FOUNDATION
FOUNDATION
FOUNDATION

The VAF Foundation (VAF Stiftung) is the name for a uniquely committed initiative in the field of contemporary visual arts, which is registered with the foundation supervisory authority in Frankfurt am Main. It is particularly noteworthy that this foundation is a German-based organisation whose programme concentrates solely on the interests and themes of Italian art. The VAF Foundation’s Board of Trustees sees its task as being to develop and collect the excellent achievements and works of Italian artists in all fields of modernism, including the most modern creative works, and to publicise them. In this context, the aspect of cultural exchange and artistic dialogue between Italy and Germany – and German-speaking countries – is an important element within the Foundation’s ambitious work.

The VAF Foundation supports museums in Germany and Italy with loans from extensive, high-quality, and constantly growing collection of Italian art of the 20th and 21st centuries. In addition, the Foundation designs and publishes scholarly art studies catalogues for special exhibitions of Italian modernism in bilingual, either Italian-German or Italian-English editions. Every two years it honours outstanding young Italian artists with a lavishly endowed prize, the Premio, the award of which is always accompanied by an exhibition that is always displayed to an interested public both in Germany and in Italy. The Foundation’s programme also includes collaborative projects with various partners for the staging of exhibitions with Italian themes, as well as offering funding that benefits Italian artists directly.

Together with the management and the Mart team, the VAF Foundation now curates its own exhibition projects and develops and publishes catalogues for them. Special Foundation-related exhibitions at Mart were: “A Century of Italian Art – The Collector’s Eye – Works from the VAF Foundation” in 2005, and “Percorsi riscoperti dell’arte italiana – VAF Foundation 1947 – 2010” (Rediscovered Routes in Italian Art), in 2011. This exhibition, in particular, built on the Foundation’s endeavours to seek and discover artistic activities that, despite their highly innovative potential, were sidelined and forgotten by the mainstream of art-historical developments.

Go to Mart website
MART
MART
MART

The foundation has maintained the first and most important partnership since its creation with Mart, the Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto.
This close partnership is a community of interests (as well as being a contractually regulated connection), the most important aspect of which is that the Foundation has given a large part of its collection into the care of Mart and its management. These are not only the most brilliant works of classical modernism and creations of the avant-garde after 1945, but also include high-profile examples of less well-known works. The renowned Italian museum benefits from the provision of these holdings and the Foundation knows that its art holdings are in the best of professional care. The steadily growing collection is managed by a research associate who has been specially delegated to the Foundation, Dr. Daniela Ferrari, who looks after the works and inventories them on a continuous basis. However, the works of the VAF collection are not only superbly stored in the Mart, they are also often displayed to the public in permanent and special exhibitions at the museum or loaned in large numbers to other museums around the world for temporary exhibitions.

PARTNERSHIPS
PARTNERSHIPS
PARTNERSHIPS

There are also partnerships with other German museums; these are arranged such that works from the collection are displayed in their galleries as permanent loans. Among these borrowers are well-known names such as: the Sprengelmuseum in Hanover, the Kunsthalle in Mannheim, the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen, the Lehmbruck- Museum in Duisburg and the Museum Glaskasten in Marl. In this context, the ZKM, the centre for art and media technology in Karlruhe, plays a privileged role connected to the Foundation, in which they are both a borrower and a partner in curating joint exhibition projects, e.g. the Premio.

Centre for Art and Media Technology in Karlsruhe (ZKM)
The ZKM is a borrower and partner in exhibition projects.

A project that the Foundation and the director of the ZKM, Peter Weibel, curated together was the show “Materialbild.- Material Picture – Immagine Materiale – Italia 1950 – 1965”, which contained exclusively works loaned from the VAF collection and which displayed an illuminating and defining overview of the origins, practices and developments in the artistic use of materials in Italian post-war art.

LA MISSION
LA MISSION
LA MISSION

and its work ethic


The Foundation’s spiritual and physical bedrock lies in a collection of Italian art. The basis of this collection consists of high-quality works that have been assembled by the Foundation’s creator Volker W. Feierabend over many years of intensive collecting activity. Feierabend, who in his original job was a commercial entrepreneur with mainly Italian contacts, developed over time into a passionate art lover, focusing exclusively on Italian art. He created the Foundation in 2000 with the intention of institutionally safeguarding the pieces that had been collected up to that point and of creating a legally regulated guarantee for any officially-sanctioned further work on the preservation, expansion and maintenance of the collection.

CREDO
CREDO
CREDO

On the one hand, this is about continuing the never-ending work of persuading people to become aware of the diverse, often unknown, facets of contemporary Italian art. On the other, it is about the productive continuation of the distributive, curatorial, and interpretative work, as well as dealing with the standard-setting art-historical concerns that are dictated by the high quality of the collection.

CREDO

The planning and decision-making bodies

The Management Board

From the beginning of the foundation Dr. Klaus Wolbert had, until his death in 2020, the role of “authorized representative” board member, in which role he also represented the Foundation both judicially and extrajudicially. He was formerly director of the Mathildenhöhe Institute in Darmstadt until his retirement and was, at the same time, cultural advisor to the city of Darmstadt.

Thorsten A. Feierabend joined the Board as his successor in 2020 and has since represented the Foundation. He is entrusted with the handling of all programme items specified by the statutes and with all The Foundation’s business and administrative matters. In particular, he is responsible for the practical implementation and execution of the decisions of the Board of Trustees, which are set out in detailed minutes of the regular working meetings.

The Board of Trustees

The representatives who form the Foundation’s Board of Trustees are selected very carefully with regard to their special artistic and curatorial skills. The Board of Trustees, which is solely responsible for making decisions on all the Foundation’s substantive, business, personal and other activities, is chaired by the founder, Volker W. Feierabend. In this he is supported by the jointly responsible members of the Board of Trustees.

Volker W. Feierabend

Chairman and creator of the Foundation

Denis Viva