By Martina Tanga

Italian painter and ceramicist Ego Bianchi died 19 November 1957; he was only 43 years old. Bianchi was born Castel Boglione to peasant farmers just as the First World War began in 1914, but he spent most of his life in Cuneo, where there is now an art school named after him. Bianchi lived there with his wife, Magda Rolandone, also a painter, but unfortunately almost nothing is known about her or her work. 

Bianchi studied art at the Accademia Albertina in Turin and received early recognition for his art as he won the “Acquisition Prize” given by the Promotional Society of Fine Arts (Società Promotrice delle Belle Arti) at the 1936 Venice Biennale. Suffering from grave health issues, Bianchi’s ability to work was greatly hindered during the 1940s, probably still due to an early tuberculosis infection in his youth. He was hospitalized for several years at the Istituto Climatico di Robilante, but kept painting nonetheless. 

He painted landscapes, mainly, in a naïf style, with some cubist and fauvist inflections. Isolated from the art scene during his years in convalescence, Bianchi had no way of relating his work with that of the avant-garde in Turin or Milan, so he became his own critic. His painting shifted during the 1950s and became more abstract and poetic, as we can see in Ships in the Night, painted the same year he died of the Spanish Influenza. In addition to painting, Bianchi also worked with ceramics later on in his career. He made sculptural pieces in the Giuseppe Mazzotti Ceramics Factory in Albisola, where he met Lucio Fontana, and in Vallauris in the South of France, where he came in contact with Pablo Picasso. 

Self-Portrait, date unknown, oil on canvas

Two prisoners, 1943, oil on canvas

Ship in the night, 1957, oil on canvas

Cupid and Psyche, ca. 1950, polychrome terracotta with mythological scene

Further reading:

E. BILLO, Artigiani ed Artisti a Mondovì, Amici di Piazza; Mondovì, 1978
E. BIANCHI, Diario, 1945 – 1948
E. CABALLO, Ego Bianchi, Borgo S. Dalmazzo ott. 1971
A. BUCCOLO, Pittori locali “Ego Bianchi, Le Nostre Tor; Alba, settembre 1995
E.  PICENI, “Addio di un Pittore,” da Candido n° 3 – 19 gennaio 1958
T. MAZZOTTI, Cinquanta Ceramisti Italiani 1952-1957, Edizione Industria  Poligrafica Lombarda

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