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Edmondo Passauro

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Edmondo Passauro

( Trieste 1893 - 1969 )


    Edmondo Passauro

    Edmondo Passauro was born in Trieste in 1893. Like many Triestine artists of his generation, he trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and then perfected his skills in Paris, where he studied etching.

    Soon established as an esteemed portrait painter, he moved to Brussels where he lived for several years. Appreciated and in demand especially by the Belgian aristocracy and the rich European bourgeoisie, Passauro moved frequently between Holland, Switzerland, France and England, working for a vast audience of diplomats, politicians, ambassadors and representatives of the nobility.

    Between etching and painting

    Presented in Sibilia’s dictionary above all as an etcher and engraver, his qualities as a draughtsman rather than as a painter and tonalist are extolled, which emerge from the twenty-three etchings he presented in 1918, immediately after the war, in Trieste. “To hear Edmondo Passauro – a tall pale figure of a sorrowful young man – talk about his art with his slow, quiet, precise words, one is struck by the love he brings to the slow and difficult work of the point on metal, by the restless need of his soul to make the hard and dull metal agile and responsive to his sensations”. Karst and Istria, dry trees and slouching, suffering figures are the protagonists of his engravings, charged with symbolic values and Düreresque reminiscences, but also with Secessionist influences. In 1920, he participated in the Venice Biennale with the two etchings Summer and Ruined house.

    The portrait: the vigour of physiognomies and the observation of reality

    After these first expressions in the field of engraving, Edmondo Passauro moved on to oil painting or to experimenting with different techniques, such as pastel with tempera, especially for the execution of portraits, a genre for which, as mentioned, he is mainly known. With Portrait of a Lady he participated in the 1926 Venice Biennale, which was bought by the King and later donated to the Revoltella Museum in Trieste.

    An interpreter of pure and dry painting, with whom he shares with his fellow countryman Croatto a predilection for the lenticular observation of reality, in its estranging and ‘magical’ meaning, he presents figures with vigorous plastic strength and the same can be said for still lifes, in works that certainly feel the influence of the study of the Italian and Flemish masters of the 15th and 16th century.

    “But, we repeat, what is most surprising in this artist is the confidence with which he interprets a temperament and a character in the portraits: […] it is enough to note with what vigour the physiognomies are rendered through the play of planes and the muscular structure, to understand that Passauro has created and continues to create a world that populates ours with its light and shadows, certainly to increase its joy”. (M. Sirtori Bolis, Edmondo Passauro, in “Varietas rivista illustrata”, XXXV, 1939, 419, p. 31).

    Elena Lago


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