The Grazia Museum is a historical museum which documents the origins and developments of the Grazia Company through samples of production since 1800 and majolica fragments dating back to the 1500s. It is housed within the walls of the Grazia factory which is itself a working museum. Production still takes place in the factory built in 1922 by Ubaldo Grazia and his associates and the furnishings have remained almost unaltered. Parts of the collection were originally collected and organized by Milziade Magnani, (1883-1951), in his position as administrative president of Anonima Combattente G. Grazia (1923-1930). In 2001, the collection was reorganized by the renowned ceramics expert, Giulio Busti and the display space was redesigned by architect Enrico Da Gai. The Grazia Museum is part of the Umbria network of museums.
The present collection is made up of nearly 700 works of art, divided into the following sections:
- Antique ceramics and fragments from Deruta dating from the 15th to 17th centuries. The pieces on display are rare and the fragments were discovered in old kiln dumps and are mounted on panels and displayed in the painting room and the museum.They are used for training purposes and as inspiration in the creation of new patterns.
- The Grazia factory production from 1800 to 1900 when the factory was located in Deruta's Center, which includes works of Giuseppe Grazia, Angelo Micheletti, Alpinolo Magnini and Ubaldo Grazia. These artists are credited with the revival of the artistic traditions of Deruta.
- The Grazia factory production by Ubaldo Grazia from 1900-1920, for study, iconographic research and technical purposes. Of particular interest are Grazia's experiments with lusterware.
- Documentation on the opening of the new Grazia factory in 1922, renamed “Ditta Grazia Giuseppe Deruta. Riproduzione Artistiche in Maiolica”.
- Grazia factory production from 1922-1990 displaying a range of popular forms and patterns by Grazia’s master painters.This section consists primarily of renaissance and 16th century reproductions of jars, pitchers, vases, jugs, goblets, table ware and pharmacy jars in traditional patterns of Ricco Deruta, Grotesque, Arabesco, Calligrafico and Punto Assisi. Grazia’s most significant master artists between 1922 and 1960 include: Ubaldo Grazia, Americo Lunghi (1884-1952), Feliciano Mariotti (1899-1981), Serafino Volpi (1897-1963), Francesco Mari (1906-1967), Antonio Barbetti (1908-1982), Luigi Vincioli (1909-1997) and Virgilio Spaccini (1916-1996).
- Ceramics produced by invited artists including Virgilio Retrosi (1926) and Giuseppe Sebesta (1965).
UBALDO GRAZIA AT BRITISH MUSEUM
Timothy Wilson, a well known researcher of Italian Renaissance ceramics and long term collaborator with the British Museum of London and the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford, asked the current owner to donate a piece of Ubaldo Grazia's decorative lusterware. The plate, a reproduction of a renaissance work of art, is now on exhibit at the London Museum next to an original from 1500 and has been included in the catalogue “Italian Renaissance Ceramics” published recently by the British Museum.
THE CATALOGUE of '29
The U. Grazia factory’s 1929 Catalogue documented the most popular shapes and designs produced for the elite American and British markets. The designs came primarily from the 1500-1600’s, including Ricco Deruta, Grottesche, Arabesco, Calligrafico and Orvietano. A highlight of the catalogue was “Moresco fogliame e oro blu”, which was a long lost luster technique rediscovered by Ubaldo Grazia (1887-1961). Although the web site contains only a few pages from the original 1929 Catalogue it can be seen in its entirety at the Grazia Museum. The catalogue, “Museo della Fabbrica di Maioliche Grazia di Deruta”, documents the cultural, artistic, and historical role the Grazia factory played in the evolution of Umbrian ceramics.
The book catalogs 427 ceramics found in the Grazia Museum that were produced by the Grazia factory between 1880 and 1960 and ceramic fragments found in kiln dumping grounds from 1500-1800. It focuses on specific master painters’ work, design production, glazing techniques, forms and shapes. Also studied was the company's early entry to international markets and the industrialization of production in 1900. Published in 2009, it was a collaboration of the Umbrian regional government and the Milanese publishing firm, Electa. The catalogue was edited by the renowned ceramic historians Giulio Busti and Franco Cocchi and the introduction is by Vittorio Fagone, a leading contemporary art critic and historian. Rosaria Catana wrote about Grazia’s production methods and compares them to other factories and Clarissa Sirci explains how popular culture altered traditional shapes over the years. Clara Menganna is credited with reviewing factory archives to document Grazia’s growth and production levels.