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Nineteenth-century Collection
This collection began to take shape in 1861, when lawyer Fogliani – executor for the sculptor Pompeo Marchesi’s will – wished to donate to the City of Milan this artist’s collection made up of celebrated works from Canova to Marchesi himself. This was the first of many donations that would enrich the Municipality with art that, in 1903, would be gathered together in a Contemporary Art Gallery. In fact, starting in 1865 – with Count Gian Giacomo Bolognini’s endowment – up to an important addition in 1902 with works by professors and students from the Brera Fine Arts Academy and Picture Gallery, the modern art collection grew to such an extent it was separated from the ancient art collections. Inaugurated in 1877 in the Public Gardens Hall, the works remained here until 1903 when, with the addition of the National Archeological Museum, a new venue was found in the Sforzesco Castle: the Modern Art Gallery was born that year, as an independent section.
Right from the start, the Gallery, intended for the City, has hosted and enhanced local works and masterpieces thanks to endowments and donations. This bears witness to the expectations and recognition of this Museum on the part of citizens, who are also associated with other institutions:  the Society for Fine Arts which, from 1843, purchased on a regular basis from art exhibitions, especially those at Brera. These works were subsequently divided among members and donated to the Gallery.
In 1920, when the State gave Villa Reale to the City of Milan, the Modern Art Gallery found its definitive location. That same year, the collection grew thanks to a donation by Vittore Grubicy De Dragon (with works by Giacomo Campi, Giovanni Carnovali, Giovanni Costa, Tranquillo Cremona, Federico Faruffini, Silvestro Lega, Filippo Palizzi, Gaetano Previati, Daniele Ranzoni, Giovanni Segantini) and, in 1921, with sale by public tender, The Fourth Estate by Pellizza da Volpedo entered the Gallery’s collections.
If for decades Villa Reale co-existed with other institutions (for example, the Naval Museum or as a venue for civil weddings), which limited the growth of its collections, since 2006 it has been the sole and exclusive showcase for the Modern Art Gallery and its activities.



V. Forcella, Guida della Galleria d'Arte Moderna nel Castello Sforzesco, Società tip. Edit. Popolare, Milano 1903

A. Frova, Guida sommaria dei Civici Musei, archeologico ed artistico, nella Corte Ducale del Castello Sforzesco, Tip. L. F. Cogliati, Milano 1906


[G. Nicodemi, G. Bezzola] La galleria d’arte moderna. I dipinti, 2 voll., edizioni E. Bestetti, Milano 1935-1939


[G. Nicodemi, G. Bezzola] La galleria d'arte moderna. Le sculture, edizioni E. Bestetti, Milano 1938


G. Rosa (a cura di), La Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano, Comune di Milano, Milano 1961


L. Caramel, C. Pirovano, Galleria d’Arte Moderna. Opere dell’Ottocento, 3 vol., Electa, Milano 1975


A. Masoero (a cura di), I musei civici di Milano. Presente e futuro, ed. Abitare Segesta, Milano 2004


F. Mazzocca (a cura di), La Galleria d'Arte Moderna e la Villa Reale di Milano, Cinisello Balsamo, 2007


P. Zatti (a cura di), Guida alle Collezioni dell'Ottocento, Editore Allemandi & C., Torino 2013