Every time I see Twentieth Century sculpture by Italian artists, I marvel at the skill, ingenuity, and what seems the innate ability to translate the human emotion an expression into a three dimensional form. Abstract or figurative it does not matter the roots are the same.
I would like to share a monograph on the work of Romano Rui with you. The pictures in this folio size book are superbly printed in black and white. Romano Rui (1915-1977) was born in the Friuli Region of Italy which borders Slovenia and Austria. It is a beautifully austere region at the crossroads of many cultures, and a place where the Friulan language is still spoken by most of the population, especially in the smaller villages. It has over the centuries recovered from wars and terrible earthquakes. It has also produced a relatively small number of better known artists, but generally highly important ones. It is home to excellent wines and great food in the form of the San Daniele Prosciutto Crudo, one of my favor treats.
Romano Rui was a well versed sculptor working in stone, wood, and enamel making bas reliefs. He also worked in clay. He studied sculpture with the highly important sculptor and teacher Francesco Messina at the Brera Academy in Milan and became a teacher at the Poly Technical School in Milan at the Faculty of Architecture. Less known as a designer, his work in design included copper clad fireplaces, and enamel panels used as decoration on cruise ships. He worked with the cream of important Milanese designers like Gio Ponti and others. His work is often mentioned in the books by author Roberto Aloi, editor of a number of period publications on decoration and design.
Today he is perhaps remembered more for the beautiful enamel panels that he created, and less well known for his sculpture, especially outside Italy. Like most early 20th Century sculpture in Italy, the Roman Catholic Church and the various towns provided numerous commissions, and it was nearly impossible for a sculptor in the 30’s and 40’s to work and make a living otherwise.
The book in question was published as a limited edition of 1500 copies, ours number 845 by Aldo Martello Editore in Milan in 1963 with an important text by the art critic Dino Formaggio. Published with a English, French,and German text it has 125 numbered pages and many full size black and white photographs. An astounding look at the emerging career of a now forgotten sculptor.
You can find more on Romano Rui and the various materials he worked in at this Italian website.