GAM - Modern Art Gallery of Turin verified

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closed In the Marchesini.

Curated by: Giorgina Bertolino, Alessandro Botta

The show

The GAM of Turin presents in the spaces of the Wunderkammer the exhibition dedicated to Nella Marchesini (Marina di Massa, 1901 - Turin, 1953). Her path crosses the art of the first half of the twentieth century: she enriches the dialogue of this intense season of Italian painting with her peculiar figure and voice, nourishing the research side of women artists active in those years. Life and painting: art, writes Nella Marchesini, is the "guiding star", a constant dedication, defended by the "tasks" of everyday life and harmonized with "the life of affections".

Born in Marina di Massa in 1901, she moved with her family to Turin during the Great War. With his sisters Maria and Ada Marchesini, he belongs to the intellectual circle of young people gathered around Piero Gobetti and his magazines. It is linked to Ada Prospero, wife and later widow of Gobetti, partisan, married to Ettore, one of the Marchesini brothers. She is a friend of Carlo Levi, not yet a painter, and of the future writers and historians Natalino Sapegno, Edmondo Rho and Federico Chabod. She is the first pupil of Felice Casorati, the progenitor of his free school of painting, where she will work side by side with many companions, including Lalla Romano, Paola Levi Montalcini, Daphne Maugham, Albino Galvano, Marisa Mori.

The Casorati school is a "cloister", as the artist herself will define it, the space of a severe and disciplined apprenticeship and, at the same time, an open place, frequented by friends and personalities such as Mario Soldati, Giulio Carlo Argan and Italo Cremona. The marriage, in 1930, with Ugo Malvano, a painter of Parisian training, will extend the range of his references, opening the usual work in the atelier, based on the lessons of the ancient masters and concentrated on the figure and still life, to that of art and of the landscapes of international modernity. The artist goes out into the open, delves into nature, discovered and investigated during the summer holidays that he spends with his three young children in Val d'Aosta and then, in the years of the Second World War, in Valchiusella, sheltered from the bombings on Turin.

Set up in the Wunderkammer of the GAM , the exhibition presents a group of thirty works , including paintings and drawings, chosen to reconstruct the seasons of Nella Marchesini's art and the stages of an exhibition career marked by participation in the Venice Biennale and the Rome Quadriennale. and by appearances in private galleries in Turin, Milan, Genoa and Florence. From the Portrait of the Father in 1923 to Three Women in 1952, the works accompany the visitor along a journey that highlights, through the changing of the pictorial material, the evolutions and recurrences of iconographic themes, subjects and sources. The predominance of the self-portrait, in the different phases of existence, offers the meaning and the key of a painting exercised in the form of narration and autobiography.

The letters, postcards, vintage photographs, volumes and some pages of the artist's writings, preserved in the Malvano-Marchesini Archive, complete the exhibition, providing a map of personal documents that tells, in parallel, Turin between the twenties and fifties of the twentieth century.

"In the Marchesini. Life in painting. Works from 1920 to 1953", brings together paintings from private collections to those of the significant core of the Turin GAM , which entered the museum with an acquisition in 1954 and thanks to the generous donation of the Malvano heirs. Marchesini, welcomed by Rosanna Maggio Serra in 1978. The personal exhibition is therefore also conceived as an opportunity to enhance the rich heritage of the GAM.

Curated by Giorgina Bertolino and Alessandro Botta, authors in 2014 of the General Catalog dedicated to the artist, the exhibition is accompanied by the exhibition catalog with the texts of the curators, the works on display and a rich biographical and documentary apparatus. The volume is published by Silvana Editoriale (Cinisello Balsamo, Milan, 2019).

Works on display

Timetable and tickets


Via Magenta, 31,
10100 Turin


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