This sweeping monograph of approximately 1700 works, curated by Tino Gipponi and Elena Pontiggia, reveals Franco Francese's intense and tormented activity.
“The painter has to rediscover the dignity of the thinker, the intuition of the prophet” Franco Francese, Diario intimo, 1943.
The series of drawings he produced during the war, from 1940 to 1945, would be sufficient in themselves to earn Franco Francese a place in the history of 20th-century art. Sufficient for their exceptional intensity of expression. And sufficient because, with those works, Francese authoritatively filled a space left empty in the Italian panorama of the period, even though the significance of his work has been recognized by only a few critics, and not by historians, who usually overlook him in their reconstructions of the decade. This volume has at last fulfilled an aspiration that is not just our own, that of the admirers and collectors of Franco Francese and myself in particular in my capacity as executor of his will, but also of the artist himself, who in the last years of his life had cherished the idea-in spite of the many promises made to him that were not kept-of seeing the works most representative of a career that spanned over sixty years summed up and documented in an extensive and systematic catalogue. Indeed, as far back as 1976, he had expressed in his diary the desire to “bring out a first quasi-anthological publication, but in any case more comprehensive than the previous ones.” In an entry made in his diary in 1945, he confessed: “I am not seeking anything but to be a man. This is what all my efforts of learning, of self-education, of creative capacity aspire to. To being a man even before an artist” Franco Francese.