Home » The Futuristic Dream at Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero in Rovereto

The Futuristic Dream at Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero in Rovereto

by Paola Bertoni
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The Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero (Depero Futurist Art House) in Rovereto is the only museum in Italy founded by a Futurist. It was conceived and founded by Fortunato Depero in 1957. The museum offers an extraordinary perspective on this Italian famous artist, one of the main protagonists of the Futurist movement, allowing you to immerse yourself in his innovative vision and explore the essence of Futurism.

Fortunato Depero: A Futurist Artist

Fortunato Depero, born in 1892 in Val di Non into a working-class family, established himself as a significant figure among Futurist artists. At only 23 years old, he signed the Manifesto of the Futurist Reconstruction of the Universe. Despite the devastation of World War I, Depero maintained his commitment to the avant-garde, progress and interventionism.

His artistic output extended beyond painting, including set design, design, advertising graphics, poetry and music. After various experiences in different Italian cities, he returned to Trentino. In 1928, he moved to New York with his wife Rosetta. Unfortunately soon returned to Italy due to disappointments and financial difficulties.

Depero always remained faithful to Futurism and detached himself from the international artistic debate when it started taking new directions. Despite a brief return to the United States, he spent most of his life in increasing artistic solitude. He died in 1960 in Rovereto after turning the Casa d’Arte Futurista into a museum to preserve his lasting impact on the Futurist movement.

Painting by Fortunato Depero at the Casa d'Arte Futurista Depero in Rovereto
Painting by Fortunato Depero at the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero in Rovereto

About the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero in Rovereto

In 1919, Fortunato Depero founded his Casa d’Arte in Rovereto, a creative workshop specialising in applied arts, design and advertising. It was the realisation of his dream. Shortly before his death, Depero turned the workshop into a museum with the support of the municipality of Rovereto. For this reason, it is the only museum in the world founded by a Futurist artist.

Depero personally drew up the museum project between 1957 and 1959. Unfortunately the artist died in 1960 without being able to complete it. However, he left numerous sketches of the structure, furniture and decorations that testify to his vision.

The Casa d’Arte Futurista, now managed by Mart – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, reopened in 2009. It went under a careful restoration by architect Renato Rizzi and the recovery and reorganisation of the rich artistic heritage left by Depero. Since then, Casa Depero has hosted temporary exhibitions focusing on themes dear to the artist. Moslty as design, applied arts and advertising graphics.

What to see in the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero

The Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero exhibits works by Fortunato Depero on a rotating basis. You can see paintings, advertising posters, drawings, patchwork tapestries, toys and furniture, created from the early 20th century to the 1950s. The display and furnishings of the Casa d’Arte Futurista, including furniture, mosaics, and wall decorations, were carefully curated by Depero himself.

Visiting the Casa d’Arte Futurista allows you to gain a better understanding of the poetics, themes and fields of action of the Futurist movement, as well as to learn more about the vast production of Fortunato Depero. The artist was very attached to his home territory. Inside the museum, one room is dedicated to Rovereto and large panels depicting in a futurist way the city’s main symbols, such as the Campana dei Caduti and the Castle. These traditional elements also merge into a moving sculpture, a modern mechanised landscape with skyscrapers and diagonal lines rising upwards.

Depero and advertising: the success of Campari

Fortunato Depero is most famous for the design of the Campari single-dose bottle. It is one of the symbols of Italian design. His collaboration with Campari was not only limited to the bottle’s design. It extended to various advertising graphics, highlighting an avant-garde communication strategy worthy of modern agencies.

Advertising activity was also essential to Depero’s stay in New York. During this period, he designed the covers of several American fashion magazines, such as Vogue and Vanity Fair.

Campari advertising sculpture by Fortunato Depero, in the Casa d'Arte Futurista in Rovereto
Campari advertising sculpture by Fortunato Depero, in the Casa d’Arte Futurista in Rovereto

The patchwork tapestries

Between 1920 and 1940, the Casa d’Arte Depero in Rovereto was a women’s workshop. Under the executive guidance of Rosetta, Depero’s wife, a group of women workers created a fantasy world of patchwork tapestries on cartoons designed by the artist.

Colourful hand-sewn woollen cloths formed the backgrounds of the tapestries, achieving considerable success at the International Decorative Arts Exhibition in Paris and the International Art Exhibition in Venice. This significant collective work now constitutes the museum’s most valuable nucleus.

Fortunato Depero and the theatre

Futurism is an artistic current not strictly related to painting and sculpture. Theatre, for example, was an essential element for the Futurists because it offered ample opportunities for experimentation, from creating costumes and sets to acting techniques based on improvisation and provocation of the spectator.

In the Casa d’Arte Futurista, you can see the marionettes of the Teatro Plastico, which represent a significant production of Fortunato Depero and his workshop in Rovereto. Depero’s ironic and playful side emerges in his Teatro Plastico, inhabited by puppets with mechanical movements. You can also watch videos of Teatro Plastico, which my son enjoyed very much.

Marionettes and posters for Teatro Plastico at the Casa d'Arte Futurista Depero in Rovereto
Marionettes and posters for Teatro Plastico at the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero in Rovereto

Practical information for visiting the Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero

The Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and is closed on Monday. The ticket costs € 7, and there are reductions for families. If you would also like to visit Mart Rovereto, I recommend you choose the € 15 combined ticket. It includes access to Mart Rovereto, Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero and the Galleria Civica di Trento.

The Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero is a ten-minute walk from Mart Rovereto. The museum is in the historical centre of Rovereto. Despite no parking in the immediate vicinity, the town is very small and you can get everywhere comfortably on foot.

Futurist Art House Depero (Depero Futurist Art House)
Via Portici, 38
38068 Rovereto

Where to stay in Rovereto

Rovereto is a small city near Trento. Hotel Leon d’Oro is an excellent accommodation with an outdoor pool and free parking, just a 2-minute walk from the train station and near the Mart. Another option is Hotel Rovereto, a boutique hotel in the historic centre of Rovereto with stylish furniture and paintings by famous local artists in the public areas. If you’re on a budget, Ostello Città di Rovereto offers dormitories, private rooms, and vouchers for discounted visits to local museums.

The Casa d’Arte Futurista Depero in Rovereto offers a unique insight from advertising to design into the work of Fortunato Depero, a leading artist of the Futurist movement. Through paintings, furniture, and objects of applied art, you can immerse yourself in the artist’s unique and innovative visions of Futurism. Please comment if you already know about this incredible museum or if this article inspired you to visit it.

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