Project Description


Figures and places 1930-1959

curated by Elena Pontiggia and Viviana Birolli

The exhibition displays the whole pictorial production of the artist through over ninety works from lyrical Expressionism to his research into colour and light, and above all two fundamental themes of his investigation: the figure and the relationship with nature.

The exhibition starts from Birolli’s debut in Milan, during the 1930s, in the entourage of the critic Edoardo Persico; it goes through the realist period of Corrente, of whom the artist was one of the most important members, and finally comes to the abstract and informal outcomes of the Fifties, when Birolli’s painting resonates with American abstract Expressionism.

An engagé protagonist of Italian art life and debate during the mid-1900s, Birolli used chromatic lyricism as a critical and at the same time poetic key of interpretation of reality, combining the Venetian sense of colour with the lesson of Van Gogh and Cézanne, as he noted in his Taccuini in 1936: «Colour is not material, it is an emotional core».
On display there are the main masterpieces of the artist, not only from Birolli collection and from the most important Italian and European collections, but also from various Italian institutions and museums, such as Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna of Rome, Museo del Novecento of Milan, Galleria d’Arte Moderna of Turin, Galleria d’arte Moderna of Udine and Banca Intesa Collection.

The display includes historic documents and photographs from the collection of Milan Archivio and from the recently established Associazione Renato Birolli. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with writings by Elena Pontiggia and Viviana Birolli, which includes some unpublished documents from the «Fondo Renato e Rosa Birolli», preserved in Florence, at Gabinetto Scientifico Letterario G.P. Vieusseux.

10 March 2016 – 26 June 2016

Opening times
from Wednesday to Friday 14-19
Saturday and Sunday 11-19

Città di Torino
Regione Piemonte
Fondazione Ettore Fico