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"UMBERTO RAVELLO
and the Painters from Vercelli"

 


THE ANGELO GILARDINO COLLECTION

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Angelo Gilardino has always appreciated every artistic expression that has quality and character, in which to find and receive some sign of beauty, of poetry of life.

The passion for painting found a great inspiration in his friend Gastone Cecconello: in Gastone's studio intense reflections on art and music gave life to hours and hours of dialogues and comparisons that offered the two young people the opportunity to research together a light, an indication to be able to add safer steps to their artistic journey, at the time rather troubled and in the phase of complete definition.

In a more mature age Angelo Gilardino began to frequent pictorial art no longer only as an enthusiast but as a collector. On the walls of the house, in addition to the paintings of his friend Gastone, chosen adored and sometimes replaced according to a very rigorous and personal criterion and selection, paintings by other artists have begun to appear: their presence has never been casual but determined by a thought, a "fil rouge" that warp with particular plots unraveled among the canvases of some important artists of the twentieth century.

For a certain period, Angelo Gilardino's collection included significant works by prestigious Italian artists; with many of them Angelo had friendships and mutual esteem, transforming each painting into the representation of a world "elsewhere", of a journey made of colours, images, evocations and memories.

In order to be able to give a more defined "shape" to his collection, Angelo Gilardino decided to concentrate his research and his efforts, including economic ones, on the works of Vercelli painters of the 1900s, and the collection gradually began to be enriched with highly selected works by Enzo Gazzone, Fernando Rossaro, Cesare Libano, Francesco Bosso, Cesare Cerallo, Francesco Rinone, Edoardo Rosso, Fiorenzo Rosso and Francesco Vertice.

 

Angelo Gilardino has dedicated particular passion and interest to Umberto Ravello, another painter from Vercelli whose collection includes some works of great significance; in researching, as was his habit, biographical elements to better understand Ravello's work, Angelo was so fascinated and struck by it that he dedicated a book to the artist which takes its title from one of his most intense paintings, The Arch nel Buio, which represents one of the masterpieces of Angelo Gilardino's pictorial collection.  

In addition to the works from the Gilardino collection, the exhibition aims to exhibit works by other Vercelli artists with whom the master maintained friendships, Francesco Leale and Renzo Roncarolo, and by some painters Triveresi whose works have "transited" in the process of building the collection.

UMBERTO RAVELLO
Vercelli 1881 - Grappa massif 1917

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Born in Vercelli on 5 February 1881 and died on 13 December 1917 in the battle of Monte Fontanel, on the Grappa massif, as an Alpine captain of the "Val Cenischia" Battalion (which heroically opposed the Austrian offensive, losing 449 Alpine troops and 29 officers, including the Commander, Raineri Honorati), Umberto Ravello was the greatest painter from Vercelli who lived between the 19th and 20th centuries.

Big and, until a few years ago, almost unknown even in his city. Its rediscovery is due to the composer and guitarist Angelo Gilardino who, in 1991, reading the commemorative book of the Vercelli Institute of Fine Arts, published at the end of 1990, was struck by a painting that was depicted there: an opera, precisely , of Ravello: in it, Gilardino identified, from that day on, and without knowing anything about the history of Ravello (because no one had written it yet), the ancestry of that painter's art, until the never celebrated in his city (except for a large group show of the best Vercelli artists, posthumously for him, from 1922), which had  be identified in the work of the great symbolist painter Arnold Böcklin, famous  to the "Island of the Dead".

Since that day, Gilardino has assigned himself the task, indeed the mission, of recovering the figure and work of the painter who died at the age of just 37, and of passing it on to the people of Vercelli and, in general, to the art world. His research led to the creation of a book entitled "The Arch in the dark - History of the painter Umberto Ravello" which, published by Litocopy on behalf of the Cassa di Risparmio di Vercelli Foundation, was presented on Friday 15 November 2019 at 5 pm ,30, in the Conference Room of the Cassa di Risparmio Foundation.

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In July he participates in the San Remo painting prize and in October one of his paintings of the rice field, entitled Lo spienone, included in the 1st Exhibition of the Fine Arts Syndicate of Vercelli, is purchased by the Duce. In November, the painting The Crypt of the Fascist Fallen wins the 1st prize of 3,500 lire in the competition of the Provincial Syndicate. In 1940 he was appointed director of the Vercelli Institute of Fine Arts, a position he would hold for over twenty years. In December of the same year he ordered an exhibition in Vercelli, at Palazzo Centori, where he exhibited together with Francesco Giuseppe Rinone. In May 1944 he held a personal exhibition at the Dante gallery in Milan and exhibited 63 works there which were all sold.

In 1947 he held an annual course in Figure at the Institute of Fine Arts, which was then repeated in the following years. Between 10 and 18 February 1951 he took part in the 1st meeting of painters in Mera (Valsesia), during which he painted various oils which testify to the exceptional snowfall of over three meters which occurred in those days. In the same year he founded and presided over the Vercelli Philatelic Union, which later became the E. Gazzone Vercelli Numismatic Philatelic Association in his memory.

