Achille Beltrame was born in Arzignano, near Vicenza, in 1871. Around the age of fifteen, he moved to Milan to attend the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, where he studied under Giuseppe Bertini. In the 1880s, when he made his debut, he devoted himself mainly to history and figure paintings, following the influence he had inherited from his master.
In 1880 he won second prize in an academic competition with the painting La bicocca, now kept at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. In 1890 he painted Fracta virtus, which won him the Mylius Prize and made him known to the critics for his strong descriptive qualities.
A skilful portraitist
In 1891 he took part in the Brera Triennale with Praeludium and in 1894 with Canova in his studio, for which he won the Gavazzi prize. Some of the portraits he made in these years, which made him popular with the Lombard aristocracy, are part of the collection of the Ospedale Maggiore in Milan. Examples are those of Antonio Biffi, Cesarina Riva and Countess Durini Litta.
Although he was an esteemed landscape painter and author of scenes related to the Venetian countryside or mountains, from the 1890s onwards he worked mainly as an illustrator. In 1898, in fact, he began working with the “Domenica del Corriere”, illustrating the only two pages in colour. In the meantime, he continued to participate in exhibitions, especially in Milan and Turin.
Between landscapes and genre scenes: a lively and loose chromatism
At the Turin Triennale in 1896 he sent Returning from the park and a Head Study, while at the Exhibition two years later he presented In Montenegro. In his landscapes, even those populated by workers, peasants and merchants, there is always an anecdotal note of great narrative verve, even if his career is remembered above all for his work as an illustrator.
In 1900, one of his trips to Tunisia is recorded, which led him to produce landscapes and watercolour scenes such as Market in Tunis and Bab-Sonika Square presented at the 1912 Biennial. These images are evocative of a chromatism reminiscent of the Neapolitan school and above all of Domenico Morelli’s touch.
At the Exhibition of Lombard Watercolourists in 1920 he presented In Agordino and Evening in the mountains, while at the 1924 Biennale he sent Dyeing nets. In the 20th century he also worked as a decorator for a number of residences in Lombardy, such as Hunting with a Falcon in Villa Magni Rizzoli in 1907 and The Dance of the Hours for a building in Legnano in 1927. He died in Milan in 1945.