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Finding aid for the Galleria dell'Ariete records, 1955-1993
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Galleria dell'Ariete records
    Date (inclusive): 1955-1993
    Number: 990058
    Creator/Collector: Galleria dell'Ariete
    Physical Description: 46.43 linear feet (88 boxes; 2 flatfile folders)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The complete business records of the Galleria dell'Ariete of Milan, Italy, from 1955, when it opened, through its closing in the mid-1980s. It was among the most important galleries in Italy for contemporary art, and had extensive connections with dealers, collectors, artists, and critics in Europe, the United States, and Japan. The archive documents these connections through correspondence, business and financial papers, catalogs, press clippings, and an extensive photographic record.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is primarily in Italian and English

    Biographical/Historical note

    Beatrice Monti della Corte opened the Galleria dell'Ariete at Via San Andrea, 5, Milan, Italy in 1955, when she was twenty-five years old, principally as a showplace for modern art-her first major exhibition at the gallery was of lithographs and engravings by Picasso-though the formal statutes of the company state that its object is 'il commercio in generale di opere d'arte antiche e moderne'. Thus Monti della Corte regularly exhibited and dealt in such items as 17th to 19th century Indian miniature paintings, Afghan kilims and dhurries, 19th century American patchwork quilts, and 18th and 19th century Italian folk paintings on glass. A 1958 exhibition, Tauromachia, brought together engravings of bullfighting subjects by Goya and Picasso.
    However, the main focus was on the work of living artists, and the Galleria dell'Ariete rapidly became one of the foremost Italian galleries for contemporary art, forming close connections with such like-minded establishments as the galleries of Kasmin and Waddington in London, and Leo Castelli, Ileana Sonnabend, and Betty Parsons in New York. Monti della Corte had a special interest in introducing modern-especially new, young-Italian artists to American collectors, through her contacts with American dealers, and in promoting modern American artists in Italy, through her own gallery. Artists such as Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns amongst the Americans, and Andrea Cascella, Enrico Castellani, and Luigi Parzini amongst Italians were particular enthusiasms of hers, as was the Spaniard Antoni Tápies, and she kept in personal contact with some of them even after she had finally closed the gallery. She was also amongst the first to exhibit the work of the English artists Francis Bacon and David Hockney in Italy, and, as her business became established, she started to bring modern Asian art, especially Japanese, within its range.
    In 1970 Monti della Corte opened a new section of the Galleria dell'Ariete, at the same Via San Andrea address, under the name Ariete Grafica. It was dedicated to drawings, lithographs, engravings, prints, and editions of small sculptures, leaving the main gallery free to concentrate on paintings and large sculptures. Ariete Grafica itself published editions of works in various media by a number of artists. A list from 1980 has twenty-one names of "artisti delle nostri edizioni"; amongst them, Andrea Cascella, Diego Esposito, Barry Flanagan, Nancy Martin, Luigi Parzini, and Shu Takahashi, and including a serial work by Alan Shields in the form of hand-painted, beaded crochet panels.
    Monti della Corte closed Galleria dell'Ariete as an exhibition space on November 30, 1979, though she maintained an office at Via San Andrea, and from it carried on dealing in paintings and sculpture under the gallery's name for a few more years. The records contain papers related to these transactions dated up to 1983. Ariete Grafica remained open at the same address, and exhibitions were held and business conducted there into the mid-1980s, by which time the gallery was handling paintings and sculptures as well as graphic arts. As late as 1993 Monti della Corte was using the Via San Andrea address to deal with paperwork connected to her loans of artworks from her personal collection for exhibitions at museums and other galleries, but her own galleries were, by then, closed. Monti della Corte married the novelist Baron Gregor von Rezzori in the 1960s.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Galleria dell'Ariete records, 1955-1993, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 990058

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired from Beatrice Monti della Corte von Rezzori in 1999.

    Processing History

    Alan Tomlinson processed the collection and wrote the preliminary inventory, which was encoded by Laura Schroffel in 2008. Annette Leddy further processed the collection and revised the finding aid in 2012. Correspondence may be further processed at a future time.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Galleria dell'Ariete records contain all of the surviving business papers of the gallery from its foundation by Beatrice Monti della Corte in 1955 to its closure in 1979, plus papers connected with her continued activities under the Galleria's name during the following few years. Also included are the business records of the Galleria's offshoot, Ariete Grafica, from its opening in 1970 to the mid-1980s. These records comprise correspondence (letters received and copies of letters sent) with dealers, collectors, and artists in many countries; miscellaneous business papers, including accounts and stock cards, which give extensive information on the acquisition, sale, and movement of works of art; and business diaries and minute books, the earliest of which include the articles of association and the statutes of the Galleria. The correspondence is arranged by region (Europe, the United States, and Asia), and then chronologically.
    These materials are supplemented by an extensive file of press clippings, collecting items about specific exhibitions at the Galleria, items about artists and others associated with it, and some items of general interest about art and culture. There is a complete run of catalogs for the Galleria's exhibitions from 1955-1979, with related ephemera, and a collection of pages of signatures from visitors' books put out for some of the exhibitions. A comprehensive photographic archive documents works of art and exhibitions, and includes photographs of artists and other individuals, and of gallery activities. Photographers include Carlo Cisventi, Ugo Mulas, Hans Namuth, and Vicenzo, among others.

    Arrangement note

    Arranged in four series: Series I: Correspondence, 1955-1983; Series II: Photographic documentation, 1955-1979, undated; Series III: Business records, 1955-1993, undated; Series IV: Clippings, catalogs, other publications, 1955-1977, undated.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Appel, Karel, 1921-2006
    Arakawa, Shūsaku, 1936-2010
    Castelli, Leo
    Francis, Sam, 1923-1994
    Frankenthaler, Helen, 1928-
    King, Phillip, 1934-
    Monti della Corte von Rezzori, Beatrice
    Saura, Antonio, 1930-1998
    Scordia, Antonio, 1918-
    Sutherland, Graham Vivian, 1903-1980
    Takahashi, Shū

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Ariete Grafica
    Betty Parsons Gallery
    Kasmin Limited
    Leo Castelli Gallery

    Subjects - Topics

    Art dealers -- Italy -- 20th century
    Art dealers--United States
    Art, American--20th century
    Art, Asian
    Art, Italian--20th century
    Collectors and collecting

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Black-and-white photographs
    Carbon copies
    Clippings files
    Color photographs
    Contact sheets


    Appel, Karel, 1921-2006
    Arakawa, Shūsaku, 1936-2010
    Betty Parsons Gallery
    Castelli, Leo
    Cisventi, Carlo
    Francis, Sam, 1923-1994
    Frankenthaler, Helen, 1928-
    Kasmin Limited
    King, Phillip, 1934-
    Leo Castelli Gallery
    Monti della Corte von Rezzori, Beatrice
    Mulas, Ugo
    Namuth, Hans
    Parsons, Betty
    Saura, Antonio, 1930-1998
    Scordia, Antonio, 1918-
    Sonnabend, Ileana
    Sutherland, Graham Vivian, 1903-1980
    Takahashi, Shū
    Tàpies, Antoni, 1923-