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ENZO GAZZONE
San Germano Vercellese 1894 - Vercelli 1970

He was born in San Germano Vercellese on March 23, 1894. His father, a local doctor, was passionate about painting. From 1911 to 1917 he attended the Albertina Academy in Turin, a pupil of Andrea Marchisio and, subsequently, of Giacomo Grosso, and graduated there. In 1914 he obtained the 1st prize at the Scuola di Figura with an attached scholarship at the Scuola di Disegno del Nudo in Venice. Since 1917 he has been qualified to teach drawing in Technical and Normal Schools. He made his debut in May-June 1922, participating in the Modern Vercelli Art Exhibition organized by the Constitutional Union of Vercelli, with the best Vercelli artists of the time. Enzo Gazzone is present with a veritable personal exhibition: fifty paintings, four of which on the rice field. In the years 1924 - 1926 he was the author of the cover of Vercelli Nobilissima, an illustrated monthly magazine published by the Gallardi and Ugo typography.

In 1929 he participated with the engraving entitled Decadence at the Melbourne International Exhibition and obtained an honorable mention. The following year, 1930, he painted the portrait of the Archbishop of Vercelli, mons. Prawns. In 1932 he portrayed Giuseppe Barino and the lawyer Casimiro Sciolla, placed in the picture gallery of the benefactors of the Ospedale Maggiore S. Andrea di Vercelli, to which he will add, in 1934, also the lawyer. Anthony Burgundy. In December 1933 he took part in the exhibition of resident artists in Vercelli, set up in the Palazzo del Littorio.

In March 1939 he won ex-aequo with Nicola Edel, the competition for an advertising poster announced by the Municipality of Vercelli for the Exhibition of history, art and economy Vercelli and its province from Romanity to Fascism.

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In December 1952 he ordered a personal exhibition in Vercelli, at Palazzo Centori. In 1953 he painted the portrait of Signora Maria Bassignana and in 1956 he portrayed the senator-lawyer Mario Abbiate; both canvases are located in the benefactors' gallery of the Ospedale Maggiore S. Andrea in Vercelli.

In 1956 he joined the Rotary International Club of Vercelli, sharing its spirit of service. In May 1963 he drew the masthead of the heroic register of the Province of Vercelli - Istituto del Nastro Azzurro. From 26 May to 23 June he participates in the National Exhibition of Artistic Engraving in Padua. He also illustrates the book by Carlo Giorchino Augusto Franzoj presented to young people, published by the La Sesia typography.

In 1964 he was appointed Knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and in 1967 he painted the portrait of Archbishop Mons. Imberti, still in the Curia.

He died on November 11, 1970 in his home in Vercelli on San Martino day. Two days later, La Sesia, the biweekly of Vercelli and its province, published an epicedium written by the painter Enrico Villani, who had been his pupil (In search of his secret intuition one day, to find it again). You are reminded of Grosso's self-definition ("I am a painter, not an artist"), which Gazzone had made his own.

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EDGARDO ROSSARO 
Vercelli 1882 - Rapallo 1972
 

Edgardo Rossaro was born in Vercelli on March 6, 1882.

He received the first notions from his painter father, as will happen to his brothers and Umberto Ravello, future husband of his sister, Olga, a teacher of art history. Edgardo, who collaborated with his father from a young age on the creation of various frescoes, studied at the Vercelli Art Institute with Pietro Narducci; he specialized at the Accademia Albertina in Turin with Pier Agostino Gilardi and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice with Luigi Nono. Between 1903  and in 1911 he attended the Scuola del Nudo at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, where he studied with Giovanni Fattori.

 

He frequented various circles and artistic associations wishing to be known and appreciated in Florence where, according to the registry office, he moved only on 25 December 1915 from Vercelli.

He participated in numerous group exhibitions in Florence and Rome and was assiduously linked to the "Society of Fine Arts": he was then appointed secretary of the Florentine association, frequenting artists of the caliber of Chini, Costetti, De Carolis, Ghiglia, Viani, Nomellini, Michelacci, Chiostri, Conti, Ciampi, Cipriani and the sculpture Decimo Passani.

He then came into contact with the "Benvenire Tisi" Society of Ferrara, and with the lively cultural milieu of Milan. At the Permanente Milanese in 1913 he will exhibit Riflessi, while in 1914 at the great Milanese autumn exhibition he will be represented by the triptych Impressioni di Carnevale, as well as a couple of drawings.

But he also exhibited at the avant-garde Venetian exhibitions of Ca' Pesaro, and at that of the Neapolitan Promotrice of 1912. Rossaro was also present at the group exhibitions of the Promotrice of Turin in 1911. 1912, 1913.

In this period he gave private painting lessons to a girl from Ferrara destined to become famous: Mimì Buzzacchi Quilici.

