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BIOGRAPHY

of the tapestry maker :

 

UGO SCASSA was born in Portacomaro d'Asti on the 28th of December  1928 and he lives in Asti since 1934.
All started with his love of the figurative arts and the desire to transform this passion into a direct and personal involvement. He originally had the idea of combining avant-garde art and one of the most ancient of all the decorative arts.
After more than forty years we can now say that he have had a great  success and enormous satisfaction documented from relationships with such artists as Corrado Cagli and Felice Casorati, Giorgio de Chirico and Renato Guttuso,  Umberto Mastroianni and Mirko Basaldella, Luigi Spazzapan and Emilio Vedova, but also with an architect, Renzo Piano, whose drawings have been translated into "high lisse". And there are also the works that Scassa had made in homage to some of the best-loved artists such as Paul Klee, Vasilij Kandinskij, Joan Mirˇ, Henri Matisse and Max Ernst.

and the Tapestry Weaving Mill :

The "Scassa" Tapestry Weaving Mill started its activity in Asti in 1957 and won in 1960 the international contest for the famous liner LEONARDO DA VINCI 1st Class saloon decoration.

                      

All of the cartoons for its sixteen tapestries on purpose: six by Corrado Cagli and the others by Capogrossi, Turcato, Corpora, Santomaso and Bernini. This remarkable success was the beginning of a long and successful cooperation with master Cagli, till his death (1976). New successes were met, as the new woven tapestries adorning two others famous Italian liners: "MICHELANGELO" and "RAFFAELLO".

The project for the Salone delle Feste, the first-class entertainment hall on the
"MICHELANGELO" had provided for the inclusion of six tapestries, one by Capogrossi and five "Verdure" from a drawing by the studio of the architect Nino Zoncada.  Six tapestries, two of them very large, by the architect and painter Roberto Aloi, were placed in the cabin class, between the Salone delle Feste and the Lounge-Bar.

                              

For the "RAFFAELLO", the architects, Attilio and Emilio La Padula opted to choose a still greater number of exponents of Italian abstract art. A large series (22) of tapestries was placed in the "Atlantico Grand Bar". They consisted of abstract panels all of the same size, and each one made by a different artist. Lastly, the group of abstract tapestries hung in the first-class areas included two works by Emilio Vedova located in the verandah bar "Bermuda".

In 1963 Scassa participated at the INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY TAPESTRY EXHIBITION (ChÔteau de Culan, France), as an Italian weaver in competition with French, Belgian and other countries makers, with only three pieces of "haute-lisse" tapestry on Cagli's and Mirko's cartoons. 
In a special reportage from Paris, the New York Herald Tribune of July 26th judged its three pieces the best tapestries in the Exhibition
(Italy Outstanding -Eight countries are represented. Italy has but three tapestries in the show, but in a country‑by-country evaluation, they are the best), the only ones able to compete with Matisse's and Luršat's.
Its tapestries, were also to be found in others international exhibitions: at the III BIENNIAL EXHIBITION in PARIS, an arras on Muzzi's pattern "GEMINI" drew the attention of Mr. Malraux, at that time the French Minister for the Cultural Affairs, and this masterpiece was later purchased by its Ministry for the "Collections de l'Etat Franšais"

 

Few years later tapestries made in Asti atelier were exhibited at the HERBSTSALON in MUNICH, woven on Cagli's, Mirko's and  Guttuso's  patterns and others in ATHENS, GOTEBORG, NEW YORK.
In the U.S. Scassa's tapestries were shown in the moving exhibition organized by the NEW YORK MUSEUM OF MODERN ART and during the exhibition "The Italian ART OF LIVING" held in 1992 in New York's Park Avenue.
Orders coming from many public and private companies engaged Scassa's workshop to larger fulfillments: the tapestries
inspired by Max Ernst's work, "EUROPE AFTER THE RAIN", is 5 meters  llong and 2 meters widee (shown at Turin's Civic Gallery of Modern Art, in 1967 Exhibition).

 

 

The size of the tapestry "APOLLO AND DAFNE" on Cagli's pattern is 5.30 meters length and 2.9 meters width;

 

Scassa's masterpieces enrich now public Galleries and Buildings:
from Paul Klee's cartoons; from Cagli's cartoons "THE RISEN CHRIST" and "SAINT GEORGE" have been purchased by the VATICAN for the "Galleria Paolina d'Arte Moderna";

         

"NARCISO" decorates the Presidential Room of the Italian Senate-house;

"THE FEBO'S ENIGMA" adorns the hall of RAI - Italian Television and Radio broadcasting - in Turin.

