The VAF Foundation’s art collection, which, in accordance with its statutes, contains works by Italian artists exclusively, is captivating, both because of the high quality of the works, as well as their wide range. This results from an unsurpassed wide range of their styles as well as from the widespread appeals of the holdings. In addition to examples of the artistic desire to communicate in classical modernism, there are many examples of newer formalised ideas and media strategies.

The basis of this passionate and committed initiative consists of an extensive high-quality collection of Italian art, the holdings of which cover the artistic period from the beginnings of modernism in Italy to today’s trends. From Futurismo to Pittura Metafisica to Novecento and early abstraction, the collection contains important masterpieces in significant artistic movements since 1945.
The VAF Foundation’s collection is now unique, having more than two thousand individually inventoried items. This also includes major works from the early history of Italian modernism, which lasted from around 1900 to the 1940s and whose importance is reflected in a correspondingly large number of works.

Furthermore, the collection maintains distinguished creations of contemporary work, as well as the most recent creative work from 1945 to the present day These are classified into genres that cover various artistic works in the art of the 20th and 21st centuries, starting with the conventional panel paintings and sculptural figures modelled or worked in stone, i.e. painting, plastic materials and sculpture. At the end of the day this also includes genres such as photography, kinetic art, light art as well as material and object art, installation and other multiple possibilities of expressive moving images, including the increasingly omnipresent use of new media. Together, these represent the all-encompassing scope of the collection.

Carrà, Carlo , Le figlie di Loth, 1919, olio su tela, VAF 719, Roverto, Mart
Casorati, Felice , Beethoven, 1928, olio su tavola, VAF 722, Roverto, Mart

In addition, the collection policy of the VAF Foundation was, and is, always open to the numerous experimental aesthetic, conceptual and creative innovations in art, including the advanced media and multimedia crossovers that are increasingly gaining importance with younger contemporary creators. These take shape as cinematic productions, animation, features and often also in dramaturgically designed narratives. T

There are also diverse installations in which fascinating experiences are conveyed by means of the generation of audiovisual artefacts, in which computers, cameras, projectors, auditory components and lighting fixtures are used increasingly. A preoccupation with, and analysis of, psychological, political, social, ecological and human problems and the creation of individual suggestive perceptual situations take up a lot of space, especially in the artistic thinking and work of the younger generations.

In this sense, the collection also includes thrilling demonstrations of working strategies in which an ingenious technical invention alone determines a visual event or perceptual effect. The collection also offers results from conceptual approaches in which the viewer is challenged and touched in a sensory, emotional and reflexive way; here, the viewer receives a provocative impetus through criticism, irony, satire and alienation, and image effects that offer aesthetic suggestions, visual fascination, intelligent metaphors and gripping imaginations, etc.

It goes without saying that these works stand next to works that are based on a completely different way of thinking, such as those in which a concept aimed at reification can also be found in more recent manifestations of a purely self-referential work of art. Similarly, this includes those works in which the incorporation of banal realities as well as relics, signs and visual phenomena from everyday life are constitutive in the artistic context or in which quotations from memes echoed from the media, entertainment or consumption are decisive for their statement.

Basically, the VAF Foundation’s credo of its art collection still needs to be reaffirmed. It does not want to offer solely an objective journey through its holdings, which is limited to the presentation of visual facts and data; rather, it is much more about using the aesthetic and semantic messages that are concentrated in the works of art to unfold a panorama of what artists perceive as essential facts in their time, and it should show what occupies creative minds, what inspires them, what they want to say, what motivates them to do artistic work and what means they use to achieve this.

It is about the balance of the diverse creative reactions of artists as to what they did in their time, and what they experienced in their everyday reality and in their world view; it is about the drives and goals of artistic creation, of thinking and feeling, as well as of communicating the individual’s processing of the manifestations of the zeitgeist in the form of works of art.

In particular, this guides the view of those responsible in the VAF Foundation for the production of art in the present day; constant communication with young artists is a premise of the work of the VAF Foundation’s Board of Trustees and the Management Board. By making regular acquisitions of the most recent works art being produced, care is taken to ensure that the VAF Foundation documents the progress of art development within its collection.

Starting from the first years of the 20th century, the content-related classifications of art development are now listed by scientific classifications, well-known style names and brief explanations, in chronological order, for all these programmatic intentions, basic intellectual motifs, themes and ‘moments of movement’ in the progress of art history in Italy. The works of art from the VAF Foundation’s collection are assigned to these individual classifications, and their content is subsumed under the respective stylistic characteristics.

Finally, answers to any objections that can be expected with certainty from experts in Italian art over the past 100 years should be anticipated at this point. It is noticeable, without a doubt, that there are evident gaps in the registers of the names and in the entries for the individual art initiatives; this applies most of all to the second half of the 20th century, when, of all things, some of the most renowned actors in the art world as well as the contributions by Italian artists that have received the greatest global attention are missing. It is a fact that this applies in a remarkable way to tendencies that are paradigms for Italy’s artistic identity, such as “Spazialismo”, “Arte Povera” and “Transavanguardia”. In view of the high level of artistic standards that those responsible in the VAF Foundation’s committees claim for themselves, this undisputedly calls for an explanation. In the reasoning in this regard, the VAF Foundation can initially refer to the fact that its collection policy for the first half of the 20th century was careful to follow established art-historical guidelines with regard to the distinctive positions of the world of art. Concerning art developments after 1945, there came into effect a collecting strategy that can only be described as a decidedly non-conformist.
The VAF Foundation’s collection policy has changed over the course of the last few years in such a way that it tends to ignore the assignations relating to art after 1945, which determine the course of the mainstream. Contradicting historical interpretations, the Foundation made a conscious decision to track down the repressed, forgotten and undervalued positions and names in Italian art and retrieve awareness of them. This is understood to mean those who, despite their often highly interesting approaches, are mostly not mentioned in the codified canon of contemporary Italian art history.

The idiosyncratic profiling that the VAF Foundation was able to achieve with its collection strategy was ultimately based on the idea that it would be possible to use examples from the Foundation’s holdings to present an additional historical aspect for discussion. The point here is not to propose rewriting modern Italian art history, but the Foundation would consider it a success if some of the aspects that are stimulated by the collection were also incorporated into the official school of thought.

A large part of the VAF Foundation’s art holdings is on loan at Mart, the Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto. The Foundation works closely with Mart and this is also where its administrative and communications headquarters are located.
The collection is constantly being expanded and completed through acquisitions.

Wildt, Adolfo , Nicola Bonservizi, 1925, marmo, VAF 1729 , Roverto, Mart
Uncini, Giuseppe , Traliccio, 1960/61, Beton und Eisen, VAF 528, Roverto, Mart