Guido Gambone: Ceramics from the '50s and '60s
This book is published by Magazzino Italian Art Foundation on the occasion of the exhibition Guido Gambone: Ceramics from the ‘50s and ‘60s, curated by Enrico Camponi and Vittorio Calabrese at the Consulate General of Italy in New York, September 10 – October 10, 2019.
To read the full catalog, click on the image of the cover.
Essay and Artwork Descriptions
Nancy Olnick & Giorgio Spanu
Editing, Editorial and Production Management
For translations from Italian to English of Enrico Camponi’s essay and artwork descriptions, Elena Longo’s Guido Gambone biography and the artwork descriptions: Chiara Mannarino and Giulia Anabasi
Art - Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions
Magazzino Italian Art Foundation
Waterhouse Cifuentes Design
8.5 x 5.6 (21.6 x 14.2 cm)
Library of Congress Control Number
© 2020 Magazzino Italian Art Foundation
About the Artist
Guido Gambone was born to Gaetano and Teresa Volpe on June 27, 1909 in Montella, near Avellino. When he was a teenager, he moved with his family to Vietri sul Mare, a town well known for the production of commonly used ceramics. At fifteen, despite his father's opposition, he left the gymnasium to become an apprentice in the ceramic factory of Francesco Avallone.
From the very beginning, Gambone was influenced by the style imported by German ceramists active in the Ceramics Industry of Salerno (C.I.S.), founded by the entrepreneur and ceramist Max Melamerson. In 1947, Gambone exhibited at the 8th Triennale di Milano, in which he participated from 1951 to 1960, and the 6th National Ceramics Competition in Faenza, in which he consistently participated and presented the panel with the allegory “Italian Republic at work” (Faenza, International Museum of Ceramics). The following year, as part of the VII National Competition, the artist won the Faenza prize thanks to a cup with abstract ornaments in brown and yellow on white. In 1949, he won the Faenza prize again, but ex aequo with Anselmo Bucci. In 1950, Gambone took part in the 25th Venice Biennale with Nudo sul dorso (ceramic) and the Ratto di Europa tile (Florence, Gambone heirs). In the same year, he was among the ceramists called to represent Italian craftsmanship in the traveling exhibition “Italy at work. Her renaissance in design today,” organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and by the National Artisan Company, with the collaboration of the most important American museums and the Italian government.
Also, in 1950, when the Faenzarella factory was closed, the artist, together with D'Arienzo and Vincenzo Procida, moved permanently to Florence, where he opened a factory that took his name. In the laboratory of the Palazzo dei Diavoli, on via B. Marcello, Gambone, now far from the experience of Vietri, directed his style towards the plastic values of the vasaria art and, introducing the use of grès ceramics, exceeded the limits of the decorative aspect.
In the 1950s, Gambone, in addition to taking part in many international ceramic exhibitions (D'Andria, 1986-88, p. 519), held a personal exhibition at the Il Milione gallery in Milan, in 1951; two years later, he exhibited at the Strozzina Gallery in Florence and, in 1954, participated in the 12th National Ceramics Competition in Faenza and won the G. Ballarini Award thanks to two grèsceramic pieces, La madre and Donna distesa (both kept at the International Ceramics Museum of Faenza), which highlight his interest in a Cubist-style synthesis. In fact, the production of this period demonstrates the artist’s orientation towards many different aspects of Modern and Contemporary Art, from Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and Joan Miró to the painting of Giorgio Morandi.
In the 1960s, Gambone continued to prefer grès ceramics, which he combined with the most varied types and which allowed him an in-depth research on the effects of rough surfaces. If particular attention is paid to objects of common use, such as vases, bowls, flasks and bottles, the study of anthropomorphic motifs reveals an elaboration that takes into account only the plastic aspect. The free exaltation of shapes and the plastic play of the object will reach substantially aniconic results, for example, in the large white panel Arrotondamenti (Florence, Gambone heirs) which was awarded a prize in Faenza in 1967.
