Giovanni Novaresio (1919-1997) was trained in the Thirties at the Ligustica Academy of Fine Arts in Genoa. Militant of the Resistance, testifies the opposition to the regime also in the artistic choices: Novaresio becomes in fact one of the major representatives of the Genoese avant-garde and in the post-war period he directed the “Genova e l’Isola” gallery with Sandro Cherchi.

From 1954 to 1960 he lived and worked for long periods in Somalia, a land that he considers his second homeland and which inspires the most original works, so much so as to be nicknamed “Giovanni l’Africano”.

After returning to Italy, he focuses mainly on abstract experimentations. He continues to work tirelessly even in recent years, continuing to deepen his artistic research.



Novaresio already testifies from the first works a decisive ideological awareness of regime art: as Germano Beringheli will write in 1974, the artist expresses himself through “an expressionist projection interpolated on volumes, drawings and even the color of a Scipio and a Mafai filtered however for some “Current” profiling.

In the fifties he confronted the neocubist culture “Involved in the post-war ideological quarrel between realism and abstractionism, Novaresio actually decided to escape from it by looking at an art of shapes that had an aesthetic and non-political reference in Picasso, dealing with very simplified figurative subjects. and far from realist rhetoric, at the same time cultivating an experimental interest for geometric abstraction. “(Leo Lecci, 1992). His most characteristic works, however, are inspired by his long stay in Somalia: the depictions of “solid and vague young Somali, of noble shepherds in rough clothes and elegant and primitive motherhood” (Claudia Andreotta, 2017) unite in a unique emotional and formal synthesis.

In Somalia he also makes impressive public works, such as the Parliament Hall in Mogadishu (1960), known as the “Sistine Chapel of the Somalis”. He will continue to paint the African subjects throughout his career, but also dedicating himself to the landscape and the portrait.

From the seventies he resumed the geometric constructions experimented in the juvenile period, coming to undo the forms in tangles of signs and in a vivid explosion of color.

Events Timeline


In the course of his career, Novaresio hosts numerous solo exhibitions and participates in collective exhibitions in Italy and abroad (Rome, Milan, Mogadishu, Johannesburg, Buenos Aires ..). Exhibitions often close with the sale of all works (Mogadishu, Museo della Garesa, 1956). In 1960 he received the honor of seeing the Vision of Kariba at the Rhodes National Gallery in Salisbury inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth of England. In 2014 the anthological Giovanni Novaresio Works: 1939-1997 at the Genoa Academy of Fine Arts in Genoa led to the rediscovery of the artist and the recognition of his fundamental role in the history of Ligurian art of the twentieth century.



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