In 1922 he obtained consensus with a personal exhibition in Room P in the Vercelli Artists exhibition, presenting as many as 74 works, starting with the Self-portrait of 1906: on that occasion the "Borgogna" Museum decided to purchase his work Nevaio sulle Dolomiti. The Vercelli art gallery also possesses two of his small landscapes from 1903, a female portrait of him from 1909, the portrait of Donna Giulia Sernagiotto di Casavecchia (1943).

On 21 December 1922 Edgardo Rossaro married Giulia Francini Bruni in Florence, a primary school teacher seven years older than him.

In the meantime, the Rossaro couple decided to settle in Milan.

 

The same year we find him among the illustrators of the newspaper "L'Artiere" in Florence, while in 1935 he is among the collaborators of the famous Milanese magazine "L'Illustrazione Italiana". In 1930 he was among the exhibitors of the "Mostra d'Arte Vercellese e Valsesiana", held in Vercelli: he presented two portraits and two landscapes there.

In March-April 1930 at "La Camera degli Artisti" in Rome, Alberto Neppi introduced him to a personal exhibition in the catalogue, including 64 works: in the text he called him "an Alceo Dossena of the brush". In Milan, in the same period, he restored a fifteenth-century decoration in Casa Ucelli.

At the Ambrosiana Social Exhibition in Milan in 1932 Edgardo presented the Portrait of Prof. Sernagiotto, of whom Augusto Paci-Perini underlined: "admirably set among retorts and stills, with a sensitivity of glass that takes nothing away from human sensitivity". Among his clients is the honorable Roberto Farinacci, who bought him The Wave and two marines painted in Fano.

In the meantime, the artist had decided to settle permanently in Liguria, in Rapallo.

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Edgardo achieved good sales success of his works and supported himself as a drawing teacher. He was invited by the Florentine Academy to participate in various international exhibitions, from the Barcelona Expo of 1907 to the Munich exhibition of 1913. 

He had begun to stay in the Venetian mountains, forming a close friendship with the Cadore engineer Giuseppe Palatini: it was he who convinced him to leave for the war in May 1915, enlisting as a volunteer in the "Alpini del Cadore" department.

Of the war period he left an extraordinary testimony in various drawings and paintings and also collaborated, as an illustrator, with the famous newspaper "L'Astico".

In those years, Rossaro also appears to have illustrated the publications "Varietas" (Milan, 1918) and "The Sunday newspaper" (Florence, 1919).

 

In 1919 Rossaro returned to Florence, where he participated in the Spring Exhibition set up in Palazzo Antinori; the first stay in Bondeno, where Ferdinando Grandi, an industrialist who had married Maria Palatini, Giuseppe's sister, can be dated to the same period.

Until 1943 Edgardo spent long periods in the villa of his friend, owner of a famous furnace and passionate art collector.

Thanks to him he met various members of the cultured bourgeoisie of Bondeno and Ferrara (Bottoni, Pinca, Testa, Forti, Zanardi), but also the sculptor Arrigo Minerbi.

A painting depicting him was exhibited by Rossaro in the individual exhibition set up in Ferrara in 1923 at the Gallery of Modern Art.

In presenting it in the catalogue, Donato Zaccarini underlined the importance of the artist's stay in Florence, thanks to which "in front of the marvelous treasures of Tuscan art, he definitively shaped his soul as a painter, already taken by the beguiling charm of the Venetians".

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In Rapallo he also frequented the great Ezra Pound, who had lived there since 1925: one of his paintings depicting the house of S. Ambrogio will be brought with him by the great poet to Washington, during the tragic years of his internment in the criminal asylum at St. Elisabeth's Hospital .

 

Rossaro was a frequent visitor to the villa of the writer Sem Benelli in Zoagli. In Ferrara he participated in the charity exhibitions of 1932 and 1937. In 1939 his only book "La mia guerra gioconda" appeared, inspired by the experience of the First World War.

During the bloody war period, Rossaro continued to paint and on 27 February 1944 he was among the signatories of the famous manifesto (together with Ezra Pound, Gilberto Gaburri, Giuseppe Soldato and Michele Tanzi), The writers of Tigullio salute the other writers of Italy…, published in “Il Popolo di Alessandria”.

After the war he maintained correspondence with Pound. In 1952 he replaced his 1920 Self-Portrait in the collections of the Borgogna Museum in Vercelli, altered due to poor quality colours, with a 1950 Self-Portrait, painted in encaustic.

In 1957 he joined the National Exhibition of the International Syndicate of Pure Art in Naples. In the 1960s he held personal exhibitions in Rapallo, at the Polymnia Gallery and in the Castle. In Rapallo he also frequented Mrs. Benois, related to the famous set designer Nicola, who organized famous "literary Tuesdays". Edgardo Rossaro died, now ninety years old, in Rapallo on May 3, 1972. 

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