The Caetani Centre in Vernon is raising money to expand its gallery, so that more works from the late artist Sveva Caetani can be displayed.
The centre has launched a sponsorship campaign with the hope of raising enough money to expand the heritage home of the famed Vernon artist from 800 square feet to approximately 2,000 square feet.
Sveva Caetani’s Recapitulation watercolour series contains 47 large paintings, and the goal is to be able to display all of them permanently. The expanded gallery would also include a more extensive archival storage and presentation space.
So far, more than 20 of the 47 works have been sponsored by local businesses, groups and individuals.
“Thanks to them, we are moving closer toward our goal of raising $65,000 plus in seed money, which will serve as the base for matching grants to expand the gallery,” said Susan Brandoli, the centre’s executive director.
The story of Sveva Caetani has been the subject of much attention both at home and internationally — particularly in her birthplace of Italy. Her father, Duke of Sermoneta Leone Caetani, travelled with his partner Ofelia and Sveva to Vernon in 1921. They lived a life of wealth and luxury until their fortunes were spoiled by the economic crash of 1929.
Following Leone’s death in 1935, Ofelia and Sveva went into self-imposed exile, rarely leaving the house that is now home to the Caetani gallery. Sveva was not allowed to pursue her love of art in those days.
It wasn’t until her mother’s death in 1960 that Sveva started painting again. She taught at St. James Elementary and Charles Bloom Secondary, and around this time began work on her Recapitulation series.
Sveva donated the complete series of paintings to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in the 1980s. After more than 30 years since the first painting made its way to Edmonton, the Recapitulation series has returned to Vernon permanently.
The sponsorship package includes a five-year patronage, tax receipt and recognition via a permanent plaque on the gallery building.
In the past year, the centre exhibited the first 17 paintings in the series as part of its guided and self-guided tours, attracting wide interest since the museum in Caetani’s former home reopened to the public last summer.
“More than 900 people have visited the centre, with many wanting to learn more about Sveva’s incredible story of loss, isolation, and emergence as a teacher and prolific artist,” said Brandoli.
“We have plans to restart our tours in mid-April, and we will be exchanging the smaller paintings in our series for the larger ones, some of which are multi-panelled and take up an entire wall of space,” she added.
For more infrmation, visit caetani.org or call the Caetani office at 250-275-1525.