pencil and charcoal. 17.5 x 25cm. signed twice, u/r: probably original but rubbed, l/r: Nino Franchina
This compelling night scene with reflected lights and white buildings in a body of water is thought to be a work of the artist's earliest period, perhaps the late '20's or early '30's. Though Franchina was years from the futurist sculptor of renown, he was quite accomplished at a very early age and already had exhibited in Sicily (where he had moved as a young child) and in Florence. By 1934 he had received his diploma in sculpture from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Palermo. In the same year he became one of the Gruppo dei Quattro along with his Sicilian contemporaries Renato Guttuso, Giovanni Barbera and Lia Pasquilino Noto. Together they left for Milan. In 1937 in Rome, Franchina met Carlo Carra . Shortly thereafter he met Lucio Fontana and Fausto Melotti. Amongst these innovators, Nino thrived. With Guttoso he became part of the group, known as Corrente. A new period began in 1938 with his move to Rome. There he met the fururist Gino Severini and married his daughter in 1939. With his family, the artist lived mostly on the via Magutta in Rome, though he did spend a few years in Paris acclimating himself to Picasso and others. Over the course of his successful career, he exhibited at many galleries. Today his home and studio in Rome is an archive of Franchina and Severina, run in part by a daughter.
Though not especially known in the US, Franchina is widely admired in Italy. In 1994, the Prada Foundation in Milan produced an exhibition of his work entitled NINO FRANCHINA: FERRO E FUOCO. It "featured his large iron constructions with aerodynamic forms and informal matrixes."1
Topazia Alliata (see provenance) was an independent noblewoman, a painter, gallerist, curator, ardent travellor, an elegant woman and a sportswoman. She lived to the age of 102 until 2015. She had been an Academy colleague of Franchina, Guttoso, Lia Pasqualino Noto, and Giovanni Rosone, all of whose work she showed at her gallery in Rome.
see Fondazione Prada web-site.