Giovanni Lomi (Italian 1889-1969) Costiera Tocsana/Liguria (1948) Oil on wood panel, signed lower left, dated 22/11/1948, Rome. Dimensions 24 x 19cm (9.5 x 7.5ins) (41 x 36cm (16 x 14.25ins) outside frame dimensions).
The artist's hand on the reverse of this excellent example of his work dedicates, and perhaps gifts, this piece "alla grande artista Rina Gigli con profunda ammirazione" (to the great artiste Rina Gigli with deep admiration). Rina Gigli (1916-2000) was a celebrated Italian soprano and daughter of Beniamino Gigli, one of Italy's greatest early 20th century operatic tenors.
The reverse of the frame contains in pencil: "? Lo Scoglio di Quarto?" (The Quarto Rock), which we do not believe to be the artists hand. This appears to question whether the rocks seen are those sited off Genoa in Liguria, which are significant in Italy's history as those from which Garibaldi led his Thousand for Sicily on 5th May 1860, in the struggle for Italian Unification; and the subject and title a poem included in Carducci's 1889 `Odi Barbari'.
Condition: Excellent. Good impasto, no sign of restoration found under inspection with ultraviolet light.
Biography: Giovanni Lomi was born into poverty in the port town of Livorno (known in English as Leghorn), Tuscany. Orphaned at a young age, Lomi was adopted into a peasant family here, having spent some time as a child at the Giovanni Pascoli Institute. Although employed to do various jobs, Lomi's gift as a baritone singer were soon discovered, and his fortunes changed.
Becoming celebrated in opera circles, the connections in the cultural sphere Lomi enjoyed as a baritone opened doors into the art world. Alongside artists such as Adolfo Tommasi, Lomi's lifelong passion for drawing and his skill with oils were developed, and he began his career as an artist in 1918. Already in 1919, Lomi was exhibited at the Milan Permamente. He became a prominent member of Livorno's influential Labronico Group from its 1920 inception, with whom he exhibited both nationally within Italy (the Venice Biennale and the Roman Quadrennial), and internationally. Giovanni Lomi's first of many personal exhibitions took place in Florence in 1922. A period of major exhibitions followed (in his lifetime: - Gallery of art Materazzi 1923; Bottega of art, Livorno 1924; Geri Gallery, Milan 1925; Busto Arsizio, Varese 1926/7; Rome 1930; Cavalensi and Botti Gallery, Florence 1938; Ranzini Gallery Milan 1953, - Sant' Andrea Gallery, Genoa 1957; Saint Luca Gallery, Verona 1964; Bolzani Gallery, Milan 1966; & Milan's Gallery Ars Italica Retrospettive). His works were purchased by a number of important Italian and foreign public art galleries, including those of: Rome, Florence, Genoa, Trieste, Novara, Livorno; and the Brighton Museum (England).
Although he travelled much during his lifetime both in and around Italy and abroad, Tuscany, particularly Livorno, remained his heart's home. The Tuscan coast and its views are recurring themes, and in these works the influence of the past great masters of "macchiailo Tuscany" are clearly seen. Using greens, greys and browns, Lomi's greatest attention is given to form and light; and this is at its most effective in his coastal and seascapes, with the gradual modulations of bold rocks and gentle reflections off pearly seas making his a distinctive and recognisable style.
Giovanni Lomi died suddenly in his studio in 1969. In his tribute, Livorno erected a statue of him in 1994, to be seen in the town's Villa Fabbricotti park.