Luigi Broggini

Luigi Broggini

Luigi Broggini (Cittiglio, Varese, 1908 – Milan, 1983) was a sculptor, painter, and ceramist.

He studied at the Brera Academy together with Lucio Fontana.

He was a student of Adolfo Wildt, though he did not take up his teacher’s symbolist legacy. While Wildt’s works are smooth and polished, Broggini’s works are defined by their vibrant, unfinished material. (See our bronze Dancer sculpture).

He was influenced by Giuseppe Grandi and Medardo Rosso.

He delved into the use of material starting in the early 1930s after several educational trips to Paris, Belgium, and Switzerland.

In 1930, he spent a period in Rome and came into contact with the artists of the Scuola Via Cavour movement who left a clear impression on him with their intense expressionism.

In 1933, he had a solo exhibition at the Galleria delle Tre Arti in Foro Bonaparte in Milan, designed by Edoardo Persico and presented by Luciano Anceschi.

He began teaching sculpture at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts and later at the Brera Academy.

Luigi Broggini and the Corrente movement

In 1940, the Galleria il Milione in Milan put on a solo exhibition for him, and, in the same year, the first monograph for his work was published. During the Fascism era, he frequented liberal circles in town and forged a relationship with Edoardo Persico, actively participating in the Corrente group.

This movement grew in Milan between 1938 and 1943, uniting artists from different cultural backgrounds with the common objective of opening up to modern European culture and rejecting the cultural isolation imposed by fascist politics.

In 1941, he held a solo exhibition at the Bottega di Corrente but he was arrested for subversive activity in the same year.

He joined the Corrente group.

In 1943, he won the Spiga Award.

World War II interrupted Luigi Broggini and Bianco d’Albisola’s fruitful collaboration, which then resumed in 1945 when Broggini designed some polychrome sculptures depicting female nudes.

In the postwar period, his ceramics took on a peaceful, introspective aspect, imbued with a powerful naturalistic character that defined his entire artistic production in those years.

Broggini shares the space between realist and abstract movements with other sculptors such as Sandro Cherchi, Giovanni Paganin, and Raffaele De Grada and the art critics, Giuseppe Marchiori and Morosini.

At least until 1953, he lived in a certain isolation the postwar period despite the group exhibitions and participation in the Venice Biennale in 1950.

Broggini felt rather distant from the realism that had an ideological, social foundation, which many of the old friends from the “Corrente” shared.

This isolation was relative, and he was aware of it, attributing it to the particularities of his own character and hermit nature.

Luigi Broggini and the ceramic

In these years, he started working passionately with ceramics, making vases, plates, tiles, and floor decorations.

When introducing his ceramics at the Galleria dell’Annunciata, he remarked that he had never disdained decoration. For Broggini, every piece he created was a commitment that took his full attention, like any other work. Ceramic that was shaped and coated with glazing was an opportunity to use color in a very straightforward way.

His poetic approach to this subject is evident in his terracotta nudes covered with tanniferous glaze, a many-parted series that includes, in addition to the “Ovale con tre nudi,” [Oval with three nudes] “Quattro nudi con pavone e frutta” [Four nudes with peacock and fruit] both from 1953, and “Tre nudi” [Three nudes] and “Nudi e centauro” [Nudes and centaur], from the following year.

In 1950, he had a solo exhibition at the Galleria Gian Ferrari in Milan.

He is the creator of the Supercortemaggiore for the famous Italian gas company ENI, the “Six-legged dog,” presented in a special competition in 1952. The designer Giuseppe Guzzi was credited with the sketch. Broggini never admitted having created it, and it was attributed to him only after his death based on research and his son’s account.

In 1956, he was awarded the Fila prize.

At the Quadrennial of Art in Rome in 1959, there was a room was exclusively for his works.

On April 8, 1959, Luigi Broggini received the Parigi Prize at the Hotel Quirinale in Rome. The award’s jury included Raymond Cogniat, Bernard Dorival, Alberto Giacometti, Alfred Manessier, and Eduard Pignon, supported by the cultural attaché of the Italian embassy in Paris, Luigi Ferrarino, and the art historian Enzo Carli.

In 1962, he was invited to exhibit his work at the Venice Biennale of Art.

His last documented work, “Figura con cavallo” [Figure with horse], dates to 1974.

Luigi Broggini died in Milan in 1983.

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