Some works are displayed with their respective tactile reproductions.
Below are descriptions of the tactile tours for two sculptures by Alberto Giacometti and one by Max Ernst, all located in the garden, and six relief reproductions of works by Jean Arp, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Vasily Kandinsky, René Magritte, Piet Mondrian, and Pablo Picasso.
Jean Hans Arp
Overturned Blue Shoe with Two Heels Under a Black Vault, 1925
Painted wood, 79 x 104 x 5 cm
The work is influenced by Cubist collages and made up of three elements: a horizontal rectangular shape as a base, on which rest two curved forms, one above and one below. The latter resembles an inverted shoe with two heels. Arp began creating these reliefs in wood in 1914 and continued in the following years, when he was a member of the Dada movement. He assembled forms, which were usually rounded, according to the laws of chance. The title is evocative and not based on rationality.
Surface 236, 1957
Oil on canvas, 96 x 71 cm
The artist created an abstract composition consisting of graphic modules that are similar in shape, color and size. The composition is formed by an aggregation of four-pointed symbols that look like combs. Despite the overall apparent chaos, the six large symbols are arranged in a rhythmic way: they follow one another, one below the other, spreading over two ideal columns. Next to them are other toothed segments, some thinner and vertical, others larger and horizontal. Each contributes to the composition. After a figurative phase, Capogrossi began to use the repetition of symbols and calligraphic elements to create his paintings, each with a different arrangement of forms.
Young Woman in the Form of a Flower, 1957
Bronze, 35 x 35.6 x 21.5 cm
The sculpture is composed of three simplified, geometric forms assembled together. A small rectangle represents the head, with three horizontal segments as the eyes and the mouth. The body is formed by a larger rectangle: its the surface is furrowed by lines that radiate outwards from a central, horizontal slit and that seem to indicate the blossoming of a flower and the veins of its petals. The lateral view shows that the structure of the sculpture is shaped like the letter "E", which joins the head and the body and ends at the bottom with two protrusions resembling the letter “T” and the feet of the figure.
Standing Woman (“Leoni”), 1957
Bronze, 153 cm high, including base
The elongated and dematerialized figure seems structured by the verticality of the force of gravity. The surface is rough and coarse. It represents a woman, standing stiff with her thin arms stretched along her body. The artist sought to convey the human loneliness that came to characterize the twentieth century, with its uncertainties and fears. The figure is as thin as a match: the eyes and the mouth are perceived through small cavities, while the nose is barely hinted at by a protrusion. Below the breasts, composed of two projecting forms, the hips are further thinned. The closed legs are long and thin, with the feet acting as a pedestal.
Woman Walking, 1936
Bronze, 144.6 cm high, including base
The elongated and slender female nude is truncated, with neither head nor arms, and is caught in the act of walking. The left leg, the right one in a frontal view, is slightly forward, while the other becomes the support. The body is erect and thinned, the only protruding parts are the small breasts, the abdomen and thighs. The treatment of the subject references the frontal figures of ancient Egypt and the flattened ones of Cycladic art. The long, thin legs are smooth and solid. This essential and vertical shape may have been influenced by two other contemporary sculptors, Alexander Archipenko and Constantin Brancusi.
Oil on cardboard, 70 x 49 cm
Kandinsky painted a geometric composition at the center, on a green, slightly textured background. The abstract composition seems to show a head formed by two semicircles staggered along a vertical axis, with the right one wider and lower than the left one. Some facial features can be recognized: the small circle on the right as an eye, and further below on the left the two small, horizontal and parallel rectangles as the mouth. This round form seems to be supported, as if it were a bust, by two vertical trapezoids joined along the longer bases. The one on the left is uniform, and the one on the right is black and shaped in the form of the letter “E”.
Voice of Space, 1931
Oil on canvas, 72 x 54 cm
The clear sky of a spring landscape occupies most of the canvas. A meadow with bushes, interrupted by a path on the left, is painted at the bottom. Three large, overlapping spheres take up most of the sky. They seem to be made in metal, each crossed by a horizontal slit that divides them in two: they look like rattles and evoke their tinkling. The title of the painting is eloquent. Magritte intended to paint the sound of the air passing through the rattles and making them vibrate, and he did so with three spheres immersed in a country landscape. The work embodies the surrealist principle of free association of ideas and of everyday objects, that are decontextualized and altered.
