Felice Vellan was born in Turin in 1889. He trained first at the Accademia Albertina and then in the studio of Giovanni Guarlotti, from whom he acquired a crucial interest in the landscape genre, which was to accompany him throughout his work. Surrounded by the mountainous and rural nature of Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, he made it his favourite and distinctive subject.
Over the years, he also worked as a wall decorator and, at a young age, as an illustrator, also collaborating with the daily newspaper “La Stampa”. His first cartoons and caricatures for periodicals and magazines were the real beginning of Felice Vellan as an artist.
Naturalism: the mountains of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta
Very active not only in the field of painting, but also as a member and vice-president of the Circolo Artistico di Torino, he was also the founder of the evening school for nudes. He lives between Turin and Mazzè, a small town in the Piedmontese province, which is repeatedly found in the painter’s canvases.
His works are often characterised by a full and rich, decidedly constructive brushstroke, as can be seen especially in the depiction of snow, which is very present in the painter’s canvases. Everything is based on a descriptive but harmonious naturalism, on the choice of broad, moving views, in which colour seems to define space and light, piece by piece, not only in the works dedicated to the mountains, but also in those depicting the charming Ligurian seascapes and the landscapes of Tosca and Abruzzo, two other regions particularly dear to the artist.
In 1924 Felice Vellan exhibited Surroundings of Rivoli at the Venice Biennial and the mountain landscapes Portud, Winter Courmayeur and Winter Stream at Clavieres in Genoa. He took part regularly in the Promotrici di Torino and Genova and in 1931 he arrived at the I Quadriennale in Rome with Riviera village. At the next Quadrennial he exhibited his oil painting Country and the etching Suburbs at the 1939 Quadrennial.
Although Felice Vellan’s works are mainly linked to the mountainous territory of Piedmont and the Valle d’Aosta, there is no lack of references to distant lands, due to the author’s numerous trips to Eastern Europe, America, India and Africa, as can be seen in the paintings Schumen Bulgaria – Turkish Quarter, Country in the Interior – Rhodes, Istanbul.
In 1930 he exhibited In Engadina in Turin and in 1933 Streets of St. Moritz in winter. A painter very skilled at conveying the luminous sensations produced by reflections on the snow, he produced paintings such as Entrèves Valle d’Aosta, Winter Landscape, Iced lake of Silvaplana. He died in Turin in 1976.