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Fausto Pirandello

"Antonio", oil on board, 1944, 55.5 x 42.5 cm


The youngest son of Luigi Pirandello and Maria Antonietta Portolano, both from Agrigento, he was born after his brother Stefano and sister Lia. He spent his childhood between Rome and holidays in Sicily, a land that would instil in him a passion for those tones that would later be among the unmistakable characteristics of his painting.

In 1917, he received a call to arms, among the 'Boys of '99', and was forced to interrupt his classical studies, although he was not immediately sent to the front for health reasons. He then spent the war period in hospital and a period of hospitalisation in Florence. After the war, he did not resume his studies and manifested the desire to devote himself to sculpture even though, again due to health problems, he was soon forced to switch to painting (already practised as a hobby in the Pirandello household, both by his father and his older brother, Stefano).
His first art teacher was Sigismondo Lipinsky, a symbolist sculptor and engraver, with whom he took a one-year drawing course in 1919. It was then in 1920 that he decided to leave sculpture for good and devote himself entirely to painting. In 1922, he enrolled in the Art School at the Orti Sallustiani, opened in Rome by Felice Carena, Attilio Selva and Orazio Amato, which he attended until 1923. Here he met the painters Emanuele Cavalli, Onofrio Martinelli and Giuseppe Capogrossi, with whom he spent long summer stays in Anticoli Corrado. Felice Carena is the one who really introduced Pirandello to the world of Anticoli Corrado, a village in the Upper Aniene Valley that was very popular with artists of the time in search of picturesque landscapes and posing models, and where Fausto opened his first painting studio in 1924.

In the same year, he met the sculptor Arturo Martini in Anticoli, who had just arrived in the village in the retinue of the American painter and sculptor Maurice Sterne, as an artistic collaborator. And in Anticoli Corrado Fausto also met Pompilia D'Aprile, already a pose model for the painters Francesco Trombadori and Amleto Cataldi, whom he married in 1927 (a marriage kept secret from his father until 1930) and by whom he had two sons, Pierluigi and Antonio.

In 1925 Pirandello made his first public appearance at the 3rd Roman Biennale, with the work Bagnanti (Bathers), and the following year at the 15th International Biennale of Art of the City of Venice, with Composizione (Composition), an exhibition that was to see him exhibit continuously from 1932 to 1942.
In 1927 Fausto Pirandello decided to settle in Paris with his wife Pompilia. He lived in Montparnasse and took a small studio in Montrouge. The trip was a real escape, an attempt to get away from his father's psychological conditioning but also an opportunity to experiment with new solutions in his painting. In Paris, he frequented the group of Italiens de Paris (especially Giorgio De Chirico and Filippo de Pisis), got to know more closely the works of Cézanne, the Cubists (Picasso and Braque) and the painters of the School of Paris (l'École de Paris) exhibited in the city's most prominent galleries. And in the Ville Lumière Fausto became the father of a son, Pierluigi, on 5 August 1928.

His first Parisian exhibition was together with Emanuele Cavalli and Francesco Di Cocco, in the house of Countess Castellazzy-Bovy; then at the Galerie Vildrac (1929), where he set up his first real solo exhibition, followed by a second solo exhibition abroad, in Vienna, in 1929.
In 1930 he returned definitively to Rome with his wife Pompilia and son Pierluigi, taking up residence in Via Valenziani, where he set up a studio on the top floor overlooking the rooftops of Rome and where he would stay until 1954 (he would later move to Via degli Scialoja). He spent the summers with his family in Anticoli Corrado, where Pompilia still owned a house, an environment that would inspire most of his landscape compositions. During the 1930s, he frequently exhibited at the Galleria di Roma, the Sindacali del Lazio and the Quadriennali Romane and, although he always maintained an individual path, he was linked to the environment of the Roman School, within which he was closer to the group of so-called 'tonalists' such as Giuseppe Capogrossi, Emanuele Cavalli and Roberto Melli.

The loss of his father Luigi (Nobel Prize winner in 1934) occurred in 1936 and the following year Fausto Pirandello's second son Antonio was born in Rome.

In the early 1940s there were numerous exhibitions and recognitions for his painting, both in Italy and abroad: first prize at the 'II Mostra dello Sport' (1940), a solo exhibition at the 'sala delle Mostre d'Arte alle Terme' in Rome (1941) and at the Galleria Gian Ferrari in Milan (1942), where he would return to exhibit frequently, and then again in Rome at the Galleria del Secolo (in 1944 and 1947).

The Pirandellos remained in Rome until the precipitous events of the war, in 1942, when they decided to move to Anticoli Corrado: they did not return to the capital until January 1944. The temporary residence this time was at Villa Medici, thanks to a special permit, where Pirandello could continue his painting activities in a space dedicated to him.

In the post-war period, his exhibition activity intensified, with regular participations in the Quadriennali Romane, the Venice Biennials and at private galleries in Rome and Milan. In 1947, Pirandello received the appointment as 'Resident Academician of the Accademia di San Luca', together with Giorgio De Chirico, Ferruccio Ferrazzi and Tullio Bartoli, a sign of the esteem he had earned in the Roman and national art circles.

