Save Venice Inc.
American Philanthropy and Art Conservation in Italy, 1966-2021
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
In 1966, the most destructive flood in the history of Venice temporarily submerged the city and threatened its extraordinary art and architecture. Among the organizations that mobilized to protect this fragile heritage was Save Venice Inc. Founded in Boston and now headquartered in New York City, this nonprofit has become the largest and most active committee dedicated to preserving the artistic legacy of Venice.
Christopher Carlsmith tells the fascinating story of Save Venice Inc., from its origins to its fiftieth anniversary. It continues to provide an influential model for philanthropy in the cultural sector, raising substantial funds to conserve and restore paintings, sculptures, books, mosaics, and entire buildings at risk from human and environmental impacts. Employing extensive archival research, oral interviews, and newspaper accounts, Save Venice Inc. explores a range of topics, including leadership, conservation projects, fundraising, and educational outreach. Using a range of methodologies from cultural history and art history, Carlsmith traces the achievements and challenges faced by this and other historic preservation organizations and by this unique city on the sea.
“Save Venice Inc. chronicles the fascinating history of this important nonprofit from the 1960s to the present, with particular attention to the social and political twists and reconciliations between the various interest groups. This is a deeply researched, engaging story that holds the reader’s attention.”—Thomas D. Visser, professor and director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Vermont
“A lucid, balanced, well-researched, and vivid account of the growth and operations of Save Venice Inc., an organization that has made a major contribution to preserving the art and architecture of one of the world’s most compelling and endangered cities.”—Johanna D. Heinrichs, assistant professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Kentucky