"Colazione Letteraria" at the Italian Academy of Art (New York) on April 8, 2011
An insatiable passion possesses me, which even today I cannot and would not stop … I never grow tired of books. Perhaps I have more than necessary ... as they give us so many benefits, they don’t need any food or drink and they are satisfied with cast-off clothing and a place to lay their head”.
(Francesco Petrarca, 14th century)
The Libreria Antiquaria Pregliasco is one of the top addresses for rare and valuable books, prints and manuscripts. It was established by Lorenzo Pregliasco in Turin in 1911 when, following an innate passion for books, he acquired a dusty second-hand bookshop near Piazza Vittorio Veneto. When he published his first catalogue in 1921, personalities such as Benedetto Croce, Piero Gobetti and Luigi Einaudi belonged to his regular customers. Since then the Libreria Antiquaria Pregliasco has printed 300 publications, numerous lists and three series of famous catalogues highlighting the importance of the book and the author in the cultural context of the period, among them: Dante e il suo tempo (1965), Risorgimento Italiano (1978) and L'idea del teatro (2005).
Arturo Pregliasco assisted his father Lorenzo since the early Fifties. He gave the company a more international scope and, in 1961, he moved the bookshop to the present premises opposite the Fine Arts Academy of Turin. His son Umberto, who served as ALAI president from 2004 to 2010, found it perfectly natural to continue the activity under the banner of the tradition, together with an inevitable cultural and technological renewal. Umberto Pregliasco has published a richly illustrated history of his company titled Living With - And From - Books. A Century of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books of Literature, Fine Arts, Science and First Editions which will also be presented in several parts on the ILAB website within the upcoming weeks.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Libreria Antiquaria Pregliasco and of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, the Italian Academy of Art will honour these events with a "Colazione Letteraria" on April 8, celebrating as well the Italian culture and the Piemontese tradition with a lecture about Galileo Galilei by David Freedberg, Professor of Art History at Columbia University. Andrew Robison, Curator of The National Gallery of Washington, will speak about Canaletto, while Umberto Pregliasco recounts one century of rare book trade in Italy.
The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America was created in 1991 on the basis of a charter signed by the President of the Republic of Italy and the President of Columbia University. Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy, is Honorary President of the Academy, Lee C. Bollinger serves as its president and David Freedberg as its director. The Academy is located in New York City at 1161 Amsterdam Avenue, between 116th and 118th Streets; the doorway inscription reads "Casa Italiana”. The event is sponsored by Lavazza and Franco Martinetti.