The Commission at the head of the Società Ticinese di Belle Arti (Ticino Arts Society) suggested the creation of a cantonal art museum, recommending Lugano’s Santa Maria degli Angioli church as its base; however, the project was abandoned shortly after.
Antonio Caccia bequeathed to the City of Lugano a collection of art objects as well as Villa Malpensata, requesting that the latter became home to an art museum. With this aim, in 1904 the Fondazione Caccia was established.
The City of Lugano collection was presented for the first time at Villa Malpensata.
Villa Ciani became the new home of the Museo Civico di Belle Arti-Fondazione Caccia
The City of Lugano established a new department, the Dicastero Musei e Cultura, charged with the task of proposing and organising artistic and cultural festivals and events.
The radical restructuring of Villa Malpensata was finally completed for it to become the principal venue for the City’s art exhibitions.
The Museo Cantonale d’Arte was inaugurated, based in Via Canova’s Palazzo Reali. The institution immediately became part of the Swiss museums’ network, concentrating on the study and value of art in Ticino, as well as on the realisation of exhibitions of international significance.
The number of exhibitions at Villa Malpensata increased and the location was officially called “Museo d’Arte Moderna” and from 2008 “Museo d’Arte”.
An agreement was signed between the Canton of Ticino and the City of Lugano in order to develop synergies between the Museo Cantonale d’Arte and the Polo culturale di Lugano, in particular in relation to the construction of the new LAC cultural centre.
Spazio -1 was opened, hosting an important group of works from the Giancarlo and Danna Olgiati collection. In addition to being shown to the public through temporary displays within Spazio -1, artworks from the Olgiati collection may be loaned for the Museo d’Arte’s and Museo Cantonale d’Arte’s exhibitions; they can also be used for exchanges with other museums for temporary exhibitions.
With the upcoming opening of the new Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana at the LAC, the Museo d’Arte’s activity at Villa Malpensata ceased.
The LAC’s Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana opens, born from the unification of the Museo Cantonale d’Arte and the City of Lugano’s Museo d’Arte.