Brera|z - Philippe Daverio and Milan


A charismatic character, who with his round glasses and signature bow tie stood out as a generous and eccentric art historian with a unique talent for elucidating the language of art with disconcerting freshness and originality.

Councillor for Culture of the City of Milan from 1993 to 1997, Daverio contributed to the organisation of major exhibitions such as “Alexej von Jawlensky”, “Da Monet a Picasso”, “Richard Avedon”, and “Omaggio a Leo Castelli”, animating the city with countless and extravagant public events. His long-fought battle for the restoration and the public reopening of Palazzo Citterio will lead to the inauguration in 2022 of the “Grande Brera” museum district: a 6,500 square meter area for the display of the 20th-century Pinacoteca di Brera collections.

From 20 to 23 April 2021, the Ponte auction house will hold in its Brera location a sale of items from the collection Philippe Daverio put together during his lifetime. Most notable is a series of works representative of 20th-century decorative arts and design: a colourful and heterogenous vase collection, which Daverio playfully and ironically paired with the irreverent glass, marble and ceramic objects designed by Ettore Sottsass in the 1980s, next to a series of display cases carved with geometrical patters anticipating Art Déco trends, originally designed by Piero Portaluppi for Gadda’s house. Daverio’s collection encompassed objects from a variety of periods and places, testifying to the multifaceted imagery of a connoisseur who appreciated 20th-century decorative arts, quintessentially Milanese interior design, as well as antique, renaissance and baroque art manifesting his eclectic and wide-ranging interests. Philippe Daverio embodied the cosmopolitan and versatile spirit of Milan. As his wife Elena Gregori Daverio has said “he surrounded himself with curious, important, enigmatic, unusual objects… that now will be auctioned to support his vast library – a reflection of his personality and culture”. 

Opening image: starting from the left Ettore Sottsass "Vaso Calice", terracotta vase, Bitossi, Florence 1986; Ettore Sottsass Vaso "Erinna", Memphis, Milan 1986; Ettore Sottsass Vaso "Astimelusa", Memphis, Milan 1986; in the centre Andrea Zilio "Vaso a calice", Murano 2001; in the background Carmelo Nino Trovato "Ritratto di Philippe Daverio", 2021, mixed media on wood panel (cm 50x70), signed and dated lower left. Courtesy Il Ponte casa d'aste.


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