Francesco Musante

Born in Genoa on February 17, 1950, Francesco Musante is one of the leading Ligurian artists.

He graduated first from the Art School of the Ligurian capital and then from the Albertina branch of Fine Arts in Turin. In the seventies, in full student protest, he decided to enroll in the Faculty of Philosophy in Genoa and attend painting courses at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara. His first artistic experiments date back to 1967: they are mostly abstract researches on large fields of color.

The following year he began exhibiting his works in group exhibitions, painting competitions and prizes. The works of the 69-70s are affected by the influence of Pop Art and Rauschenberg's Combine Paintings: clear references to the U.S.A. through writings and insertions of objects and woods. Starting in 1971, he decided to become a full-time artist. Painter, sculptor and ceramist, in 1973 he made his debut with a group show and a solo show held at the Il Quadrifoglio gallery in La Spezia, the city where he moved after his marriage to Sandra. An important year that marks the beginning of his long and successful artistic career also as an engraver. In fact, since 1983 it will appear in the catalogs of the original Italian and foreign 19th century and modern engravings of the Antiques Bookshop of Dino and Paolo Prandi. Until the mid-seventies, Musante attended Turin and in particular the Sperone Gallery, he met some artists of the Arte Povera, including Penone who at the time taught at the Art School of Genoa.

In 1975 there was a change of course: Musante devoted himself to figurative painting, initially creating a series of female figures inspired by Klimt and the Viennese Secession. A theme that he will explore over ten years using the most diverse techniques - from watercolor, to oil, to collage, to engraving - and various media - canvas, wood, ceramic, plate, paper. These works will be exhibited in a series of exhibitions in Rome, Genoa, La Spezia, Milan and Odessa (USSR). In this period the cycle linked to the reading of the Anthology of Spoon River and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol was also born, a book that inspired a comic published in the magazine Imagocritica in 1980. Little by little he also began work with the graphics and watercolors where you can glimpse the first narrative and fantastic ideas that distinguish his work from 1985 until today: his "men" appear who seem to come out of a storybook and inserted in contexts full of objects, characters and words. His paintings finally emerge from "dramatic" atmospheres and lighten up, perhaps a consequence of having chosen to live and work since 1993 in the medieval village of Vezzano Ligure (SP). In 1984 he taught artistic engraving techniques in a professional course of the European Community. In 1987 the Civic Art Gallery of Vezzano Ligure hosted one of his personal exhibitions and published the volume Opera incisa 1973-87. In 1992 he exhibited in Saudi Arabia at the Consulate General of Italy in Jeddah and at the Italian embassy in Riyadh.

During his artistic career, Musante devoted himself to the illustration of various storybooks and fairy tales. More than 400 solo exhibitions have taken place since 1971. In Italy we remember those held at the Galleria Alzaia, Rome; La Nuova Sfera Gallery, Milan; Galleria Magazine, Prato; Santa Croce Oratory, Sarzana; Il Pomarancio Gallery, Sarzana, Palazzo Berghini, Sarzana; Menhir Contemporary Art, La Spezia; Spirale Arte, Verona, Milan; Artstudio, Knokke; Galleria Forni, Bologna; La Mimosa Gallery, Ascoli Piceno; Cardelli and Fontana Gallery, Sarzana; Franca Pezzoli Gallery, Clusone; Campano Museum of Capua, Capua; Fogola bookshop, Turin. Musante has participated in numerous group exhibitions at international level, including the 8th International Triennal of Committed Graphics Arts in the German Democratic Republic in Berlin (1986), various editions of the Salon de la Jeune Peinture at the Grand Palais in Paris (1987 and 1988 ), Interarte in Valencia (from 1988 to 1990), Biaf in Barcelona (1989), Lineart International Art Fair in Gent (from 1991 to 1993), The Artist and the Book in 20th Century at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1993 ), Books by Italian artists of the twentieth century at the Peggy Gugghenheim Museum in Venice (1994). Among the exhibitions we highlight the participation in the collective Waste precious. From Nouveau Réalisme to contemporary culture curated by Maurizio Vanni and inaugurated in May 2006 at the Strozzina in Florence and the solo show at the Baronial Castle of Fondi (LT) with the theme The illustrated abbecedary of dreams (2007).

He collaborated, lending his 'characters', to the creation of the theme song and the sets for the 2007 Zelig television show.

2011 saw him engaged in the execution of the sketches for the sets and costumes for the Bohème of the Carlo Felice Theater in Genoa while in 2012 it was the turn of the public exhibition at the Rocca Roveresca in Senigallia (AN).

Finally, just in these months, the artist is engaged in the design of a 100 sq m sculpture house for Telecom Italia: a traveling installation that will be exhibited starting from the summer in various Italian cities including Genoa, Bari, Pisa, Milan and Bologna.


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