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 Bruno Lucchesi  (1926 - )

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: sculptor-genre figure

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A genre and figure sculptor, Bruno Lucchesi is known for his contemplative female figures and genre figure groups that "capture the fullness of life in the simplest details. (Reynolds 218)

Lucchesi was born in 1926 in Lucca, Italy, and was raised near Pisa in the small town of Fibbiano Montaino. He worked as a shepherd and then studied at a monastery in Lucca. During World War II, he was much influenced by a Yugoslavian sculptor who persuaded Lucchesi's peasant family to allow him to attend the Art Institute of Lucca. Following his studies there, he worked in Florence making commercial models and taught sculpture at the Academy of Florence.

In 1959, he emigrated with his new wife to New York City, and got a job making ceramics and mannequins. But it was his small genre sculptures that brought him attention, first in Greenwich Village, and by the 1960s, he was exhibiting at the Forum Gallery and the Whitney Museum.

Some of his pieces such as "Jacob's Ladder" and the "Annunciation" reflected his Judao-Christian heritage and others such as "The Trojan Women" touched on Classical topics. He also did monuments such as "Rapbell" and outdoor sculpture such as "Park Bench" as well as figure groups including mothers who were nursing their babies, men in public baths, and nuns enjoying themselves in conversation.

He taught at the New School for Social Research and National Academy of Design where he became an Associate member in 1965, and an Academician in 1975. He divides his time between Italy and America, conducting sculpture workshops in the United States.

Lucchesi received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and gold medals from the National Academy and National Sculpture Society. He was awarded honorary doctoral degrees from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts, and Cedar Crest College.

His works are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of the City of New York, and Brooklyn Museum, all in New York City; as well as in Washington, D.C., at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Smithsonian Institution; in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Museum of Fine Art; in Texas, the Dallas Museum of Art; and, in Sarasota, Florida, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

The work and sculptural practices of Bruno Lucchesi have been published in four books with text by Margit Malmstrom: "Sculptor of the Human Spirit", "Terracotta", "Modeling the Figure in Clay", and "Modeling the Head in Clay".

His work was exhibited in Connecticut in 2003 at the Art Place, Yale Physicians Building, New Haven, and the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, Old Lyme.

Source:
http://www.yalemedicalgroup.org/artplace/may03/brunolucchesi.html
Donald Martin Reynolds, "Masters of American Sculpture"




Biography from Cavalier Galleries Inc.:
Born in 1926 in the village of Fibbiano Montanino, Lucca, Italy, Bruno Lucchesi has been called “the last of the Renaissance sculptors.” As a boy, he worked as a shepherd, his first artistic imaginings demonstrated in designs he would carve out of sticks while tending the sheep. At ten years old, he left his home village to study at a monastery in Lucca, where he had his first exposure to sculpture as an art form.

After a few years, he returned home to work on the family farm, throughout the Second World War. During this time he met a Yugoslavian refugee artist, who took Lucchesi under his wing, teaching him the basics of drawing and encouraging him to pursue more formal training. Lucchesi did so, enrolling in the Art Institute of Lucca in 1947, and completing the classical training there in 1950. Subsequently, the twenty-four-year-old Lucchesi moved to Florence and continued to study sculpture, working for the Paternino Reproduction Company, where he made ceramic models of various types of figures for the tourist trade and invented a new technique termed sfoglia, used for creating realistic folds and texture in clothing.

He was appointed assistant professor of architecture at the Art Academy in Florence and so began a teaching career, which would continue in the United States, at the New School for Social Research and the National Academy of Design.

It was 1958 when Lucchesi, with his young wife and child, moved to New York City where his wife’s parents lived. In his first year in America, Lucchesi worked a variety of jobs, finding little time for his own work and a scarcity of commission opportunities available. He took to making small sculptures in his spare time, which he began selling through his father-in-law’s frame shop in Greenwich Village. His work soon found a faithful group of followers and he began to earn his living from sales of his artwork.

In 1959, Lucchesi won the Helen Foster Barnett Prize for Sculpture from the National Academy of Design and the following year had his sculpture "The Bather" selected for inclusion in the Whitney Annual, an annual exhibition of contemporary painting and sculpture at Whitney Museum of American Art. He returned to Florence, to focus exclusively on his work for one year, coming back to New York City in 1961 to a one-man show at the newly-opened Forum Gallery. His relationship with Forum Gallery would continue for the next several decades, with a total of nine solo exhibitions during that time span.

1962 brought Lucchesi a Guggenheim fellowship (1962-1963) and his first U.S. commission for a frieze at the National Westminster Bank USA of New York. The following decades included a succession of awards and prominent commission work, including four Gold Medals for sculpture: two from the National Academy of Design (1970, 1974), one from the National Arts Club (1963) and another from the National Sculpture Society (1977).

Commissioned sculptures by Bruno Lucchesi can be found at churches in Lucca, Italy, office buildings in Manhattan and various other locations throughout the U.S. and Italy. His work is included in the following collections: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Columbia Museum, Columbia, South Carolina; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas TX; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; National Academy of Design, New York, NY; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, UT; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, among others.

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