JCU Professor Cornelia Lauf Creates Artist Residency in Sicily

Cornelia Lauf, Visiting Professor of Art History at JCU recently created the Pernice Artist Residency in Sicily. Based in Monreale, near Palermo, the Residence is located on the grounds of the Masseria Pernice, an ancient vineyard and farm run by artist Paolo Sallier de La Tour, whose family has been in the wine business for centuries.  

Masseria Pernice - Cornelia Lauf

Masseria Pernice

Artist-in-residence  programs give  artists  the opportunity to spend a period of time  outside of their usual environment and obligations, and often help them to promote their work. 

The initial research on the location and host family was carried out by two JCU Art History graduate students: Elizabeth Paris Bermudes and Betsy Miller. 

Bermudes and Miller researched family heraldry, Sicilian history, agriculture, architecture, and the use of art to promote and give added value to the land.  

The History of the Masseria Pernice
Once a fiefdom in territories owned by the Jesuits, the land where La Pernice is located was acquired in the 18th century by Giuseppe Beccadelli di Bologna and Gravina, Marquis of Sambuca and Prince of Camporeale. The Beccadelli di Bologna were intermarried with the Sallier de la Tour, a family of northern Italian origin. 

In the 19th century, the tenth Prince of Camporeale, Pietro Paolo Beccadelli, decided to invigorate the agriculture of the territory by transforming sumac cultivations into vineyards. At the end of the 20th century, the current owners, Domitilla and Filiberto Sallier de La Tour, XIII Prince of Camporeale, developed the current bed & breakfast. 

The Pernice Residency
Paolo Sallier de La Tour serves as the Managing Director of the Pernice Artist Residency. An artist who focuses on painting and floral installations, he is a graduate of the Accademia delle Belle Arti, Bologna. Professor Cornelia Lauf advises the residency. Betsy Miller and Elizabeth Paris Bermudes, Master’s Degree candidates in the Department of Art History and Studio Art at John Cabot University provide curatorial assistance.  

The artists are chosen from various backgrounds, cultures, and traditions. At the conclusion of the residency, the Masseria Pernice acquires a portion of the artists’ work as the start of a Pernice Collection. Designer Dennis Balk was Pernice’s inaugural artist-in-residence in the Fall of 2019. Balk is known for a conceptually rigorous but visually rich work that integrates a broad knowledge of science, culture and place. 

The Arts at Pernice
Over the history of the farm, the Masseria Pernice has hosted numerous art exhibitions. It has also attracted musicians for over a century, from opera singers to rock ’n roll artists, as the family celebrates the end of harvest with a plein-air piano concert. Some of the musicians who have played at the Masseria Pernice during these harvest celebrations are Sicilian tenor, Vincenzo La Scola, jazz composer, and pianist Salvatore Bonafede, the Argentinian guitarists, Juanjo Dominguez Trio, and the folk jazz duo, Irene Ientile and Ornella Cerniglia.