The Foundation Guido ed Ettore De Fornaris was set up in Turin in 1982 in accordance with the will of the patron of the arts and collector Ettore De Fornaris. Later that year it received legal recognition from Regione Piemonte. Since then its work in the field of art has involved many initiatives: purchasing nineteenth- and twentieth-century and contemporary works, organising exhibitions of its own collection, putting on programmes of meetings, publishing catalogues, and carrying out studies and research.

In the world of Italian art foundations, the De Fornaris is a rare example of one that works in close contact with a museum, GAM -Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Torino, with the specific purpose of expanding its collections.
The Foundation owns more than a thousand paintings, sculptures, engravings, drawings and photographs. Further to an agreement with the City of Turin, these works are now kept and exhibited at GAM.

The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, accompanied by an advisory committee that has the task of selecting the works to be purchased.

THE FOUNDER Ettore De Fornaris

Relatively little is known about Ettore De Fornaris, an unassuming, reserved man. He was born in Turin in 1898 into a wealthy family, and although he graduated in Law, he chose to work mainly in the world of art. And indeed he devoted himself to art personally, creating paintings, drawings and engravings, which he exhibited in a number of exhibitions. In as early as 1954 he started creating a collection of his own. Among others, this included works by Fontanesi, Delleani, Casorati, Morandi, Rosai, Gemito and various Italian and foreign engravers.

In the same year he also wrote the first draft of his will, in which he stated his desire to make use of his assets taking inspiration from art, which he referred to as the “ideal of my life, pursued with the utmost fervour of spirit”: this was the first time he had suggested the creation of a foundation, which was later to be named after him and his father Guido.
De Fornaris died in Turin in 1978.


The Foundation is inspired by the wishes expressed by Ettore De Fornaris in his will: first and foremost, that of striving for the “artistic education of the community” through the love and study of art.

To achieve this, the income from his assets was to be used to “endow the Gallery of Modern Art in Turin with new works of the highest quality”. The criteria to be respected, to the letter, were “the true pictorial dignity and value” of the works and their display and permanent conservation in the Gallery. As part of its mission, the Foundation also has the task of promoting studies, conferences and exhibitions, and instituting awards.

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