Allied Topaz. A life for art

Palazzo Sant’Elia, Palermo

11 November 2016 – 11 January 2017

“I don’t know why my mother stopped painting. She probably didn’t have enough faith in her work. Like so many women, she carried within her the atavistic memory of institutional distrust. » Dacia Maraini

Eclectic, charming, nonconformist noblewoman from Palermo, a step ahead of her time,  Topazia Alliata di Salaparuta  has always been a free spirit. Painter, gallery owner, curator, talent scout with a strong and confident taste, but also a sporty and elegant woman with extraordinary eyes, Topazia covered an entire century, the twentieth century, traveling a lot, alone and with her husband Fosco Maraini, from whom she three daughters, Dacia, Yuki and Toni. Although linked to the European nobility, curator of international exhibitions, she has always remained fascinated by Sicily, until her death, which occurred a year ago, at the age of 102.

An exhibition in  Palermo  – the first retrospective dedicated to her, commissioned by her daughters  Dacia and Toni Maraini  and by her niece  Gioia Manili  – tells her through photographs, drawings, letters and some of her most interesting canvases, alongside works by her friends and colleagues : from Guttuso to Pupino Samonà.

Allied Topaz. A life for art  is curated by the art critic  Anna Maria Ruta , a great expert on the 20th century and scholar of Futurism, who six years ago published the first biography of the artist and gallery owner for Kalòs publisher. Organized by the Sant’Elia Foundation in collaboration with the Lo Stato dell’Arte association, the exhibition is sponsored by the Municipality of Palermo.

The exhibition will be a  historical-artistic excursus  on the creativity of the Alliata family, on the masters – Pippo Rizzo, Archimede Campini, Ettore De Maria Bergler, Mario Mirabella; on Academy colleagues – Renato Guttuso, Nino Franchina, Ezio Buscio, Piera Lombardo, Lia Pasqualino Noto, Giovanni Rosone; on the artists hosted by Topazia and launched by the Trastevere Gallery.

At Palazzo Sant’Elia, the lens of the Ruta focuses on the figure of the nonconformist noble aristocrat, raised in a family of artists (the aunts Felicita and Amalia Alliata, but also Quintino of Naples); she retraces the human story, relationships, friendships, artistic ability. The story is punctuated by eight thematic sections which, starting from the history of the Alliata family, touch on the years in which she attended the Academy of Fine Arts, the masters, her young colleagues; her relationship and marriage with the ethnologist and photographer Fosco Maraini, the transfer to Japan during the Second World War and the painful interlude experienced by the whole family in a concentration camp in the land of the rising sun; the return to Sicily and the adventure as an entrepreneur at the helm of Vini Corvo; the 50s, intellectuals and artist friends; the birth of the art gallery in Trastevere and relations with international artists and collectors. Each of the sections houses works belonging to the heirs of Topazia Alliata or on loan from institutions and private collectors


Vernissage: 11 November, 6.00 pm

Tuesday – Friday 9.30 – 18.30

Saturday – Sunday 10.00 – 13.00 and 16.00 – 20.00

*Last admission is allowed until half an hour before closing time*


Saturday 24 December : Closing at 18.00.

Sunday 25 and Monday 26 December : Closed.

Saturday 31 December : Closing at 16.00.

Tickets €4.00 reduced €3.00

Info:  +39 0916162520  –