Fremantle Foundation
About Fremantle Foundation


FFAST Fondazione Fremantle per Artisti Stranieri in Toscana -- or in English – The Fremantle Foundation for Foreign Artists in Tuscany) grew out of an idea of creating in or near Florence, a Collection/Museum of work from the early 20th century onwards, by foreign artists who at some point were inspired by Tuscany, and worked here.

In that sense FFAST is a historical collection as well as an art collection, dedicated principally to the artists involved. It has actual work by, or displays of  work, not only by painters and sculptors, but also by writers (for example, Vernon Lee, Harold Acton, Bernard Berenson, Muriel Spark, Magda Nabb), by composers (Herbert Handt, Sting), film-makers (many films have been made in Tuscany by foreigners), and  Garden designers (Cecil Pinsent, Penelope Hobhouse, Katie Campbell), etc.

Because the majority of the artists in the FFASTCollection are American and British, FFAST is a U.S. non-profit (501 (c)(3)) company incorporated in the state of South Carolina. At the moment the Museum has on exhibit more than 350 works of art  by more than 150 artists - plus a library of some 400 books by foreigners. These works have been mostly lent or given to the Company and it’s Collection by Richard Fremantle – the Museum’s founder – by artists involved, and by Friends of the Museum. We also display some 50-plus print-outs from the internet about the life and work of famous foreign figures who have worked in Tuscany but who's work is either minimal or totally lacking in the Collection - Botero, Henry Moore, Zubin Mehta, David Hockney, Niki de Sainte Phalle, et al.

Such a Collection of contemporary and recent work by foreigners – many unknown to the general public – who have worked in Tuscany, is totally lacking in Florence, and even in Italy. The idea is to make this small Museum and Collection -- within the next few years – into a major museum of international stature.

Tuscany has always been at the heart of European culture. So behind this idea is also another: to reflect the enduring shape of European civilization. This began in the 8th century BC in the stone hill-towns of the Etruscans - including the once-major Etruscan city where the Museum is located, Fiesole. Etruscan city-culture was then spread by their successors, the Ancient Romans, over most of Europe, was  renewed by Florentines in the Renaissance, and continues  to this day, particularly in design, manufacture, and in agriculture.

Creative people from all over the planet have been attracted to Tuscany for many centuries.

In 2006, through the good offices of Alexa Mason, Assistant Director of The Harvard University Institute for Renaissance Studies at Villa I Tatti, Richard Fremantle met Saverio Lastrucci, who runs the gardens, grounds, and buildings at Villa Bosco di Fontelucente (Villa Peyron) in the same street as Villa I Tatti, and just outside Fiesole. This is owned as part of the Fondazione Parchi Monumentali Bardini e Peyron, by the important Florentine Savings bank, Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze. The beautiful gardens at Villa Peyron were already open to the public, and Lastrucci was organizing musical evenings in them. To compliment these he made available to Fremantle various rooms plus a long corridor, on the first floor of the old stone farmhouse, the Casa Colonica, to put on a temporary exhibition of sculpture and painting. This ex-agricultural structure near to the elegant Villa Peyron, is of 2 stories at it’s entrance on the West, and of 4 plus terrace and courtyard, on the East.

In March of 2007, Fremantle signed with the President of the Fondazione Peyron, Michele Gremigni, an agreement for the temporary use of the spaces involved. In 2008, Gremigni and Fremantle agreed to sign a lease for two years for the spaces already involved, plus two other large rooms, with the possibility of further extensions later.

We intend to make the FFAST Collection and the Casa Colonica at Villa Peyron into a center for artists, for visiting artist programs, for exhibitions – particularly of the work of foreign artists who currently work in Tuscany – for available studio space, lectures on contemporary art, films, a book and art shop, for visits to artists’ studios in Tuscany, for music, membership, and related activities. We hope also to eventually provide temporary facilities for British and American art schools.

FFAST will periodically send part of it’s Collection on tour in the US and Britain.

Richard Fremantle is a writer, art historian, lecturer, and collector of contemporary art, who grew up in New York, and was trained at Columbia University. His special interest is the early Florentine Renaissance, and in particular, the painter Masaccio (1401-1428). He also did extensive research in the Florentine Archives, and studied at the Courtauld Institute of Art, in London. For many years he was Director of the University of Delaware's Spring Semester Program in Siena.

Fremantle has published many articles on the Renaissance period in Florence, as well as a number of books:

Masaccio, published in both English and Italian, by Octavo, Florence, Italy.
God and Money, also published in Italian, as, Dio e Denaro, by Olschki Editore, Florence, Italy.
Florentine Painting in the Uffizi, published by Olschki Editore, Florence, Italy.
Florentine Gothic Painters, the standard catalogue to Florentine painters and their work, between Giotto in the early 1300's and Masaccio in the early 1400's, published by Secker and Warburg, London.
Marìa Gamundì, Catalogue of the artist's work, published by the artist, Monteggiore, Italy.

Richard Fremantle has also written guides to New York, San Francisco (with Rosanna Cirigliano), Seattle, and Chicago. These are available in many languages (see Amazon Books) published by Bonechi Editore, Florence, Italy.



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