Painter and engraver

Considered one of the most important Italian figurative painters of the post-war period and one of the greatest engravers, he was born in Livorno on 22 February 1927.
After having spent his childhood in the Marche region, he began his studies to achieve scientific maturity; however, the liberation war forces the family to move to Northern Italy. It is 1944.
Moved first to Milan and then to Tradate, the young Ferroni obtained a self-taught training, also because he was hindered by his parents in choosing to devote himself to painting; however, he began to approach the Brera Academy of Arts and attended the critic Franco Passoni, Dova, Grippa and Gino Meloni, Ajmone, Merlotti, Francese, Chighine, Kodra.
The decision to settle definitively in Milan dates back to 1952, where he began to attend the group later defined as "Existential Realism" (Bankers, Ceretti, Guerreschi, Romagnoni, Vaglieri).
In 1956 together with Vaglieri, with whom he shares the study in Corso Garibaldi 89, he travels to Sicily, during which he started a new kind of realism, not yet fully independent of the prevailing social language, but already remarkable: it is the first and real turning point in Ferronian painting.
He held his first personal exhibition in 1955 at the Schettini gallery in Milan.
In 1957 he printed his first engraved plate, an etching dedicated to the theme of the suburbs. Over the course of his life, Ferroni has recorded almost three hundred plates between etchings and lithographs.
In 1963 he received the Premio Biella (ex aequo with Soffiantino) and in 1973 a special mention for the Premio del Fiorino in Florence.
1958 marks Ferroni's participation in the Venice Biennale (where he will return in 1964, 1968 and 1982). A little later is the meeting with Giovanni Testori and with Mario Roncaglia, director of the "Fante di Spade" gallery in Rome, where Ferroni exhibited on several occasions, both in Rome and later in Milan.
In 1959 he participated in the Rome Quadriennale (he will be present again in 1965, 1972 and 1999) and at the Biennial of the Mediterranean of Alexandria of Egypt. The painting of the sixties demonstrates the clear break with the social realism predicted by the critics and by the generation of Current. The first real detachment is perceived starting from the suburbs and the city views, therefore with the meditations on the figures and the objects of the study.
From 1968 to 1972 he moved to Viareggio, experiencing years of artistic and ideological crisis and inaugurating the last phase of his painting, first with portraits of gray and bleak interiors, then with analysis of simple objects cleaned by a new definition of light, which recovers and develops many of the results achieved in the early sixties.
In 1994 the Gallery of Modern Art in Bologna dedicated a huge anthology to him with a presentation by Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco.
The sign of Ferroni is really particular and takes a new artistic season that goes on until the eighties and is wedged in the following decade. As early as the sixties and seventies, he exhibited in solo exhibitions at the main Italian galleries. Gianfranco Ferroni died in Bergamo on 12 May 2001.

Selected exhibitions


2007 Milano, Sessanta incisioni, Salamon&C

2004 Reggio Emilia, Galleria d’Arte 2000 & Novecento

2003 Milano, Galleria Forni - Firenze, Fondazione di Studi di Storia dell’Arte Roberto Longhi

2002 Roma, Il Narciso Galleria d´arte contemporanea

2001 Bologna, Galleria Forni


1994 Londra, The Royal Academy of Arts - New York, Armory

1993 Oderzo,  Palazzo  Foscolo e  Barchessa,  Terza Biennale Nazionale "Alberto Martini"


1992 Milano, Galleria dell’Incisione - Milano, Studio d’arte grafica

1989 Bologna, Galleria Forni

1985 Parigi, Grand Palais


1982 Venezia, XL Biennale Internazionale d’arte

1981 Bologna, Galleria Forni

1972 Londra, The Piccadilly Gallery

1971 Parigi, Galerie Du Dragon

1970 Monaco, Galleria Gunther Franke - Stoccarda, Galleria Valentien

1968 Venezia, XXXIV Biennale Internazionale d’arte

1964 Modena, Galleria Mulina - Torino, Galleria Galatea

1963 Roma, Galleria Il Fante di Spade - Torino, Galleria Galatea

1959 Alessandria d’Egitto, IIIème Biennale d’Alexandrie des Pays Méditerranéens

Roma, VIII Quadriennale Nazionale d’Arte

1958 Roma, Galleria Elmo

1957 Milano, Galleria Bergamini

1946 Livorno, Bottega d’arte