   

Among the 220 tapestries produced by "Scassa" workshop we have to remember: Mastroianni's  "EURINOME" for the Court of Appeal;

Mirko's "THE EMIGRANTS" for the Wenner-Gren Anthropological Research Foundation, New York;

 

Avenali's for the roman offices of the bank "BANCO DI SANTO SPIRITO";

                                                                   

Two Spazzapan's and one Casorati's patterns decoratee the Congress Hall "SALONE DEI TRECENTO" of the "ISTITUTO BANCARIO S. PAOLO DI TORINO".

 

                                                                              

A set of four tapestries (from Cagli's, Guttuso's, Mirko's and Sironi's patterns), and another of two (from Muzzi's), woven for the O.N.P.I. Reception Rooms, are currently owned by Commune of Meldola (Forlý) the former, by Turin's Commune the latter.

                                    

                      

A tapestry from Spazzapan's cartoon adorns the Asti Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, another, from Casorati's (ôSHOOTING GALLERYö h. cm.197, l. cm.189) the "SAVINGS BANK of ASTI".

 

Gonfalons of LOMBARDY and PIEDMONT Regions, Province of Asti, TAORMINA and Asti towns have been woven in "Scassa" Workshop.

 

                                                                                                                                                    

 

The names of many other Italian and foreign artists, as Accardi, Clerici, Conte, de Chirico, Dorazio, Ercolini, Giansone, Giordano, Gribaudo, Guenzi,  Lazzari, Montanarini, Novelli, Omiccioli, Pace,  Parisi, Perilli, Piciotti, Picone, Rotella, Sadun, Sanfilippo, Scordia, Spoltore, Tadini, Trotti, Vedova, Virduzzo, Zancanaro,  Dalý, Ernst, Kandinskij, Klee, Matisse Mir˛, Rousseau and the Architect Renzo Piano, authors of patterns and cartoons, clearly witness what kind of aesthetical requirements engaged the technical abilities of the atelier in the last forty years.

From some of the tapestries manufactured in Asti, about thirty, are permanently exhibited in the "Gallery of the Tapestries", situated on different adjacent and communicating rooms with the weaving workshop.
From the beginning of 2002, the
Ugo Scassa' "Gallery of the Tapestries"   has been transformed, from the Province of Asti, in the "Tapestries Scassa' Museum".
The visit to the Museum, kindly enriched also of some granted works in loan from collectors (the
Foundation "Savings Bank of Asti", the family Molinengo in Turin, Mrs. Luciana Finzi and  Mr. Francis Muzzi of Rome), it allows to admire an unique collection, to international level.
The
visitors can see how the "haute-lisse" , the primitive and most noble form of tapestry weaving, is carried out.
It involves a long and difficult proceeding in order to interpret and successfully merge, in a unique poetical expression, a millenary technique with the modern art style innovation.

Tapestries, in the workshop in Asti, are woven following the traditional technique handed down by the great Masters of the past and the methods used by the nuns in the Saxon convents during the Romanesque age, or by Nicolas Bataille in Paris in the fourteenth century, or, later by the great Manufacturers of Arras, Tournais, Bruxelles, or by the very keen Masters of the sixteenth-century Italian works of art, or by the Gobelins' "lissiers" in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Visitors are surprised to notice how this technique, intentionally kept unchanged for centuries, without modifying any part of the relevant tools and instruments, is so brightening  in meeting these new style inventions such as the tapestries of Cagli, Capogrossi, De Chirico, Ernst, Kandinskij, KIee, Mastroianni, Matisse, Mir˛, Piano, Spazzapan and Tadini.
It is really able to witness an aesthetical sensitivity quite different from the
past.
The Province in Asti, to assure that this secular technical  of weaving, reinvented in the workshop of Scassa, can have continuity in the future, to allow the transposition of the modern figurative art in the ancient fabric of "haute-lisse", has created a school of professional formation for tapestries' weavers.
In which, new levers of young apprentices, with the teaching of the actual weavers and the study of the
tapestry' art, they will be able, inheriting and continuing in the future years that great tradition that has origin from the Italian artists of sixteenth century, to create new occasions of job for them and of economic development for the territory.

 

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