This is another reason why the Fondazione Carraro has asked for his collection to remain united, not to be dispersed and diluted in the great rooms of Ca’ Pesaro, so as to uphold the sense of familiarity, almost of affection and confidence that the house ensured the objects, united patiently over years and years of dedicated collecting. The passage to the museum, from the private dimension to the public one, would otherwise be too traumatic for them. What is more, by maintaining the dialogue within the collection it is mantained, at least in part, the network of relationships that the collector had identified as an acquisition criterion.
As well as the musical and literary cultural sphere that he frequented assiduously ever since his years in Rome from the 1950s to the 1970s, Francesco also exercised the tireless practice of the gaze: an omnivorous, tireless, insatiable gaze accompanied by erudite interpretations, directed everywhere – whether at churches, museums, private homes, palaces, archaeological sites, antiques shops and collections – in Italy, Europe and America, which he visited regularly. With his sharp, insistent and repeated gaze he was always ready, not once, but a thousand times, to see and re-examine places, objects, sites, artworks, sculptures and paintings, especially antique ones, of which he never tired. He was always searching: both for discovery and confirmation, as well as for simple recognition in the pleasure of viewing a masterpiece, but also some marginal and intriguing rarity.
He knew European and American museums room by room, painting by painting, work by work and, when he was forced to travel less in his old age, he blindly reminisced over the places he frequented incessantly in an infinite reverberation of memories, as in Giulio Camillo’s memory theatres. This same meticulous, sharp and tireless gaze, this same enthusiasm, were dedicated to an even greater extent – astonishingly – to his activity as a collector and dealer. All the auctions, antiquarians, dealers, courtiers, merchants and galleries owners, in short the entire art establishment, were scoured thoroughly and in depth as regards his areas of interest.
Daily, using the telephone as his only technological aid, he wove his networks of national and international relationships. With his trusted driver Antonello and his secretary-cum-factotum Antonietta, he arrived everywhere and placed no limits of any kind on his collecting fury. With a composite and fragmented language all of his own, made up of Italian, French, German, English and Paduan dialect all mixed together, he made himself understood by everyone.