- AFRO BASALDELLA PAINTER
Afro Libio Basaldella was a Italian painter and among the main exponents of theInformal Italian.
Born in Udine in 1912 to Leo Basaldella and Virginia Angeli. After the death of his father, also a painter and decorator, he completed his first studies in Florence and Venice where he graduated in painting in 1931.
Afro Basaldella's talent was soon noticed, in fact in 1928, at the age of only sixteen together with his brothers Mirko and Dino, he exhibited at the 1st Exhibition of the Friulian Avant-garde School and the following year at the 20th Exhibition of the Opera Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice.
In 1930, thanks to a scholarship received from Marangoni Artistic Foundation of Udine, which was conferred in order to promote and support young local artists, Afro Basaldella, together with his brother Dino, went to Rome where he had the opportunity to get in touch with the artistic environment of the capital. Right here he knows the artists Scipione, Mario Mafai It is Conrad Cagli and join the Roman school.
From 1931 he began to participate in various Union exhibitions. In 1932 he spent a period in Milan with his brother Mirko starting to frequent the studio of Arthur Martini and connect with artists like Renato Birolli It is Ennio Morlotti.
In 1933 Basaldella exhibited at Million Gallery of Milan, together with the artists Bosisio, Pittino It is Taiuti. In the same year he also exhibited at I Exhibition of the National Fascist Union of Fine Arts in Florence.
In 1935 he participated in the Rome Quadrennial. In 1936 he participated in the Venice Biennial, where he also exhibited in 1940 and 1942. His first personal exhibitions were held in 1936 and 1937, hosted by the Comet Gallery From Rome. Also in 1937, in collaboration with Cagli, he dedicated himself to the decorations of theInternational Exhibition Paris. In 1939 he participated in the Third Quadrennial From Rome.
From 1941 Afro Basadella begins to teach mosaic at theVenice Academy of Fine Arts.
In the first post-war period, after the experience at the Roman School, Afro Basaldella approaches the neocubism. In 1950 he went to the United States, more precisely to New York, where, thanks to the introduction of his friend Corrado Cagli, he began a twenty-year collaboration with the Catherine Viviano Gallery. During this period Basaldella was fascinated and influenced by the cultural climate and the artistic movements present at the time. These experiences will profoundly influence the artist who will re-elaborate them in a personal way, finally bringing him closer to abstraction.
In 1952 he joined the Group of Eight and with them he took part in the XXVI Venice Biennale. In the next edition Lionel Venturi dedicates a critical essay to Afro Basaldella. Within this essay, Venturi highlights many of the artist's qualities such as technical skill, precision and passion for painting and natural elegance.
In 1955 he was among the artists who exhibited in the traveling exhibition of the United States, The New Decade: 22 European Painters and Sculptors and his works are included in the first edition of Documenta I a Kassel.
In the mid-fifties, Afro Basaldella's art had achieved acclaim and fame above all on an international level. Recognition also from his native country was not long in coming. In fact, in 1955 he joined the invitation commission for the VII Quadrennial of Rome. The turning point, however, is when, in 1956, he obtains the award for best Italian artist at the Venice Biennial.
In 1957 Afro Basaldella taught at Mills College in Oakland, in California. There are also several exhibitions held in this state during his stay.
In 1958 he was commissioned to paint a mural for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The work is called The Garden of Hope, or the garden of hope. The artists also work with him for the decoration of the new Unesco building in Paris Karel Appel, Jean Arp, Alexander Calder, Roberto Matta, Joan Mirò, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso It is Rufino Tamayo.
Between 1959 and 1960 he took part in Document II in Kassel and won the prize for Italy al Solomon R. Guggenheim of New York. The Guggenheim buys his painting Night Flight of 1957. In 1961 the curator of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, J. J. Sweeney, dedicated a splendid monograph to him.
In 1966 he began teaching at New College of the Fine Arts Institute of Sarasota, Florida. From 1968 until 1973, however, he taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence.
In 1967 Afro Basaldella suffered a hard mourning, namely the loss of his brother Mirko. From the early seventies, Basaldella began to have health problems. His last years are characterized by an intensification of his graphic work and by a lessening of his pictorial and exhibition activity.
In 1971 Afro Basaldella won the prize of the President of the Republic for the Academy of S. Luca. In this year he holds various exhibitions both in Italy and abroad. The main countries hosting his exhibitions are Paris, New York and Germany.
Afro Basaldella died in Zurich in 1976.