The Ratti Foundation. A deep love for Textiles and Contemporary Art

A foundation near Como combines the love for contemporary Art and Textiles. It’s the Ratti Foundation, one of the most interesting cultural centers in Italy. Official statements from their official website

Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Onlus, is a non-profit Organization, founded by Antonio Ratti in 1985. The aim of the founder was to transform his deep personal passion for art and textiles into an active reality in the world of culture.

Through FAR’s activity, scholars of textile and contemporary art together with established and emerging artists, have the opportunity to extend their research, to produce new work, and to reach a wider audience of art lovers, the most renowned critics and the most prestigious institutions, both in the public and in the private sector.
Textile and contemporary art thus become fields of experimentation, and a place to study the contemporary.
In 1995, FAR set up the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, a 2300 m2 space devoted to the storage, restoration and conservation of all the textile collections of the American Museum. The Antonio Ratti Textile Center is open to the public by appointment.
From Spring 2010, the Foundation is located in the stunning Villa Sucota, situated within the kilometre of knowledge that links Como with Cernobbio. Its new and larger availability of spaces and equipment allow a widening of its activities.

The center organises interesting seminars and tours dedicated to its collections.
Textile Studio Museum

The FAR Museo Studio del Tessuto was officially founded in 1998 as the effort of Antonio Ratti, who meant to open his ancient textile collection to a broader audience. This is the final outcome of a collection, preservation and archive work process that started with personal and professional purposes and climaxed in the awareness of the public value of the collection.

The first significant step along this process took place in 1985 with the opening of the Textile exhibit or Textiletheque, a term chosen to identify the array of ancient textiles purchased by Antonio Ratti and housed at the company he himself founded. In 1993 the FAR became the recipient of all collections, the necessary process to “ensure the preservation in time of the Collection, given its outstanding importance and value”, to quote the very articles of incorporation of the Foundation.

This testifies how the collector was gradually transforming his enterpreneurial interest for ancient textiles in a will to divulgate a legacy of a known historical worth. A turning point in this process of awareness is the research and archive campaign, started in the Eighties, that involved major textile history scholars.

With the handing over of the collections to the FAR, a ground for better access to a broader audience was laid, namely, the creative people and the clients of Ratti, or those Antonio Ratti was kind enough to show his collections to. In 1995 the computerized archive project for the collection was initiated and officially opened in 1998; this is considered the official opening day of the museum to the public. That particular day Antonio Ratti stated: “In my life I always found great hints for creativity in museums. I whish for others to be able to follow my lead”.
The collection

Up to today, the Museo Studio del Tessuto collection includes more than 3300 single textile items and more than 2500 pattern books that, all together, illustrate the history of fabrics and textiles from the 3rd to the 20th century.

Fundamental in supporting the vitality and transformation of the collections has been also the donation of a Chinese dress offered by the Cerletti family and belonging to an imperial Chinese official, and a part of Emilia Stoppani’s wardrobe, given by the Nava heirs.
In 1998, the collections have been open to the public with the inauguration of the Museo Studio del Tessuto; in January 2007, the Italian State recognized them as being of exceptional interest and subjected them to restrictions.

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About Odile Milton

I travel through words whenever possible. Odile Milton is my signature on the web as I wanted an alter ego to indicate only my writings and works, not my personal life. Odile like the dancer in black swan, and Milton from the novel An old-fashioned girl. View all posts by Odile Milton

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