completely alien to these two ambitious individuals. By Maria Pia Tavazzani Fanfani's express wish, the proceeds from the sale of her personal possessions will be used to pay off all the small debts that her death at the age of 97 had not given her time to meet. Otherwise, her legacy is a moral one.

AMINTORE FANFANI Will it be...gat?

Caricature of Giuseppe Saragat, the sly gat who snatched the Presidency of the Republic from Fanfani in 1964

BERTOLAMI FINE ART AUCTION 92

MARIA PIA AND AMINTORE FANFANI: MEMORABILIA, HONOURS, FASHION & LUXURY, WORKS AND OBJECTS OF ART, FURNITURE (part one) - 23 June 2021 at 3 p.m.

 Exposure:

 7, 8, 9, 10 June 10.30-13.30/15.00-19.00 and from 14 to 22 June BY APPOINTMENT

Caetani Lovatelli Palace - Piazza Lovatelli, 1 - Rome

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