Giulio Turcato, “Autoritratto,” Bolaffi Arte (March 1981), pp. 66 – 69.       

By Costanza Beltrami

Painter Giulio Turcato died on 22 January 1995 in Rome. Born in 1912 in Mantua, he studied in Venice before working for the “Novecento” architect Giovanni Muzio in Milan. In this period, he was influenced by Mario Mafai, founder of the expressionistic group Scuola Romana, and later settled in the capital, where he befriended Emilio Vedova and Renato Guttuso.

After World War II he became involved in the artistic debate that opposed realist and abstract artists, leading him to explore pure form and color through a post-Cubist vocabulary and a palette inspired by Henri Matisse. He initially attempted to reconcile these qualities with figurative representation, but later turned to non-geometric abstraction as a member of the Fronte nuovo delle arti (New Art Front) group. Nevertheless, the titles of his works reveal a continuing interest for political and social themes, as in the Revolutions, Public Meetings, Factories and Mines series.

Turcato was always open to a variety of different influences, as is clear from his production of the 1960s and 70s. First, he joined the Continuità (Continuity) group and began a deep investigation of different media and materials, ranging from collages of sand and asphalt, to paintings in phosphorescent pigment on rough sheets of foam rubber. From 1963, he experimented with monochrome paintings. Then in the 1970s, he built paintings and wooden structures employing circular, triangular and oval forms and fluorescent colors. He continued working on abstract compositions until his death in 1995, a few months after the closure of The Italian Metamorphosis: 1943-1968, a major exhibition held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York to celebrate the creativity of Turcato and the post-war art world.   

References: Antonello Negri. “Turcato, Giulio.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online,; Archivio Giulio Turcato,

Giulio Turcato in his study at Via Margutta 48, Rome, 1955. Giulio Turcato Archive.

Self Portrait, 1981, oil on canvas. Giulio Turcato Archive.

Composition with Factory, 1947, oil on canvas. Giulio Turcato Archive.

Political Meeting, 1948, oil on canvas. Giulio Turcato Archive.

Miciurin’s Garden, 1953, oil on canvas. Giulio Turcato Archive.

Lunar Surface (three versions), 1968-9, oil and mixed media on foam rubber. Giulio Turcato Archive.

The Door, 1969, painted wood. Giulio Turcato Archive.

The Tunnel, 1970, oil on canvas. Giulio Turcato Archive.

Dissimilar, 1988, oil and mixed media on canvas. Giulio Turcato Archive.

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