Giovanni Novaresio was born in 1919 in Naples, where he spent the first years of his childhood. His father, Ettore (awarded the title of Cavaliere del Lavoro) serviced in the Navy and his family moved often to follow his different assignments.
Ettore would have liked his son to follow in his footsteps, while Giovanni’s mother, Caterina, was a progressive woman who had always encouraged his artistic inclinations.
In 1926, Giovanni’s family moved to Taranto. He already showed a precocious talent and passion for painting: the father of a classmate gave him 20 lire for a small painting. That was his first commission.
Giovanni moved to Genoa in 1934.
He attended the humanistic high school (Ginnasio), then he enrolled at the Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti: the results achieved were so brilliant that his teacher, Alberto Helios Gagliardo (depicted by the artist in an effective portrait, now displayed at the Modern Art Gallery in Genoa), gave him the opportunity to progress directly to the third year. In 1939, his name appeared for the first time in a collective exhibition, the 85th exhibition of the Società Promotrice di Belle Arti.
The artist lived in Sampierdarena (an area of Genoa) at the time. There he established solid ties with the Brera and the Dallafiora families (for whom he painted several portraits and floral subjects). Through these friendships, he came to know the world of high fashion: Mrs Dallafiora worked as a dressmaker at the famous fashion house Ventura, and the Brera family owned another important fashion house. Giovanni drew appliqués for dresses and Mrs Dallafiora sewed them. Some works of that period show his attention to detail.
He opened his first studio in Via Montaldo (Sampierdarena).
In 1941 he participated in the Mostre Prelittoriali, ranking among the first positions.
He actively took part in the Resistance.
In these years, he mixed with Genoese avant-garde artists, such as Fabbri and Cherchi, creating the Galleria Genova e l’Isola, the leading cultural centre of the time in Genoa. In this context, he met Scanavino, Fieschi and Borella, who considered him as one of his Masters.
Technique: Oil on canvas
Young Man Sitted
Technique: Oil on canvas
He travelled to Marseille and Paris. However, Africa was the land of his heart, a country that had always been a fundamental source of inspiration for his art.
In 1954, he travelled to Mogadishu (Somalia). Here he painted an altar-piece of the Miracle of St Anthony for the Franciscan Church and organized a successful exhibition at the school in Kismayo.
He came back to Genoa, exhibited at the club Serenissima but, in 1955, he left again for Mogadishu. From there he went to South Africa in spring 1956: he exhibited a series of drawings at the Vanguard Gallery in Johannesburg and decorated a pavilion of the Trade Fair.
He went back to Somalia and exhibited a series of etchings at the Garesa Museum: all his works were sold. He frescoed the Hall of the Council of Ministers in the Somali Parliament, and painted some panels for the Bank of Mogadishu (1957). He illustrated Boscaglia.
Then, back in Genoa, he devoted himself to the complex task of the Album Somalo.
Back To Italy
Pictorial research from the seventies to the nineties
He chose the small town of Godiasco (PV) as his last residence, but he still kept his studios in Genoa and Milan, focusing on his artistic research. Moreover, until the 1990s, he took part in many collective exhibitions (Spoleto, Genoa) and held several solo exhibitions (Genoa, Rome, Palermo, Milan, Voghera) and a traveling exhibition on the motorship Irpinia, which called at Alexandria, Beirut, Kaifa, Istanbul and Athens.
From 1997 to nowadays
His critical success is evidenced by the many references in critical essays and by a series of posthumous exhibitions (Fortunago, Salice Terme, Certaldo, Genoa).