A hidden gem in Venice, five minutes walk from the Palazzo Grimaldi and roughly half way between Rialto and St Mark on a route tourists don’t follow, the Fondazione Querini Stampalia is easy to miss even when you are in the square in front (Campo S. Maria Formosa) due to its discrete entrance from a bridge across the rio.
Built in the 16th century as the family home of the Querini Stampalia Family and a place in which to display their extensive art collection which includes work by Bellini and Tiepoloo, the Foundation which is housed here is a cultural institution founded in 1869 by Conte Giovanni (Count John), the last descendant of the family. Italian architect Carlo Scarpa, famous for his bold but sensitive modern additions to many historic buildings across Italy, designed additions, mainly at the lower floors, to create a cultural complex which connects into the historic home of the Querini Stampalia family, displaying historic collections and supporting a variety of different activities and exhibitions. It also houses a loan collection from the Intesa Sanpaolo banking group.
For the Biennale, modern and contemporary art includes interventions and photographs by Roman Opatka in the historic rooms including the Boudoir and a major exhibition of the work of the German artist and stage designer Jorg Immendorff (1945-2007) who ws a member of the Neue Wilde group, while there is also an explanatory display on the Count and his library and modern art on display in Scarpa’s ground floor spaces at the level of the rio – perhaps just a little to close to the water level for comfort, given the floods in Venice this week.