A particular boast of the collection assembled by Giuseppe Ricci Oddi in the first half of the 1900s, and donated to the city of Piacenza in 1924, is a Portrait of a Lady by Gustav Klimt that had disappeared – perhaps stolen – at the end of the second millennium, but which returned to the gallery after being found in 2019.
The history of Klimt was however complex from the beginning, because, to quote the official communication of the Gallery, in 1996, "Claudia Maga, a high school student from Piacenza, browsing a book dedicated to the artist, notices a portrait of a girl considered lost, of which she is struck by some elements of incredible affinity with the painting Ricci Oddi. Her desire to understand more will trigger the process that will lead to clarifying the fascinating genesis of the work, then also confirmed by the investigations to which the canvas will be subjected". The painting identified by the young scholar "depicts a young woman identical in face and pose to the Piacenza lady, but with hair and clothing very different. On this fashionably dressed girl Belle Époque Klimt will later paint the painting Ricci Oddi, preserving the background and face of the painting below, but intervening decisively on the rest in order to arrive at a real transformation of the initial painting, which is unparalleled in other works by the author".
Beyond the Klimt pearl, in addition to the value of the building specifically designed by the architect Giulio Arata, Ricci Oddi stands out with works by Macchiaioli, a Portrait of a Lady by Giovanni Boldini, landscapes by Reggio Antonio Fontanesi, portraits of Hayez and Boccioni, and a vibrant Ecce Puer by Medardo Rosso and still paintings by Casorati, Carrà and De Nittis. On the whole, we are faced with a panorama of Italian 19th and 20th century figurative art.