Luigi Zuccheri (Gemona del Friuli 1904 – Venice 1974), Rabbit
Oil on panel cm 30 x 35 signed (L. Zuccheri) lower left.
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Trained with Alessandro Milesi and Umberto Martina, from whom he learned the peculiar traits of the great Venetian tradition of painting, since the Thirties, Zuccheri creates still lifes, landscapes, portraits, works in which late naturalism is often overcome in the symbolist direction. Among the portraits of this period, also that of Giacomo Ca ‘Zorzi, known under the pseudonym of Giacomo Noventa, the intellectual and poet of whom Zuccheri had married, in 1932, his sister Jolanda.
In 1939 he set up his first solo show at the Michelazzi gallery in Trieste, which was followed by an intervention by Silvio Benco on «Piccolo Sera», in which the critic recognized his capacity and representative strength. During the war, Zuccheri changed technique and style: he studied thoroughly the ancient painting, passed from oil to tempera, elaborated his fabulous animalistic theme that gave him fame in Italy and to which we can trace this rabbit, emblem of his very personal Baroque style metaphysical ancestry, inspired by the landscapes and animals of the Venetian lagoon and the Friulian countryside.
Shortly before 1950, in fact, he met Giorgio De Chirico in Florence. The two artists became friends and De Chirico repeatedly expressed his esteem for the Friulian painter, of whom he was, on various occasions, a guest in Venice. At the death of Zuccheri he wrote: “I always met him in Venice, during my stays in that city, and in his studio I spent long hours talking with him about all the advantages and secrets of tempura painting. I am sure that over time, Zuccheri will be increasingly understood and admired”. Meanwhile, Zuccheri had begun to exhibit again. In 1949 he was at the Cavallino gallery in Venice, in 1950 at the Naviglio gallery in Milan and in the same year he was present at the Venice Biennale. They were years of intense activity, travels and exhibitions: among others, in Turin, Bologna, Verona, Rome, in Bavaria and at the Sagittarius gallery in New York. In 1959 he published, for the De Luca editions of Rome, “The bestiary of Zuccheri”, eight color plates and ten in black and white, with an introduction by Alfredo Mezio. In these years he also poured into his sculptural technique his sensitivity as an animalier: in fact he modeled in wax and cast in bronze many figures: hawks and hedgehogs, fish and birds, snails and crickets, goats and roosters, hares and doves.
Other important exhibitions in the Sixties marked his pictorial activity: at the S. Stefano di Venezia in 1961, at the Ghelfi in Verona in 1962, at the Gianferrari in Milan in 1963, at Viotti in Turin and at Cavour in Milan in 1967, just to name some, while many participated in important collective exhibitions, such as the Trivenete of Padua. After the painter’s death, the retrospective exhibition that was held at the former church of S. Francesco and the Civic Museum of Art in Pordenone from March to May 1982 is fundamental for his rediscovery. An important nucleus of works di Zuccheri is now located at the Civic Museum of Art in Pordenone.