Cisitalia 202 Spyder Mille Miglia

December 13, 2018 - March 31, 2019
Cisitalia 202 Spyder Mille Miglia, 1948, photo by Jacobo Mingorance.
Cisitalia 202 Spyder Mille Miglia, 1948, photo by Jacobo Mingorance.

The Cisitalia 202 Spyder Mille Miglia, an influential Italian sports car, was on view at Magazzino Italian Art from December 13, 2018 through March 31, 2019. The model on display was selected for its aesthetic excellence and technical innovation that transformed postwar automobile design. The model remains the best example of an automobile coachwork (body) conceived in a single shell: the doors appear to be sketched onto the surface, the windshield and grill do not interrupt the body’s continuity, smooth edges create a continuous flow of the sculptured body.

Alongside the current exhibition, Arte Povera, Magazzino was pleased to showcase this unique opportunity to highlight the Italian genius in both art and design.

The aim of this presentation was to investigate the blurring boundaries between auto design and art in the Italian car industry since the mid 1940s. The use of industrial materials by Arte Povera artists and the relevance of the car industry in Turin Italy, home of FIAT, during the second half of the 20th century represents the perfect context to highlight the finest craftsmanship and Italian postwar design and the impact it had on the artists of that generation.

The Cisitalia 202 Series was first designed in 1947 and soon became known as a rolling sculpture. The talented designer Giovanni Savonuzzi drew up a preliminary sketches of the car based around his in-depth knowledge of aerodynamics that closely resembled the finished work. It was thanks to such a captivating design that the Museum of Modern Art in New York purchased a Cisitalia 202 for their permanent collection in 1972. Emilio Ambasz, the curator of Design at MoMA in the 1970s, wrote: "Cisitalia 202 is an aesthetic and technical achievement that changed the direction of post-war automobile design."

In the short lifetime of the Cisitalia car company,1946 -1952, less than 300 cars were produced, however, the legacy and influence that Cisitalia 202 had on the world of design is beyond calculation.

In 1947 Tazio Nuvolari led a legendary race driving a Cisitalia 202 SMM against an Alfa Romeo that was equipped with an engine three-times larger. From then on all subsequent competitions involving Spyders were known as 202 SMM Nuvolari.

In 1948 to highlight the significance of the Cisitalia 202, Stabilimenti Farina produced a limited series of 20 Nuvolari Spyders coachworks of which only 9 still exist in the world.

The Spyder Mille Miglia Nuvolari displayed at Magazzino was specially ordered from the Cisitalia car company by the Italian dignitary, Count San Severino in 1948. After enjoying the car for a number of years, it was then sold to an attorney in Rome. Later, Peter Kraus, of the world-renowned Rosso Bianco Collection, acquired the car and displayed it prominently for decades. It then went to auction and was purchased by famed postwar racing collector Bruce Rudin of Delaware and finally to its current owner.

The Cisitalia 202 on view at Magazzino was generously on loan from The Cultivated Collector.