July 2, 2014 – January 6, 2015
Within the scope of Udine 1914- 2018 STORIE IN CORSO (Stories in Progress), a project initiated by the City Council to mark the the centenary of the First World World War, the Musei Civici of Udine, organized an exhibition on the final years of the Belle Époque, entitled Gli Ultimi Sogni. Udine 1900 - 1914 (The Last Dreams: Udine 1900 - 1914), which was held at the Gallerie del Progetto from 3 July 2014 to 6 January 2015.
Curated by Silvia Bianco with the collaboration of Loris Milocco, Elvira Pucci and Monica Sbrugnera, the exhibition brought together materials from various collections within the City’s Museums, namely the Fototeca (photo library) Gallerie del Progetto, Casa Cavazzini and the Galleria dei Disegni e delle Stampe (drawings and prints), as well as resources on loan from the city’s public library, Biblioteca Civica "V. Joppi", and from the Archivio dell’Edilizia Privata (archive of privately owned buildings) lent by private collectors.
The photographs realized by the Malignani, Pignat, and Brisighelli studios captured the faces, vibrant atmosphere, and bright lights of the Belle Epoque; the drawings produced by D'Aronco, Berlam, and Gilberti exemplified the Liberty and Secessionist architecture that characterized the city during the time; the works realized by Antonio Gasparini, Mario Ceconi di Montececon, Giacomo Antonio Bornancin and Pici revealed the artistic tastes of the day, while the furniture produced by Calligaris, Sello and Brusconi bore witness to the skill and craftsmanship of the city’s artisans.
The introduction of electricity, the construction of new public buildings, of middleclass residences and workmen’s houses; the art shows and exhibitions, cinema and fashion - all testify to the positive atmosphere and joie de vivre that prevailed in Udine during the years of the Belle Époque, to the hopes and dreams of the population, a people who aspired to better, more successful lives and who dreamed of Udine becoming a ‘great’ city. When the new century dawned, Udine was a growing city, a city on the rise, industrious and confident in the future and the new opportunities sweeping through the area.
The building project that most defined the era was the new municipal building, an undertaking that was to occupy its architect, Raimondo D'Aronco, and his client, the City Council, for over thirty years.
The most symbolic event to take place in the city during the early twentieth century was the l’Esposizione Regionale (Regional Exhibition) held from August to September 1903, which was visited, among other important figures, by King Vittorio Emanuele III and Queen Elena. It presented an opportunity to celebrate progress and modernity by showcasing the work of artists, architects, artisans and industries from across the region Many professional figures contributed, among them D'Aronco, who presented an innovative design for the pavilions. It was a truly important event and virtually the entire city was involved.