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In 1971, Novaresio moved to the small town of Godiasco (Pavia), away from the chaos of Rome: he rented an old mill and turned it into his studio.
Three years later, he exhibited again in Genoa at the Galleria Il Punto: this large retrospective traced the artist’s career from the 1940’s up to the series of paintings entitled 8 proposte per un manifesto contro la guerra [8 proposals for an anti-war manifesto], which testified the atrocities of war. He then held a traveling exhibition on the motorship Irpinia, which called at Alexandria, Beirut, Kaifa, Istanbul and Athens.
This decade began with the exhibition Omaggio alla Somalia [Homage to Somalia] at the Istituto Italo-Africano in Rome. After the exhibition, all his works were taken to the Somali Embassy to be selected but, inexplicably, they remained there for seven years. As a consequence, Novaresio was forced to give up the idea of exhibiting in Genoa and Spoleto.
In 1987, Novaresio displayed the series of essential but powerful etchings Via Crucis at the Town Hall of Voghera: the etching plates, dated 1949, were printed in only ten copies by the lithographer Miles Fiori.
The following year (1988), the artist was invited to the International Festival of Sacred Art in Spoleto, where he displayed a large altar-piece, Crocefissione [Crucifixion]. In June, the town of Voghera hosted two solo exhibitions, one at the Ex Caserma di Cavalleria, which housed the paintings returned by the Somali Embassy, and one at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the castle of Montesegale, with the artist’s most recent works.
Also during the 1990s, he continued his exhibition activity: he took part in various collective exhibitions and held a solo exhibition in Genoa (1993, Galleria S. Benigno).
On 21 July 1997, the artist died in Godiasco while working on a portrait exhibition in Fortunago (PV): the exhibition opened the following month.
During another stay in Somalia, Dag Hammarskjoeld, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, invited him to the USA, but Novaresio had a different plan in mind. He travelled through Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Congo, up to Southern Rhodesia in a big Chevrolet, with a mechanic and a lot of canvas and paints.
He stayed in Kariba, where he illustrated with tempera paintings and drawings the construction of the impressive dam. These works were displayed the following March at the Rhodes National Gallery in Salisbury.
This exhibition was included in the visit programme of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, who came for the inauguration of the dam.
Novaresio achieved a remarkable success in terms of sales (he handed over the proceeds to the refugees from Congo): even Lord Courtauld bought some of his works for the National Gallery and the University of Salisbury.
In the same period, he was commissioned to paint a panel for Nuffield College in Oxford: despite a long correspondence and various proposals, nothing came of this.
In 1961 (the year in which he painted an altar-piece for the Church of San Colombano in Ottone Soprano – Piacenza) he returned permanently to Italy. He devoted himself to the complex painting of the fresco in the Church of Santa Teresa in Albaro, Genoa: the work was completed only in 1965, because of some disagreements between the artist and the Curia. In 1963, he painted a big decorative panel portraying an abstract city for the pavilion of the national association of insurance companies at the Fiera Internazionale in Genoa.
The exhibitions of these years (Palazzo Bernini-Benzoni, Rome, and Padiglione dell’Artigianato, Sassari) testify the value of the African experience.
1954 – He left for Mogadishu, Somalia.
This was the first of a series of trips across Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Congo, Southern Rhodesia, South Africa).
Africa became for him a primary source of inspiration: there he produced several works and obtained important public commissions (such as the frescoes for the Hall of the Council of Ministers in the Somali Parliament and the mixed-media panels for the Aula Magna of the Mogadishu University). He successfully exhibited in several cities, including Johannesburg and Salisbury, where he received the visit of the Queen of England.
He also devoted himself to photography, as testified by the Album Somalo. Some of his writings date back to this period.
Like all young artists, in 1940 and 1941 Giovanni successfully participated in the Mostre Prelittoriali, organized for university students. This was a necessary step for all artists to develop their career in the structured fascist control system.
At the outbreak of war, he was enlisted in the army and sent to the French front, where he came to know about his mother’s death. He was then discharged and came back to Genoa. Thanks to the director of the Accademia, he did not return to the front.
Instead, he actively took part in the Resistance (together with his fellow student, Giacomo Buranello). He also hid the sculptor Agenore Fabbri, who was wanted by the Brigate Nere [Black Brigades].
Despite the danger, Novaresio continued to successfully exhibit (for example at the 14th Inter-provincial exhibition).
He was part of the group of artists who gravitated around the Galleria Romano but, above all, he was one of the founders of the cultural association L’Isola, which he directed together with Sandro Cherchi. The members of this association were not only interested in painting and sculpture, but also in music and theatre, organizing shows and concerts by the most important musicians of the time. They also published the magazine Sipario (edited by Ivo Chiesa): Novaresio drew the cover of the first issue and illustrated Caligula by Camus. This gallery soon became the focal point of the Avant-garde in Genoa, attracting artists such as Scanavino, Fieschi and Borella, who considered Novaresio as one of his Masters. In these years, Giovanni experienced new forms of expression, illustrating Il romanzo di Rama by Giovanna Atzori and painting the scenery for Anphitirion 38 by Girardoux, staged by Giulio Cesare Castello (1948).
He rejected the invitation to the Venice Biennale to show his solidarity with the artists who were not allowed to participate. As a member of the jury, he imposed the presence of Scanavino at the Mostra di Pittori Italiani in Argentina [exhibition of Italian artists in Argentina].
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In 2001, the Modern Art Gallery of Genoa housed the exhibition Dal mulino al museo: uno studio d’artista per la Galleria d’Arte Moderna (included among the official events for Genoa European Capital of Culture, 2004). The exhibition showed thirteen works of the artist, his working tools and his studio furnishings (donated by the family, along with a large number of paintings).
Now this reconstruction serves as an educational tool for children and adults.
The Hotel Clementi in Salice Terme devoted him a posthumous exhibition, Somalia (2006).
Since 2007, the parish of Santa Reparata in Godiasco has been temporary housing a collection of works the artist donated to the town.
In 2014, the Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti organized a retrospective, which helped in giving the artist due historical-critical recognition.
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