About Illy Art Collection

illy Art Collection Since 1992

An ongoing project to turn the porcelain coffee cup designed by Matthew Thun, an icon of illy, into something new. The cup becomes a white canvas for contemporary artists from all over the world.

Every illy Art Collection project starts with the same, elegant canvas: the iconic, white illy espresso cup introduced by renowned architect and designer Matteo Thun in 1992. Inspired by the Platonic philosophy of kalokagathia, meaning the union of the beautiful and the good, Illy initiated a campaign of inviting contemporary artists—some of them world famous and some completely unknown—to use Illy coffee cups as the starting point for original works of art.   

Taking cup as muse, more than 70 of the world’s foremost artists have created collections since - no two ever alike, and each a revelation.



With this illy Art Collection, Judy Chicago represents women’s roles and achievements throughout history, by using the concept from her early works "Reincarnation Triptych". In the four cups inspired by the ‘Reincarnation Triptych’, the artist uses a lively and vibrant palate to illustrate the transition away from the societal constraints that have historically been imposed on women to a place of cultural and creative freedom. Each cup, through its creativity, represents a notable woman from history from distinct time periods: the Queen of France, Maria Antonietta; the novelist, philosopher, and political writer Madame de Stael; feminist novelist, George Sand; and writer, Virginia Woolf. 


Judy Chicago is one of the most influential artists to emerge from the American art world of the 1960s. She is an icon of the feminist movement and one of the most iconoclastic and revolutionary voices in 20th century art. For the illy art collection Judy Chicago has brought the sensual movements of her works from the seventies to the elegant form of the iconic cup. Dedicated to the most legendary women in the history of art, literature and politics.

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