2018 ® GR gallery

Virgilio Guidi (Rome, 1891 – Venice, 1984)


Virgilio Guidi, a geometry and drawing enthusiast, attended the Technical Institute in Rome; to further cultivate his passion for drawing the artist attended evening classes at the  Scuola Libera di Pittura (School of Painting).  A few years later, in 1911 he enrolled at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome. In 1915 he participated in the III International Art Exhibition of The Roman Secession. Between 1920 and ’23 he painted some of his most important paintings of his portraits series which were featured at the XIII Venice Biennale in 1922. In those years Guidi mingled with “third room” artistic crowd of the renown Caffé Aragno where he met painter Giorgio De Chirico, poet  Giuseppe Ungaretti and art historian Roberto Longhi. In 1924 Guidi finally achieved critical success at the XIV Biennial of Venice with his painting “Tram” (Streetcar). The unanimous  favorable opinion of art critics brings the artist international recognition so that the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg offers to buy “Tram”, but Guidi chooses for it to remain in Italy (now at the Gallery of Modern Art in Rome). In 1926 the artist participated in the first edition of the exhibition “Novecento Italiano” (Italian Twentieth Century Art Movement)” in Milan, at the Palazzo della Permanente. He consequently took part in its second edition, in 1929, while retaining a degree of autonomy with respect to that trend (Novecento Italiano). In 1935, Guidi moved to Bologna, where he taught at the Academy of Fine Arts; during the same year the artist was rewarded at the Second Quadrennial of National Art in Rome with a full section of the exhibition dedicated to his paintings. The year 1937 was the year of his first monograph, published in New York and curated by the American journalist Nedda Arnova, of the publication of his “Bologna Art Bulletin” and of the development  of his own style, a synthesis of light, form and color. In 1940 he was invited to the XXII Biennale of Venice where he had a full section dedicated to his paintings. During the same year Guidi started to identify some of his theoretical and compositional signatures such as the likeness of female figurer like in his painting “La Visita”. Between 1947 and 1950 the artist painted several marine landscapes utilizing pure color planes depicting Venice and its lagoon and the metaphysical yet dynamic “Figures in Space” the same year he will join Lucio Fontana’s the Spatialist movement and will participate in the XXIV Venice Biennale. In the following three years Guidi’s artistic output followed his most recognizable painting series such as “Figures in Space”, “Presences” “Anguish”, “Heads” and “Marine”. In the following years the artist participated in the XXVII and XXXII Venice Biennale, always featured in a separate dedicated showroom. Between the years of 1969-70 Guidi started his new series on the theme of “The Tree”. The artist died in Venice on January 7 1984.

… what I always brought things in back in order in Guidi’s paintings, unifying, every step, every chance, every attempt, and every swing of that magical time in the painter’s excursus was, as always, his mastery over light and shade: his unconditional supremacy, the grooming every work component …

Giovanni Granzotto
2018 ® GR gallery