Eugenio Francesco Balzan was born in Badia Polesine, near Rovigo (Northern Italy), on 20 April 1874 into a family of landowners. He spent almost his entire working life at Milan’s leading daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera.
After joining the paper in 1897, he worked his way up from editorial assistant to news editor and special correspondent. In 1903 editor Luigi Albertini made him managing director of the paper’s publishing house; he then became a partner and shareholder in the company. He was not only a skilfull manager but also a leading personality in Milan. In 1933 he left Italy due to opposition from certain quarters hostile to an independent Corriere.
He then moved to Switzerland, living in Zurich and Lugano, where for years he had invested his fortune with success. From there, he also continued his charitable activities in favour of institutions and individuals. Eugenio Balzan officially returned to Italy in 1950.
He died in Lugano, Switzerland, on 15 July 1953.
A leading figure in business and the cultural milieu in Milan at the beginning of the twentieth century, Eugenio Balzan was also a collector. His taste in art and intuition for investment led him to acquire Italian paintings, mainly from the end of the nineteenth century, in a collection of nearly fifty works by masters like Filippo Palizzi, Domenico Morelli, Mosè Bianchi, and Giacomo Favretto.
The collection is part of the assets of the Balzan Foundation, which are administered by the Balzan “Fund” in Zurich. It is currently in the custody of the City of Badia Polesine, where Eugenio Balzan was born, and is open to the public in the foyer of the municipal theatre, which is named after Eugenio Balzan.
Lombardia Production, 2008