Giuseppe Cesetti | Original prints, lithographs, etchings and illustrated books
Giuseppe Cesetti was born in Tuscania in 1902, in that Etruscan land, sunny and silent, which inspires in the person the idea of a multi-millennial land, where time is canceled and where nature still gives us today a mythical and primordial teaching that it brings us closer to the hidden truths of beings and things. Son of farmers, he lives in Tuscania his limpid and painful adolescence. These years of free life in the secret and ancient Maremma will give his art an indelible mark that he will preserve through the multiple experiences of his fruitful life. At sixteen, he leaves the family and begins his journey. Attracted by the treasures and the deep beauty of our cities, he travels across the peninsula, observing the masters and finding particular spiritual affinity in the works in which the mystery of nature and the indestructible poetry of life is manifested.
In 1927 he was in Como, where he exhibited for the first time. He then moved to Florence, where he collaborated with the "Solaria" gallery, publishing some drawings. In 1930 his first personal exhibition was held at the Galleria Santa Trinità, which received general acclaim. Important collectors and many artists including Libero Andreotti, Romano Romanelli, Ottone Rosai, Ugo Ojetti, encourage the event by buying paintings. Ottone Rosai binds himself to Cesetti With fraternal friendship.
In 1931 Cesetti was appointed assistant professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Many young people gather around him and the Cavallino movement is born. Also in 1931 he took part in the Rome Quadrennial with three works, arousing a great interest of the critics who spoke of it as a "revelation", devoting him ample space.
In 1934 he was given a wall at the Venice Biennale. Five works are exhibited (among them the very well-known Alla segionata e Nudo di giovinetta).
In March 1935 he exhibited in Milan, at the Galleria del Milione, a group of thirty challenging works, presenting himself with Um Autoritratto. At the Biennial of 1936 the great picture I vaccari, one of his most significant works, is exhibited.
From 1935 to 1937 he stayed in Paris, where he became a part of the particularly lively and passionate artistic world of those years, establishing friendships, among others, with Giorgio de Chirico, Filippo de Pisis and Antonio Aniante. Returning to Italy, he stops in Milan, joining the Golden Fish group composed of Giovanni Scheiwiller, Francesco Messina, Salvatore Quasimodo, Raffaele Carrieri, Leonardo Sinisgalli, Arturo Tofanelli and others. This is a very intense period for the artist. Appointed by Giò Ponti, he made a large ceramic floor, exhibited at the 1937 Paris Universal Exhibition, in a hall in the Italian pavilion where Gino Severini and Massimo Campigli were also present. Cesetti's work is extremely successful and is also reproduced by the French magazine "Le décor d'aujourd'hui".
In 1939 he took up the chair of drawing at the Art School of Venice, and in 1941 he was appointed professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in the same city.
In 1943 he asked to be transferred to the professorship of the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. At that time he founded the Galleria del Secolo. When the war is over, he is appointed by the provincial liberation committees of Viterbo. Together with Bonaventura Tecchi, also a member of Viterbo, he dedicated himself particularly to the rebirth of the historical heritage of Tuscia damaged by the bombing.
In 1946, at the request of the ministry concerned, he resumed the chair of Venice. In the same year he organized the "La Colomba" award, which was hosted in two pavilions of the Biennale, the French and the German ones, restored for the occasion. We can therefore consider that from that moment the Biennale comes back to life. In 1949 he organized and presided, in collaboration with the city of Venice, the important exhibition "50 years of painting in Italy", set up in the Napoleonic Wing, creating the "purchase award" that is still current.
From 1955 to 1958 he resides in Paris where he begins his important French period. Upon returning to Italy, he resumed his thesis in Venice for a short time. In 1961 the city of Viterbo set up a large anthological exhibition of Cesetti in the Palazzo dei Priori, with over 100 paintings ranging from 1928 to 1961. In 1962 he was transferred to the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. But before the school year begins, he is appointed cultural attaché for the Plastics and Figurative Arts at the Italian Embassy in Paris. In this quality he undertakes an energetic action to further enhance Italian artists abroad, through exhibitions and publications including: "Contemporary Italian Painting" on the occasion of the "Journées Italiennes" at Mulhouse (May 1964); "Contemporary Italian Sculpture" in the Museum of Le Havre (November 1964); "De Pisis, Donghi, Morandi, Soffici" at the Cultural Services Gallery of the Embassy, Paris (May 1965); "Nine Italian painters in Paris" at the Gallery of Cultural Services of the Embassy, Paris (May 1966); the same exhibition is transferred in July to the Palais de la Méditerranée in Nice; "Recherches de 18 artistes italiens en France" at the Gallery of Cultural Services of the Embassy, Paris (December 1967). At the same time, Cesetti paints with intensity, particularly inspired, in addition to Paris, on the banks of the Loire, the Camargue, the Normandie and the Ile de France.
At the end of 1967 he returned to Italy and settled in Rome, but made frequent visits to Paris in his atelier de la rue de Seine. After the earthquake that devastated the city of Tuscania in 1972, it worked to revive the historic center and revitalize the ancient traditions of the area, promoting events and movements including the "Association of the Butteri of Southern Etruria". These initiatives meet an immediate success and a wide echo in the climate of defense of the essential values that has awakened in the world and that Cesetti has not ceased to exalt through his work. Taking up the family tradition, he also dedicated himself to a thoroughbred and Maremma horse breeding, entrusted to the care of his daughter Marta. But much of the work takes place in the Montebello studio, from where it can contemplate, to the four cardinal points, the Mediterranean strip, the Montaùto chain, Mount Amiata, the Cimini mountains, Allumiere and the two vast valleys of the Marta and Fiora who saw him as a teenager and where, in summer, he was "entrusted" the herd of the grandfather Agostino Meloni, attentive and affectionate breeder towards the child he often carried on horseback, holding him in his arms on the Maremma's harness.
Since then I have spent long years of experience, of vicissitudes, now happy, sad now, but years that were always of intense work, of absolute honesty and exemplary clarity both to his conscience and his art. Cesetti's works have been exhibited in numerous exhibitions, in Italy and abroad, with the major Italian and foreign artists, and are found in the most important museums and private collections. He has participated several times with personal rooms at the Venice Biennale and at the Rome Quadrennial. He was a critic of the "Ambrosiano" and the "Gazzetta di Venezia". He has published books on poetry, prose and critical essays. He died in Tuscania on December 19, 1990.