Opening: Friday 22 April, 7:00 pm
On the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Salvatore Fancello, the MAN Museum is pleased to present for the first time in a single exhibition the complete corpus of drawings of this artist from Dorgali that is in the museum's collection. This is a group of more than fifty works representing the different trends in Fancello's graphic studies. To this will be added a further series of drawings never before exhibited and recently obtained as a gratuitous loan.
Created in 1999 under the urging of Nuoro's provincial administration, the MAN collection is the result of a careful selection of works of Sardinian artists from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. Today, this collection has reached a total of more than six hundred works, within which the consistent and representative group of Fancello's drawings, the result of a careful policy of acquisitions followed over the years, undoubtedly constitutes one of the highest points in innovation, originality and coherency.
Salvatore Fancello's artistic career took place over a decade, from 1930, when he moved to Monza to attend the Istituto Superiore per le Industrie Artistiche – which was also attended by his friends Giovanni Pintori and Costantino Nivola - on to his stay in Milan, Padua and Albissola, only to come to an end with his premature death in battle on the Greco-Albanese front in 1941, at the age of twenty-four.
He studied underGiuseppe Pagano, Pio Semeghini, Raffaele De Grada, and also Arturo Martini and Marino Marini, teachers of plastic decoration. In Monza, Fancello perfected his skills as a ceramist, a discipline he had learnt as a child in the Dorgali workshop of Ciriaco Piras, who was a student of Francesco Ciusa's. But even before his production of ceramics, Fancello distinguished himself asa skilful and original draughtsman, a practice he never abandoned throughout his short life, during which he produced a large number of preparatory sketches, but also true paintings on paper, today highly valued, owing to his great imagination, unique style, bold graphic sign and free, refined formal solutions.
It was in the course of the ten years of his activity that emerged the fantastic creatures, the interpreters of a bizarre, surreal world populated by both exotic animals - mostly African - and those typical of the fauna of his Sardinia, ever present in the memory of the artist. This is a bestiary "more fabled than moralistic, (...) a transposition in a key of amiable irony" as it was defined by Giulio Carlo Argan, one of the first of Fancello's supporters and among other important writers and critics of the 1930s, such as Leonardo Sinisgalli, Nino Bertocchi and Giulia Veronesi.
Besides the portrayal of the animal world, amply represented in the nucleus of the drawings in the MAN collection, Fancello's graphics present other subjects, all on display in the exhibition, especially the female nudes in some of the most important of these works, and some evocative landscapes, both rural and urban.
Besides showing the heterogeneity of Fancello's subjects, the MAN exhibition is representative of the different graphic techniques adopted by the artist: ink and Indian ink drawings both in black and colour, watercolours, charcoal, and finally graffito, where he reaches heights of great audacity that can be seen in works in the MAN collection such as La raccoglitrice, or Leone e Cinghiale, dating from about the end of the 1930s, to which a group of new works recently obtained on loan will be added.