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Nella Marchesini (Marina di Massa 1901 - Turin 1953)

Nella Marchesini was born in Marina di Massa on 6 October 1901 and moved with her family to Turin in 1911 where she then lived all her life.
She immediately became involved with the supporters of Piero Gobetti, becoming a close friend of his wife Ada who, after his death, married Ettore Marchesini, Nella’s brother. It was Piero who introduced her in 1920 to Felice Casorati in whose studio she did her initial training. Together with Silvio Avondo, she was part of the first nucleus of the famous Scuola di Casorati, which the artist had established in his studio in Via Mazzini and which grew over the years achieving a large following of students. Her work was first shown in 1921 together with that of Casorati and Avondo in a graphics exhibition at the Galleria Centrale of Turin. Her public appearances were always in the context of exhibitions organized around Casorati and his school. Starting in 1927 she began to participate actively in the Società Promotrice delle Belle Arti in Turin. In 1928 she exhibited three works at the Venice Biennale, one of which was La famiglia which was later purchased by Gualino. In 1930 she married the painter Ugo Malvano and gradually reduced her participation at the Scuola di Casorati and exhibited less frequently. She did however continue at a fast pace to paint and increasingly to write both prose and verse. With the introduction of the racial laws that affected Malvano, her artistic journey became increasingly marginal and isolated. Her daily life, in a delicately sentimental vein and limited to the private sphere, was mirrored in small landscape paintings of Drusacco. In contrast, after the Second World War, there emerged an increasingly overt dramatic tension that the death of first her sister and, soon after, of her husband rendered even more heartfelt. In 1952, already in poor health, she organized a retrospective exhibition of her husband’s work and she died the following year.

Augusta Monferini