Pavia | Italia

Cucchiarelli-Meoli Collection

Angela Cucchiarelli e Attilio Meoli

When and why did you start collecting?

The desire to collect artworks came about recently. The first informed purchase for  beginning the  collection was in mid-2018. The reason for collecting, besides the emotional and sensorial aspect, is a diversification of the investment portfolio. Although  a work of art is considered an asset , we do not believe that this aspect diminishes the intrinsic and  primary cultural value.

Giulio Turcato, Fosforescente, Mixed media on canvas 72 x 98 cm

The first work you bought?

A work by Giulio Turcato entitled "Fosforescente", a mixed media on canvas, circa 1969 measuring 72x98 cm.

 The last one?

A work by Sean Landers, "Jesus", an  1999 oil on canvas. It is clear, that there has been the decisive shift towards collecting the most current contemporary art since  the first acquisition

Wang Yigang, Works on paper n. 23, 2016 Acrilico su carta 77 x 57

Ian Tweedy, To have the courage to take risks, 2008, Matita su carta 21 x 14 cm

How has the focus of your collection changed?

So far we have preferred Italian 20th century art, with some recent forays into international contemporary art. Now we are continuing this part of the journey, focusing our interest on international contemporary art, with particular attention to what is happening in Africa,  and its artistic production in situ and the Diaspora.

 Why Africa?

Among our many projects,   we are engaged in a non-profit initiative, the African Art in Venice Forum, begun last year with the support of a dear friend. It is a biennial forum held at the beginning of May, during the opening days of the Venice Art Biennale. The association aims to raise awareness and  to encourage the spread of African contemporary art and to strengthen the relationships of the ecosystem of art professionals, scholars, researchers, social and cultural players in this context.

Sean Landers, Jesus, 1999 Oil on linen canvas 71 x 61 cm

Francesco Clemente, Senza titolo 1983-1984, Pastel on paper 52,5 x 42,5 cm

So you share this passion with other collector friends?

The relationship with other collectors, including our friends, is  a result of Attilio's professional activity. Avoiding obvious hypocrisies, it is pleonastic to say that the themes of  artistic debate usually faced with variouspeople, whether they are collectors, art market professionals, friends, or clients – and over time the category of each subject changes and evolves from one to the other and often the categories are stratified, even living well together-, also focus on topics clearly related to the market and the economy of art.

 What role does Collective play in this sense?

We are working hard to find a common thread in our collection and we are sure that Collective will be able to help us to put things in order after this first phase.

Getullio Alviani, Senza titolo 1962, Screen printing on mdf panel, ed. 121/150, Plura Edizioni, Milano 70 x 50 cm

Galliano Mazzon, Senza titolo, 1948, Pastel on cardboard 32 x 23 cm

What does collecting mean to you?

We are not very interested in collecting as pure possession of works of art gathered in one direction , meaning an exclusively incoming flow, so much so we imagine our collection as a container, with many new acquisitions. Since many artworks in the course of time, will leave us, because our preferences and interests evolve and change, it may be convenient to sell some works in order to acquire others. Collecting is an activity that gives us pleasure because, in addition to receiving a daily aesthetic dividend from the work of art and an opportunity for in-depth studies and reflections not only on art, it is a unique and unmissable opportunity to weave social relationships with all the players who contribute to nurture culture.  In the final analysis, for us, it is a means of personal evolution and community growth. That said, wanting to analyze in depth the psychological profile of the collector, perhaps it is  found in Achille Bonito Oliva’s writings. I quote some passages: "Collecting acts in the name of a love for art that fetishizes and privileges it above other objects of production (...) The collector projects and delegates his creativity to the artist who manages it and gives it objectivity in forms that return to the person who delegates behind an economic compensation (...) If art is the production of desire, of impossible possibilities, production of the unconscious (as Deleuze and Guattari say), then collecting is the copy of unresolved desire that has become nostalgia, cultivated through the artificial accumulation of works of art".

The missed acquisition?

No regrets so far. We are still defining the artistic area and the main theme of the collection.

 The importance of fairs for your acquisitions?

For some years now we have been attending the most important fairs: Art Basel, Frieze, TEFAF, ... even 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair. They are excellent opportunities that give us  an overview of the artistic production of the past and present and, above all, to understand  new trends in art.

Mario Sironi, Composizione con figure, cavallo e cavaliere, 1949 circa

Chin Hsiao, VK - 120, 1960, Oil on canvas, 89 x 89 cm

And social networks?

Due to our age, until recently we have not been familiar with social networks, but we are now more involved, mainly with Instagram. However, we prefer to visit exhibitions, fairs, galleries, museums. For now the in person  reality remains the most engaging.

Among the players in the art world that you met, who are you most impressed by?

Emilio Isgrò, with whom we spent an afternoon at the last edition of Art Basel in Basel.


Achille Perilli, Lacrime per l'anarchia, 1957, Mixed Technique and collage on canvas, 42 x 54,5 cm

Among contemporary artists, who would you like to invite to dinner?

Simphiwe Buthelezi, an artist from the South African gallery SMAC Gallery in Cape Town, and the Russian collective AES+F (Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovich, Evgeny Svyatsky and Vladimir Fridkes), which we discovered at  Manifesta 12 in Palermo. Their porcelain works are about the migrants crossing the Mediterranean to get from Africa to Sicily. The strong contrast between the material used, porcelain, and the dramatic and controversial problem of welcoming them fascinated us. Our interest in the group also derives from the fact that for a dozen years our family, along with other families from Pavia, has welcomed a group of Belarusian children from the areas still affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It is a concentrated relationship that has led to a fascination, also cultural, with the regions of Eastern Europe. In 2018 we attended  Art Minsk in Belarus, an international festival of contemporary art. A single invitation to dinner would not be enough to exhaust the many themes that emotionally and intellectually involve and fascinate us.


Gianni Bertini, Fuga di Friso, 1957, oil on canvas , 81 x 65 cm

And from of the past?

Limiting the choice to the twentieth century, Enrico Prampolini.

 Pros and cons of loaning art ?

We are for   it because it offers the possibility of sharing the pleasure and enjoyment provided by the work of art,  but there is also the concern generated by entrusting the work of art to the care of third parties.

Attilio Meoli and Angela Cucchiarelli in Bali after participating in a Hindu temple ceremony

Robert Kusmiroswki, Match box drawing (C), 2009, Mixed Techinque on cardboard, 20,5 x 16 cm