In 1937, renowned author Curzio Malaparte—born as Kurt Erich Suckert in 1898—purchased a plot of land overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. There, he supervised the construction of Casa Malaparte, his residence and architectural brainchild, to which he referred affectionately as “casa come me” (house like me). Designed in its entirety by Malaparte, from floor plan to furniture, the house blends classical and modernist influences, united under one roof with inimitable poetic drama.
From the curving white windbreak that arcs across its roof terrace to its deliberately secluded location atop a jutting promontory, Casa Malaparte embodies its maker’s renegade streak. Notorious for vacillating between religious and political ideological extremes, Malaparte was an active participant in the avant-garde artistic and literary circles of his time. After his death in 1957, the house lives on as an architectural masterwork and an inspirational platform for contemporary artists and designers.
For this special exhibition, Tommaso Rositani Suckert, Malaparte’s youngest descendant, has produced editions of the key pieces of furniture that grace the house to this day: a table, a bench, and a console. Manufactured in Italy, each piece comprises a simple, elegant solid walnut slab with supports in different materials. For the table, this is a pair of columns carved from solid pine in smooth, winding diagonal curves that accentuate the natural patterns of the wood grain; for the bench, the legs are composed of column capitals cut from Carrara marble; and for the console, they are made of tuff stone capitals. Each juxtaposes familiar motifs from the rich classical past of Malaparte’s native Italy with minimalistic modern forms.
In this transportive presentation, the Davies Street gallery will be adapted to resemble Casa Malaparte’s main room, a stone-floored salon with ocean vistas that famously features in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt. Also on view will be a suite of Baroque-styled porcelain pieces formerly owned by Malaparte. These works, which include floral-studded mirrors and candelabras as well as freestanding sculptures, depict figures and allegorical scenes from classical mythology. Combining Malaparte’s captivating designs with this personal effects, the exhibition will pay homage to the life and spirit of one of the most complex and mysterious figures of the Italian avant-garde.