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Bepi Romagnoni (Milan 1930 - Capo Carbonara 1964)

Bepi Romangnoni was born in Milan in 1930 and died prematurely in 1964.
After attending the Scuola del Nudo and the Brera Academy, his work initially adhered to the acerbic and tormented ways of realism, which perhaps continued to carry within it memories of his involvement in “Corrente”. Later, in certain harsh urban panoramas, he appeared to move closer to the desolation of Vespignani, or to the angular brusqueness that soon became the signature style of Bernard Buffet. After the mid-1950s, he accentuated the gestural component of his work, which now resembled that of Bacon and the surrealism of Sutherland. Both were well known to the young Milanese generations of the time. 
It was also around this time that Romagnoni, always leery of the ideologies to which he thought “social realism” had succumbed and become ensnared, helped form a group with several of his peers (Ceretti, Guerreschi, Vaglieri…). The group, however, would never have a strong theoretical basis (“as for painting, it has become a difficult and scabrous profession”, he wrote in 1957). Nonetheless, the critic Marco Valsecchi called it a fortunate birth, defining its members as “existential realists”. Encouraged at that time by his appreciation of the paintings and drawings of Gorky and De Kooning, Romagnoni entered his brief, most mature phase from 1959 to 1961, in which indefinite, organic forms dramatically occupied saturated and airless spaces. After this another season began, which saw the artist begin to insert photographic elements in his work, returning to his initial realist vocation. But this quest was interrupted by his untimely death.

Fabrizio D'Amico