Nerina Cocchi Zecchini 

Nerina Cocchi Zecchini with one of her framed collages in Rome, Italy.


The package of collages about to be sent to the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction

Sat, Jun 5, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Dear Director,

We inherited an interesting and wonderful collages collection from NERINA COCCHI ZECCHINI.

Tailor and artist of the 20th century (Bologna 1903 – Perugia 1999), Nerina began to create her collages works as a sexagenarian and her first success as an artist came when, over eighty, she was invited by Derna Querèl  to exhibit in the famous Feluca Gallery of Rome in via Frattina, in 1987.  She received a lot of favourable criticisms by different newspapers and TV, and sold numerous collages. After two years, in  1989, she obtained the same success of public and media in the Galleria d’Arte d’Azeglio  in the old center of her native town Bologna, and even at age of ninety-one, i.e. in 1994, she attended with some works in a Survey Exhibition of Modern Art, “Rassegna d’Arte Contemporanea” in Umbria.

The collages of Nerina Cocchi-Zecchini represent her sensibility to colours, the transposition of childhood’s tale elements on a figurative level with a naïve taste free from any model, the pleasure of a joke, so unexpected for someone her age. The fascination with newspaper fragments exploded in her fingers with astonishing results.

We would like very much to offer some (even many, if not all) of her works to your Museum of Collage, because it’s our believe that it could preserve the works, while enriching your collection

Some unprofessional reproductions of collages are attached.

We are ready to cooperate for the success of this proposal.

Waiting for your answer, sincerely yours,

Janina Hauser

Sat, Jun 5, 2010 at 12:33 PM

Dear Janina,
We would be most happy to receive the donation of these works of Nerina Cocchi-Zecchini. If you decide to contribute a significant number of these works to the Museum we will arrange an exhibition of the works and produce a color catalog as well as create a website in her honor so that the works may be available for view via the internet. Any additional information about the artist, her history, photographs of her and family (even from childhood) and any other documents, ephemera, stories, known associations, etc. that will help us develop an archive for Nerina would also be helpful.

Thank you so much for contacting me.
I look forward to hearing from you!

Cecil Touchon, Director
The International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction

Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:37 AM

Dear Cecil,

Thank you for your prompt positive reaction and we answer immediately to continue our dialogue. We are especially pleased to discover that the few elements that we provide you with, seem already satisfy your request for arranging an exhibition, catalog, and so on!? In any case we take the opportunity of this email to send you some other (unprofessional) photos.

Many Nerina’s works are spread in different European private homes, including ours. We would like to preserve as a unique entity the donation of all the remaining works that Nerina left us, some hundred, as we wrote.

We imagine to carry yourself the heavy boxing bag to the final destination, and we would like to have some indication about where it will be.

Meanwhile we are charged with the preparation of the additional information and materials for a possible archive.

Sincerely yours,


Sun, Jun 6, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Hello again Janina!
Those additional works that you sent are very interesting. I have a number of works by contemporary collage artists working along a similar track in relation to the ideas and construction methods of the works of Nerina. There is also something of a relationship to a well known American collage artist by the name of Romare Bearden.

I am not sure if you understand the nature of the Collage Museum. I am the founding director of the museum and basically it’s only employee – an unpaid volunteer! I am, myself a practicing artist ( started the Collage Museum in 1998 primarily as an online museum of contemporary collage art with the idea of inviting artists to participate by contributing works to the museum’s collection which I then document and place the images of the works on the website with contact information for the artists. As the collection has grown, I mount exhibitions of works in the collection around trends I see happening in the works that artists send or I shape exhibitions around a theme and invite artists to contribute works for the exhibit which then become part of the collection. All of these exhibitions are held in other locations such as other art museums, university galleries and contemporary art centers because the museum, so far, is primarily an archive of works that are kept in storage and brought out only for exhibitions. The materials in collage art is delicate and sensitive to light so everything is kept in the dark to preserve it for the long term. Otherwise the works are always accessible on the website or through our catalogs. These can be seen at

The idea of the museum is to create a collection that is gathered together like a scientific museum that collects rocks or insects or perhaps like an anthropological museum. It is a cultural record of contemporary art that is unique, in that it is not based on artists being famous or based on the collections of wealthy collectors like most art museums are. It is an artist oriented museum developed around living connections to artists who work in this genre. These sort of artists are interesting in that most of them are not particularly interested in being professional artists although many are. So most are ‘undiscovered’.

