Eni’s artistic assets
In addition to being widely recognised as one of the world’s historical oil tycoons, Enrico Mattei was also a refined patron sensitive to the value of art and culture. Throughout his career, the founder of Eni acquired countless prestigious art works that progressively grew into a corporate art collection that captured the talent of emerging young artists who would go on to become renowned in the contemporary art scene. Here is the story of Eni’s artistic heritage assets.

The rediscovery of Eni’s artistic assets

From his early youth, Enrico Mattei displayed a marked sensibility for art and culture and the first acquisitions that make up the company’s art collection date back to his time and today includes:
  • 373 paintings
  • 213 lithographs
  • 30 sculptures and 50 pieces of furniture, carpets and objets d’art.

Eni’s first Chairman, a collector and patron of historical art galleries, was convinced that the considerable assets in his possession should be placed in the public areas of the company in order to promote an artistic sensibility and taste for the aesthetic among employees. Many of the works, by some of the great artists of the twentieth century, were immediately designated to enrich the company’s sites, offices and boardrooms. Also today Eni’s artistic assets are not kept in the company vaults, but are on display in meeting rooms, the offices of senior managers and boardrooms. In line with the policy of the founder, Eni subsequently launched an important project to enhance the collection with a complete census of all its artistic assets. This initiative began in 2008 with the temporary loan of works even across the Atlantic, in New York where the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) borrowed from Eni a celebrated still life by Giorgio Morandi.

An exhibition of emerging young artists in Milan

On 10 May 1958, in Milan, the sky was clear and the air full of great fervour. The reason for this was the much-anticipated opening at the Palazzo della Permanente of the exhibition Young Italian Artists, organised by the newspaper Il Giorno, of which Enrico Mattei was the publisher. At the gates of the recently restore building, a large number of visitors gathered that would only grow during day. The exhibition featured 370 works by 130 artists; painters and sculptors of all persuasions, from the figurative to the abstract, artists of different schools and denominations. Of special note were members of so-called Milanese Nuclear Group, which included Roberto Crippa, Gianni Dova and Gianni Bertini and members of the Roman group “Forma1” led by Piero Dorazio, Carla Accardi and Pietro Consagra. Also included were the brothers Gio and Arnaldo Pomodoro, soon to become celebrated masters of international sculpture.

The complete cataloguing of works

In line with the archiving work done for the large corporate collections of the banks Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Intesa and Unicredit, in 2009, Eni completed an analytical census of all its assets, the allocation procedures of which are available at the bottom of the page. The result of this intense operation, completed with the cooperation of experts and art critics, was the volume The Art of Energy. Twentieth century masterpieces from Eni’s art collections, published in 2010. Among the prestigious names in the collection were Giorgio Morandi, Filippo De Pisis, Mario Mafai and Felice Casorati, Arturo Tosi, Fiorenzo Tomea, Mario Sironi, Renato Birolli, Bruno Cassinari and Aligi Sassu, as well as Enrico Castellani, Alighiero Boetti, Mimmo Rotella, Carla Accardi and Valerio Adami. These names are the confirmation that Eni’s artistic assets represent a repository of different artistic languages, ​​constantly influencing and in dialogue with each other, in a kaleidoscope of colours and light capable of narrating the evolution of the times, while also affirming the power of art as a promoter of dialogue beyond the barriers of history and culture.

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