The torments and enchantment of Antonio Ligabue

Antonio Ligabue. Tormenti ed incanti, Palermo, Palazzo dei Normanni, mostra

"Plowing", undated (1944-1945), oil on cardboard transferred on canvas, private collection

“Antonio Ligabue. Tormenti ed incanti” is the winning title of a solo show of works by this troubled Italian-Swiss painter, who faced uprooting, conflict and segregation throughout his life.

His mother was born in Veneto and immigrated to Switzerland, and he never knew his father. He was born in Zurich in 1899 and for twenty years led a difficult life moving from one canton to the other between nervous breakdowns and psychiatric wards. In 1919, he was forced to come to Italy – and became an Italian citizen – after being sued for abuse on his own mother.

In Gualtieri, the municipality in the province of Reggio Emilia where he unwillingly moved after being expelled from Switzerland, he made a living with odd jobs and focused on painting and sculpture. He survived in precarious conditions, often finding shelter at poorhouses or hiding out in sheds in the woods or floodplains along the Po.

Someone noticed the value of this unlucky artist’s works in the end of the 1920s, but his first solo show was held only in 1955. Then, in 1961 an important exhibition was held in Rome at the “La Barcaccia” Gallery.

“Antonio Ligabue. Tormenti ed incanti” is promoted by Palermo’s Fondazione Federico II and by Fondazione Ligabue, and will be open until August 31st, 2016 in the Duca di Montalto Halls of Palermo’s Royal Palace.

Don’t miss your chance to see sixty oil paintings, drawings, engravings and five bronze sculptures by Ligabue – all of which echo with the existential storm that tormented him, as he repeatedly returned to a handful of highly recognizable themes, such as self-portraits and animal fights.

Photos via:

June 3, 2016

The torments and enchantment of Antonio Ligabue

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