A piece of one of the worlds most beloved monuments will soon arrive in Italy: the Fondazione Sorgente Group
has acquired at auction from Christies in New York a section of the helical staircase which connected the second and third levels of the Tour Eiffel. With this acquisition the Institute for Art and Culture enhances its collection by adding an object of historic design.
What better way to welcome the arrival of the Expo 2015? declares Valter Mainetti, Chairman of the Fondazione Sorgente Group our initiative creates the ideal bridge between Paris Exposition Universelle in 1889 and the Expo being organized in Milan. In fact, the Tour Eiffel was built in 1889 as the entrance for the historical edition of the Exposition. Moreover, the intention of the Exposition Universelle in Paris was to celebrate the centenary of the French Revolution.
Therefore we fly high with a monument which due to its nature alludes to the height and ascent towards progress.
The section of staircase will be exhibited beginning at years end in the Galleria Alberto Sordi, the splendid shopping complex acquired by Sorgente Group in 2009, located at Piazza Colonna in Rome and which is part of the David Sub-fund of the Donatello Fund. Should it still be safe for public use, we could think to restore its functionality declares Valter Mainetti and use it within the exhibition space at via del Tritone, which is today nearing completion.
The staircase, 4 meters and 49.5 centimeters high, has a diameter of 172.8 centimeters and dates back to 1889, just like the rest of the monument to which it is associated. It was replaced in 1980 due to safety issues, as well as to lighten the weight load of the entire tower. The staircase was divided into 24 sections each measuring between 8 feet 6 inches and 25 feet 6 inches and lowered to the ground using winches. One section has since been permanently displayed within the Tour Eiffel. Three sections were donated to prominent French museums, the Musée dOrsay, the Villette in Paris and the Musée de Fer in Nancy. The remaining sections were auctioned off on December 1st 1983, during a successful event held at the Tour Eiffel attended by numerous collectors from around the world wanting to obtain a piece of the legendary structure. Today the sections of the staircase can be found in many prestigious locations around the world such as the Yoishii Foundation in Yamanashi, Japan, the Statue of Liberty in New York, and next to the replica of the Tour Eiffel at Disneyland. A section of the staircase was also acquired by the French singer Guy Béart, whereas the sculptor César featured the staircase in one of his sculptures in tribute to the famed Tour Eiffel.