Franco Gentilini | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books




Franco Gentilini (Faenza, 4 August 1909 - Rome, 5 April 1981) was an Italian painter.

He was born in Faenza on 4 August 1909. After attending elementary school, he started working as an apprentice in a woodcarver workshop. Between 1921 and 1925 he attended the four evening courses of the "Tommaso Minardi" Municipal School of industrial and plastic design. Later he met the painter Giovanni Romagnoli, owner of the chair of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna, who gave him his first advice.

In 1930 Franco Gentilini made his first trip to Paris, and in the same year the jury of the XVII Venice Biennale admits one of his paintings in the exhibition halls.

In 1932 he moved permanently to Rome. He enters the literary environment of the historic Caffè Aragno, where he meets and frequents artists and writers (Cagli, Mucci, Falqui, Sinisgalli, de Libero), starting with them long collaborations in the illustration of their texts and poems. Of those years is the deep friendship that binds him to the Ravenna painter Enrico Galassi. From 1934 he became an illustrator of magazines such as L'Italia Letteraria, Quadrivio, Il Selvaggio and from the forties Primato, Documento, Domenica.

The thirties are years of participation in numerous awards (II place at the Rubicon Prize 1933, first at the Rubicon Prize 1934), in Biennial and Quadrennial. In these years, Gentilini realizes public works on commission, paintings (portraits, nudes, urban landscapes, still lifes, compositions inspired by popular country festivals) and numerous drawings.

The artistic world of Franco Gentilini is formed in the context of Italian culture between the Second World War and the post-war period. The artist perfects his technical note characterized by a happy marriage between painting and drawing on a material preparatory background mixed with sand. The themes of his works are cathedrals, baptisteries, jugglers and itinerant players, landscapes with irregular perspectives, women characterized by ankle boots with spool heels, bicycles, trucks, cats and lions. Gentilini is the artist of the joie de vivre, despite in recent years portraying a world shattered by the second world war.

From the mid-fifties his research is directed towards an essential geometric stylization that, using inverted perspectives and slanted planes, finds a new and personal compositional equilibrium.

In 1954 he contracted to the merchant Carlo Cardazzo, the Gallerie del Cavallino of Venice and the Naviglio di Milano.

Since 1955 Franco Gentilini holds the chair of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.

In 1968 he was awarded the "President of the Republic Award" by the National Academy of San Luca in Rome.

There are countless personal and collective exhibitions in which he participates in Italy and all over the world. His works are conserved in major Italian and international museums, including the National Gallery of Modern Art, the Uffizi and the Vatican Museums.

In 1979 he was elected vice-president of the National Academy of San Luca in Rome.

His activity continued until 1981, when he died on 5 April after a very brief illness.

To celebrate the centenary of the artist's birth, several retrospectives were held in public spaces (the Pericle Fazzini Museum in Assisi and the Museo della Permanente in Milan) organized largely by his wife Luciana Giuntoli who also took care of the collection of her personal archive.