Marisa Merz, Luciano Fabro, Steven Parrino: Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein receives important donation

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Marisa Merz, Luciano Fabro, Steven Parrino: Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein receives important donation
Steven Parrino, Crowbar, 1987, photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zürich © The Parrino Family Estate and Gagosian Gallery.

VADUZ.- Thanks to a generous donation from the Gerda Techow gemeinnützige Stiftung, Vaduz, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein has acquired a number of important works for its collection. The gift was prompted by the twentieth anniversary of the Museum, that opened in November 2000. This is the most generous private donation since the Museum’s foundation.

Thanks to the specific, clear-cut profile of its collection, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein has succeeded in establishing itself internationally in the past two decades. The collection of Italian Arte Povera in particular has received great international recognition. The acquisition of two historically important works of Marisa Merz and Luciano Fabro has further strengthened this section of the collection.

Scarpette, 1968, by Marisa Merz (1926–2019) is among the important early works of the only female artist of the Arte Povera movement. The extremely delicate “little shoes” woven from nylon thread were made in connection with her early actions themed around housework and the fleetingness of a wistful vision of immersing oneself in nature. Of the few versions which were made and which have survived, this is the first pair to be added to a museum collection.

Felce, 1968, by Luciano Fabro (1936–2007) is also one of the artist’s central works from the early days of Arte Povera. A large fern leaf is held under crystal by a sheet of lead that is also wrapped around the edges of the crystal. The crystal and lead roughly echo the shape of the fern leaf. This piece, frequently depicted in publications but rarely exhibited, is part of a strand of Fabro’s oeuvre in which he explored long periods of time. The combination of materials, fern, crystal and lead, alludes to both organic and inorganic aspects and to the testimonies of past periods in the history of the earth embedded in the earth’s crust.

These acquisitions were made possible by the Gerda Techow Stiftung, and Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein now holds major works by all exponents of Arte Povera from the movement’s “historical” phase between 1965 and 1971. The Kunstmuseum is particularly pleased that these acquisitions came straight from the artists’ estates and that their provenance is therefore excellent.

Thanks to the generous donation, it was also possible to acquire a large, famous early work by Steven Parrino (1958–2005), Crowbar, 1987. In this piece we see Parrino’s artistic interests come together in a unique way: “painting after the death of painting” as well as the exploration of central painterly positions from the first and second modernity, in this case Malevich and Fontana. The piece consists of a monumental black monochrome painting; in a videodocumented action, the artist used a crowbar to rip out a slightly smaller rectangle on three sides, allowing the “free” canvas to hang down to the ground and thereby revealing the structure of the stretcher and the wall behind. The work already featured in the major retrospective devoted to the artist by Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein in 2020 and it adds a further central work to the holdings of Parrino’s paintings already kept at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein.

Gerda Techow (1904–2001), born in Hamburg, lived in Liechtenstein from 1956 onwards and was a constant patron of the arts. The Gerda Techow gemeinnützige Stiftung founded in Vaduz following her death has upheld this commitment ever since, already gifting Gerda Techow’s art collection to Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein in 2015, including paintings by Alfred Sisley, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Alexej Jawlensky along with watercolours by Kirchner and Emil Nolde.

With the current donation the Foundation once again pays tribute to the clear profile and high quality of the Kunstmuseum’s work since its inauguration in 2000, its international success and its consistent educational work.

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