Italian talent: the Broggini family
Italian talent: the Broggini family

I have a wonderful story to tell you about an Italian family, and when these three words come together, — history + family + Italy — the equation almost automatically equals talent.

And here talent is aplenty.

We’re talking about one of the greatest post-war Italian artists: Luigi Broggini, whose son Stefano did us the honor of hosting us.

I was touched by the warm welcome he and Daniela gave us. Listening to their anecdotes felt like experiencing first-hand a truly epic story through the dawn and development of the Italian artistic avant-gardes in the post-war period.

It was a thrill to listen to Stefano tell us about when he was a child and spent the summers with his father in Albissola. It felt like being there, in the ’50s sitting at the table in the town bar of Albissola Mare and talking with Lucio Fontana “and his entourage.”

Can you picture the scene?

Lucio Fontana, as handsome as can be, his hair slicked back, with Luigi Broggini, sitting sipping a drink “with his entourage” of young ladies, aspiring young artists and intellectuals.

Shall we try to identify some of the members of the entourage, traveling with our imaginations back in time? Could they have been Riviera habitués, like Italo Calvino and Eugenio Scalfari?

Or maybe some the other artists with whom they shared the legendary Pozzo Garitta ceramic factory? These include masters the caliber of Alberto Sughi, Agenore Fabbri, Aligi Sassu, Emilio Scanavino, and Asger Jorn.

Stefano told us another anecdote about the ceramic factory. Do you know the one-time nickname of its founder Bartolomeo Tortarolo?

Everyone called him “Il Bianco” [“White”] because, naturally, he always wore white.

So, in the morning he was busy creating masterpieces in the kiln ,and in the evening living the dolce vita of the Ligurian Riviera in his white linen suit and Panama hat …

Italian talent: the Broggini family
Italian talent: the Broggini family

The dreamy vision continues with Stefano’s stories, like the one about the Venice Biennale of ’62. With his father Luigi and Alberto Giacometti “always wrapped in a cloud of smoke,” he strolled among their works exhibited in two adjacent rooms in that year’s Biennale.

I could keep going and tell you about Broggini’s “difficult” relationship with his teacher Adolfo Wildt; the eternal conflict between the talented student and his master.

Or the time when his father turned away a customer just because “he needed at least seven works…,” inconceivable for someone like him who was used to making single pieces.

We can say that Luigi Broggini was exactly the opposite of the prototype of the contemporary artist: brilliant, independent, not a slave to money, passionate about his profession, sincere and reserved.

Remember that only recently, thanks to the efforts of his son, it became known that it was Luigi Broggini who created the famous logo of ENI, the Italian energy company: the legendary six-legged dog.

He had always kept that fact hidden …

That’s all for now. I want to publicly thank the Broggini heirs, a pure example of Italian talent. I look forward to the next time I will tell you another beautiful Italian story.

Italian talent: the Broggini family
Italian talent: the Broggini family