Gentilini, Franco (1909-1981) - 1954 Round Table with Cat (Christie's Milan, 2008)
Oil on canvas sandblasted; 81 x 65.2 cm.
(b Faenza, 4 Aug 1909; d Rome, 5 April 1981). Italian painter, illustrator and stage designer. He began his training in Faenza in the workshop of the Italian painter and ceramicist Mario Ortolani (1901-55). After living briefly in Bologna (1927) and Paris (1928) he settled in Rome in 1929, first exhibiting his work at the Venice Biennale in the following year. His paintings at this time, such as Nude (Susanna after her Bath) (1929; Faenza, Pin. Com.), were characterized by an emphasis on tonal relationships and on the influence of the Scuola Romana. In 1934 he began to work with growing success as an illustrator for the journals Quadrivio and Italia letteraria. The contacts he established with Paris were intensified with his move there in 1947, resulting in three one-man shows at the Galerie Rive Gauche (in 1950, 1953 and 1957), and in his paintings he evolved a cautious balance between the representation and the disassembling of the image. Some of his best-known series of paintings date from this time, including his Cathedrals (e.g. Cathedral with Still-life and Dog, 1960; Rome, Vatican, Col. A. Relig. Mod.), pictures of town squares populated by acrobats and musicians, and later female nudes and a series entitled Mermaids.