Composition No. 1 with Grey and Red 1938 / Composition with Red 1939
Oil on canvas, mounted on wood support, 109 x 106 x 2.5 cm
A representative of Neoplasticism, the artist started panting realistic landscapes. But he began researching the fundamental truths of nature to depict in his paintings, and thus simplified his subject and reduced the range of colors, reaching abstraction. In this work, he creates an asymmetrical grid of black perpendicular lines that produce rectangles of different sizes. The left portion of the painting appears more outstretched that the right, which is dominated by vertical shapes. The only colored element is a red rectangle, relegated to the bottom left of the canvas, lending formal balance to the painting.
On the Beach, February 12, 1937
Oil, conté crayon and chalk on canvas, 129 x 194 cm
The horizon line sits as high as three quarters of the painting, and separates the sea from the sky. An oval figure in the shape of a simplified face stands above this line. Two female figures composed of geometric forms occupy the foreground. One is standing to the left, one is squatting to the right. They seem to be playing with a small, two-pointed boat placed at the bottom, in the center between them. The figures have small heads on long necks, with faces defined with two dots for the eyes and dashes for nose and mouth. The arms are prismatic and sharp. The standing figure looks pregnant, with a large belly, cone-shaped breasts, one regular, the other arranged in reverse. Her body is seen in profile, almost, but the buttocks appear as seen frontally.
Giorgio de Chirico
The Nostalgia of the Poet, 1914
Oil and charcoal on canvas, 90 x 41 cm
The painting, part of a series on the theme of the poet, features various objects which, grouped together, appear unusual and out of context and allude to the theme of absence. They are compressed into a narrow, vertical format, creating an enigmatic and claustrophobic space. In the foreground, on the bottom left, is the sculpted bust of a man in profile wearing round glasses. In the background, on the right, is a black cloth mannequin traced in white, shown in three-quarters. It symbolizes an erased identity and is the artist’s trademark. Behind it is a column, interrupted by the picture frame, on which there is a stylized outline of a fish—perhaps a carp, defined by Apollinaire as “the fish of melancholy.”
Portrait of Frau P. in the South, 1924
Watercolor and oil transfer drawing on paper, mounted on gouache-painted board, 42 x 31 cm including mount
The painting depicts a stylized woman wearing a hat against a brightly colored background. The face is rectangular and disproportionate compared to the rest of the body. Curly hair is rendered down to the chin on the left portion of the painting. The eyes are small and round, the nose is lightly rendered and shifted to the right, and the mouth is half open. The trapezoidal hat, elongated to the right, has two plumes and a central emblem similar to a button. The bust wears a semicircular bib, divided in half by a rough horizontal line reminiscent of sand which continues under the arms. Beneath the bib is a heart shape.
Man in the City, 1919
Oil on canvas, 146 x 113 cm
The painting depicts a city, rendered through geometric and tube-like elements and unified color surfaces with clear outlines. The human figures are dark and light outlines scattered among various “mechanical” elements. On the right emerges the black, stylized figure of a man; in the center there is a round face, cut in half vertically; on the left, in the foreground, is a deconstructed figure defined by a succession of geometric shapes: from an oval head, to a cylinder suggesting the neck and arms, and semicircles and trapezoids that form the rest of the body. Legér is able to translate the rhythmic energy of contemporary life into pictorial images.
Woman in a Sailor Shirt, 1916
Oil on canvas, 55 x 35 cm
According to Modigliani’s canons, aimed at synthesizing and developing shapes vertically, the painting depicts a woman in the center of the canvas. She has short hair, with a lock falling on her forehead from left to right. The nose is straight, long and thin; the eyes and pupils, surmounted by eyebrows like thin lines, are elongated and melancholic. The mouth is small and fleshy, and the neck is long and emphasized by the open, sailor-style neckline. The collar covers the shoulders and part of the back. Three lines in slight relief border the collar on the left and right. The formal synthesis which characterized Modigliani’s painting derives from his experience as a sculptor.
Half-length Portrait of a Man in a Striped Jersey, 14 September 1939
Gouache on paper, 63 x 45 cm
The painting depicts a figure wearing a striped sweater worn by seamen. The portrait is part of series on the same subject. The deconstruction of the representational planes displays both a frontal and a right-hand profile view of the figure. The head is divided into two triangular prisms. The larger one depicts the face, the smaller one the nose. Each prism contains the stylized shape of the eyes, ears and nostrils. On the right-hand side, the semicircular skull is covered in hair, rendered in light brushstrokes. At the base, the fisherman’s torso features the broad neckline of the sweater. The horizontal lines are interrupted by a rectangle on the right, and a triangle on the left.