But my idea is to penetrate into that underground world of many thousands of relatively isolated artists who find a common connection through collage/assemblage art and to invite them to contribute works for this archive being held for a future physical museum.

First a collection is developed, and then later a place to keep it and exhibit it. So the museum is now to the point that several hundred works are coming into the collection every year and the collection contains around 10,000 works all kept in storage and used for exhibitions. The current state of things is to begin designing traveling exhibitions of the works and to develop a plan for a work of architecture that suits and reflects the nature of the collection. So it is a long range project but is now to the point that it is time to figure out how to create the physical structure for the museum. I like to say that I think in Museum Time which is over decades and centuries rather than months and years.

In this project there is not only the collage museum but also the fluxmuseum at which is also a related museum that I founded to document certain contemporary artists who also work in collage and assemblage but also poetry and conceptual art. Also there is a building collection of 20th century snapshot photography currently containing several thousand photographs.

All of this is to say that, while the museum is very dynamic with lots of activity, I don’t want you to be disappointed to find that there is not yet a big fancy museum building with many employees like a typical well established museum. This museum is still a baby but then so were all museums when they first started. I just wanted to make sure that you understand this. The advantage is, that the museum is completely focused on the artists involved and attempts to work toward the benefit of all artists working in this genre in an inclusive and open way. I do not turn away work from any artists who wished to contribute to the collection if their work is collage or assemblage or otherwise fits into the long term mission of the museum. The intention is to nurture and promote this community. I believe Nerina’s work fits perfectly into this collection and would be an important addition.

I hope to continue our conversation.

Cecil Touchon, Director
The International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction

Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 4:37 AM

Dear  Cecil,

Thank you for your personal introduction which corresponds in an incredible way to our expectation. Let us express our congratulations for the far-seeing of your initiative and we wish you the best success for your project.  We had already taken the opportunity through the network to admire and appreciate your artistic works.

The decision to participate in your enterprise is already taken! Before providing you with Nerina’s collages we need take better pictures of each work and to arrange their presentation with light paper-frame, in order to protect them. In addition we need to spend some time in preparing all information  suitable to introduce the artist.

Let us start this adventure!

Janina (Nerina’s daughter in law)

Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Dear  Cecil,

as we announced at the 7th of June, we have completed the preparation work and, with some emotion, we are ready to send you:

–         a series of 57 collages in A4 format obtained by splitting the pages of a voluminous technical document on Telecommunications which Nerina utilized in the years 1983-1985;

–         some pages of explanation about the aforementioned series;

–         all the remaining 115 collages with the relative presumable year (between 1970 and 1993);

–         a short Nerina’s live story;

–         some photos.

We expect from you the address where we have to send this big-sized parcel.

Looking forward to hearing from you, we wish you all the best,

Janina and Oriano Zecchini, Nerina’s son

Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 3:42 PM

Hello Janina and Oriano!
That sounds exciting. I will be watching for your package.

Is Oriano the name of the constellation as in English Orion? If so, that is my middle name: Orion.

Cecil Touchon

Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 1:44 PM

Dear Cecil,

the package  was sent this morning from Agello’s post office: 17350 g. of collage!!! And you may see the package on the table before departure. We expect that it will be in Fort Worth in less than 10 days. We are anxious to know the moment when it will be in your hands.

As far as Orion is concerned we are very pleased that Orion and Oriano have an evident connection! We know the constellation but it has nothing to do with Oriano: this name was proposed to Oriano’s parents by an aunt which was a fan of the Italian writer Alfredo Oriani. Oriano is not a very common name in Italy, but even not so rare; there was also a Bishop Oriano in Puglia in the period 1022-1028.

Looking forward to hearing good news from you,

Janina and Oriano