During the 1950s, he participated in numerous exhibitions in Italy and abroad and was supported by the work of critics such as Virgilio Guzzi (who wrote his first monograph in 1950), Fortunato Bellonzi, Lionello Venturi, Nello Ponente and Raffaele Carrieri. He exhibited his works in numerous important personal exhibitions (such as the anthological exhibition at Palazzo Barberini, in Rome, in 1951) and group exhibitions in Italy and abroad, still gaining much recognition: he received the First Prize at the 6th National Art Quadrennial in Rome in 1951, the Gualino Prize at the 26th Venice Biennale in 1952 (which dedicated a personal room to him in the 1956 edition), the Marzotto Prize, in 1953, and the Fiorino Prize in 1957. In 1955, Pirandello held his first solo exhibition in the United States, at the Catherine Viviano Gallery in New York.
For his intense artistic activity up to that time, in 1956 Fausto Pirandello was awarded the Gold Medal as a well-deserving person of culture and art by the then President of the Republic, Giovanni Gronchi. These were the years in which Pirandello also devoted himself to writing about art in magazines such as Quadrivio, La Fiera Letteraria and L'Europa Letteraria, on whose pages he actively participated in the national artistic debate of the time.

During the 1960s, there were still numerous national awards for his long career as an artist: in 1960 Pirandello was among the painters of the Roman School who received prizes at the XIII Quadriennale Nazionale d'Arte in Rome, in 1964 he received the Michetti Prize and in 1967 the Villa Prize.

In 1963-64 he exhibited at the exhibition Peintures italiennes d'aujourd'hui, organised in the Middle East and North Africa.

Fausto Pirandello died in his hometown, Rome, on 30 November 1975, at the age of 76.


G. Appella, Fausto Pirandello. Vita, opere, fortuna critica, in Fausto Pirandello 1899-1975, exhibition catalogue edited by G. Appella, G. Giuffré, De Luca Edizioni, Rome 1990, pp. 165-210.


C. Gian Ferrari, Fausto Pirandello, De Luca Editore, Rome 1991.


M.L. Aguirre D'Amico, Album Pirandello, Mondadori, Milan 1992.


F.R. Morelli, Guttuso Pirandello Ziveri, 1938-1943. Realismo a Roma, 1938-1943, exhibition catalogue edited by F. D'Amico, Edizioni Netta Vespignani, Rome 1995, pp. 85-127.


F. Matitti, "La vita attuale e la favola eterna". Regesto 1925-1944. Appendix: unpublished writings, critical anthology, in Fausto Pirandello. "La vita attuale e la favola eterna". Mostra del centenario, exhibition catalogue edited by M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, with the collaboration of C. Gian Ferrari, Edizioni Charta, Milan 1999, pp. 39-101.


V. Rivosecchi, "E' proprio dell'arte, e da sempre, astrarre". From the post-war period to the 1970s, in Fausto Pirandello. "La vita attuale e la favola eterna". Mostra del centenario, cit., pp. 103-113.


A. Camilleri, Biography of the changed son. Il romanzo della vita di Luigi Pirandello, RCS, Milano 2000.


The Pirandellos return to Chaos. La pittura passione artistica della famiglia, exhibition catalogue edited by A. Perniciaro, F. Capobianco, C.A. Iacono, Salvatore Sciascia Editore, Caltanissetta 2003, pp. 23-25.


E. Providenti, Colloqui con [Luigi] Pirandello, Polistampa, Florence 2005.


P. Bonani, Fausto Pirandello. La vita, le opere e la fortuna critica, in Pirandello. Le nature morte, exhibition catalogue edited by F. D'Amico, M. Goldin, Linea d'Ombra Libri, Treviso 2007, pp. 96-210.


F. Matitti, Fausto Pirandello. Gli anni di Parigi 1928-1930, Artemide, Rome 2009.


E. Camesasca, Fausto Pirandello 1899-1975. Biography, in C. Gian Ferrari, Fausto Pirandello. General catalogue, Electa, Milan 2009, pp. 237-244.


Exhibition Catalogue, Fausto Pirandello: I nudi palazzo Grimani, Venice, 2011

F. Matitti, Luigi Pirandello e le arti figurative, in Legami e corrispondenze. Immagini e parole attraverso il 900 romano, exhibition catalogue edited by F. Pirani, G. Raimondi, Palombi Editori, Rome 2013, pp. 303-319.

Exhibition catalogue: Cézanne e gli artisti italiani del '900, curated by M.T. Benedetti, ed SKIRA, Milan, 2013

Exhibition catalogue: Pittura Italiana... e altre storie minori ed. Castelvecchi, Rome 2015

Exhibition Catalogue: Fausto Pirandello: 1889-1975, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, July 2015

Exhibition Catalogue: Angelo Mosca, "Me e Pirandello" in collaboration with  Fondazione Fausto Pirandello. Galleria Six,  from  April to 20 May 2017 Essay by  Michele Tocca. Curated by Chiara Bertoni and Angelo Mosca


Exhibition Catalogue: Museo della follia curated by Vittorio Sgarbi, and Sara Parravicini, 2017

Exhibition catalogue: Fausto Pirandello e il cenacolo di Anticoli Corrado, in memory of Pierluigi Pirandello, 2018

Exhibition catalogue: Fausto Pirandello " Corpi" Galleria Six , Milano 2020

Exhibition catalogue: Fausto Pirandello Il Dramma Della Pittura  MART, Rovereto, 2023

Fondazione Fausto Pirandello

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