Gambone won the Faenza award again in 1959, 1960, 1961 (XVII, XVIII and XIX National Ceramics Competition). In 1960, he also won the gold medal at the 5th edition of the Mastro Giorgio award (Gubbio) and, the following year, that of the autonomous National Exhibition of Artisanal Crafts (Florence). In 1962, he was awarded the gold medal at the 10th National Ceramics Competition (the prize-winning work was acquired for the International Ceramics Museum in Faenza), and he participated in the 4th International Ceramics Art Competition of Gualdo Tadino, where he was awarded ex aequo with A. Hovisari and G. Dragoni. Also, in 1962, he participated in the International Exhibition of Contemporary Ceramics in Prague, obtaining the gold medal. In 1963, he won, ex aequo with L. Assirelli, the Città di Cervia award, which he also won in 1964 (ex aequo with B. Bagnoli and G. Dragoni). Also, in 1963, he presented two pieces “of real and informal sculpture” (Zetti Ugolotti) in Monza as part of the ceramic competition. The following year, he participated in the collective exhibition “Italian Art Ceramics,” held in Rome at Penelope Gallery. In 1968, he took part with a grès ceramic work at the 14th Milan Triennale.
The artist passed away in Florence on September 20, 1969.
About the Contributors
Enrico Camponi was born in Rome in 1950 and has been involved in decorative arts since the early 1980s. Over the years, he has had a gallery specializing in Murano glass and Italian ceramics from the 1900s, with particular attention to the ceramics of Vietri sul Mare from the 1920s to the 1950s.
He has contributed to the creation of important private collections both in Italy and abroad and has collaborated with the Raito Museum of Vietri sul Mare, completing the collection with 350 pieces from his own collection. Camponi has also enriched the collection of the Ceramics Museum of Faenza with 23 important works by artists who worked in Vietri between the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s. He has held numerous exhibitions of works by Guido Gambone, on which he concentrated his studies, in his gallery in Rome. His search for Guido Gambone works to exhibit also led him to become a passionate collector of the artist’s works.
Vittorio Calabrese is the Director of Magazzino Italian Art Foundation. A native of Irpinia, Italy, he specializes in the management of international and cultural institutions, art business practices, collection management, and appraising. Vittorio holds a BA and MSc in Business Administration and Management from Bocconi University, Milan, and an MA in History of Art and the Art Market from Christie’s Education, New York.
He has curated several exhibitions including: Ornaghi & Prestinari, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, New York, 2016; Marco Bagnoli, Domenico Bianchi, Remo Salvadori: From the Olnick Spanu Collection, Hillyer Art Space, Washington D.C., 2017; Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino, Italian Cultural Institute, New York, 2017; Bagnoli, Bianchi, Salvadori, The Garrison Art Center, New York, 2018; Alessandro Piangiamore: Marango, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, New York, 2018; Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino, Alice Curtis Desmond & Hamilton Fish Library, New York, 2018; he was the juror for Radius 50, Woodstock Artists Association & Museum, New York, 2018. In 2019, he curated Fausto Melotti: Works from the Olnick Spanu Collection, Consulate General of Italy, New York and Renato Leotta, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, New York and Cold Spring, New York.
H.E. Armando Varricchio is the Ambassador of Italy to the United States. On March 2, 2016 Armando Varricchio presented his credentials as Ambassador of Italy to Washington, where he had previously served as Head of the Economic, Trade and Scientific Affairs Section, from 2002-2006. Prior to this, he held many high-ranking positions both within the Italian government and abroad. In particular, he specialized in European and transatlantic affairs during his years at the Italian Representation to the European Union and at the Commission. Formerly Ambassador to Belgrade, before that he served, as a young diplomat, in Budapest during the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.
While Chief Diplomatic Advisor to the Presidents of the Council of Ministers Enrico Letta and Matteo Renzi, and Deputy Diplomatic Advisor to the President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, he handled some of the most delicate international dossiers, with a particular focus on security issues. He has a specific expertise in the field of global issues, as he served as Personal Representative (“Sherpa”), at G7/8 and G20 summits both at a national and a European level.
Ambassador Varricchio graduated in International Relations from the University of Padua in 1985 (Summa con Laude), entered the Foreign Service in 1986 and was promoted to the rank of Ambassador in 2014. Prior to embarking on a diplomatic career, he worked in the private sector as Assistant to the Director of the Finance Section of the Marzotto textile Group.
He has been married to Micaela Barbagallo since 1987, and has two sons, Federico and Umberto. An avid reader, he enjoys cinematographic arts and various sports. Ambassador Varricchio has been bestowed with the highest Italian award, Knight of the Grand Cross, as well as with numerous honors from foreign countries.