These four oil paintings by Egidio Bonfante are part of the F.A.M from the Italian collection
From paintings of Venice, on the covers of Urban Planning and Community, up to the collage with the caps of glass bottles: the collaboration with Olivetti of a great artist of our time
The studies and the meeting with the Olivetti
Egidio Bonfante was born in Treviso on July 7, 1922. Ten years after he moved to Novara, and soon after to Milan, then follow the courses at the Brera Academy of Art College and then enrolled in the Faculty of Architecture at the Polytechnic. In the same period, from 1940 to 1946, he started attending assiduously Venice where he met several artists with whom he also occasion to paint: the Venetian city will soon become one of the main themes of his works, in which will be presented primarily using watercolors .
In 1942 he co-founded the monthly magazine of politics, literature and arts position, a few years later with Alberto Cavallari directs the monthly number of art and literature and at the same time was active as editor of A, News, Architecture, Housing, Arts .
The meeting with Olivetti in 1948, marks a turning point in his career and vocational Bonfante was commissioned by the company to study the layout for the new series of revised Community directed by Adriano Olivetti. The first issue was released in January 1949 is the beginning of an intense graphics and advertising in the corporate world.
From magazine covers to exhibitions around the world
The activity of Bonfante Olivetti makes it very fast and the graphic artist is responsible for some of the most famous and popular magazines published by Olivetti in addition to the Community, including Olivetti and Urban News, a quarterly magazine of the National Planning, conducted by Adriano Olivetti, then president of the Institute. The designs for the covers Bonfante offers are always original and sometimes unusual. May depict simple signs and symbols, or images that lead back to what is then presented in the magazine, as in the case of some numbers that Urban Bonfante illustrates Giotto’s bell tower in Florence or the houses of Amsterdam.
Olivetti Bonfante also works on several paintings wall. The first paintings date from the summer of 1952 and are carried out by the colony of Marina di Massa, the architects who designed the building asked him to decorate a wall 17 meters of the refectory and the artist performs a large painting of the sea crowded with boats and surrounded by palms and trees. The following year, he is also to decorate other walls of the colony, as a room dedicated to the rest of the children: here the artist uses images inspired by the Luna Park: the roller coaster, the Ferris wheel, carousels with horses …
The relationship with Olivetti are well established and Bonfante also deals with the design of some stores: in 1952 restructuring the showroom in Naples, where he produced a mural inspired by the architecture and the spontaneous nature of the Mediterranean in 1957 designed the store Olivetti Caracas, which also contains a mural inspired by its Venetian architecture.
A Bonfante Olivetti also entrusted the preparation of exhibitions and exhibition stands. In 1960, along with Musatti Riccardo and Renzo Zorzi, is responsible for the exhibition in memory of Adriano Olivetti in the XII Triennale di Milano. The following year, part of staging the exhibition stand Olivetti Italy ’61 to celebrate the Centennial of national unity and held in Turin. Among the most important installations are those designed by Bonfante Interorgtechnika for the fair in Moscow in 1966, for the exhibition in Copenhagen in 1969 and Olivetti for SICOB in Paris in 1972.
Advertising and assemblages
A very important contribution given by the Olivetti Bonfante consists of the advertising campaigns that the artist studied for some products, including, in the early ’70s, the calculator Divisumma 18 and the writing system Editor S14. The advertisements studied by Bonfante try to enhance certain qualities with the graphics of the products presented: for example, in the case of Divisumma 18, the artist focuses not only on elegance and design of the machine, especially on its size “portable “while to describe and represent the Editor S14 offers spectacular and captivating images to emphasize and enhance the efficiency and performance of the machine.
Also in the advertising field, in the ’70s Bonfante is also involved in various campaigns carried out during the holiday season, especially to promote the sale of certain portable typewriter, including the Letter 35. The messages proposed by the artist are immediate, easy to read and posters made by him are all characterized by a short slogan and a picture of the product, often associated with people of different ages and professions.
Bonfante is also dedicated to the achievement of some institutional advertising campaigns for Olivetti, in particular to reinforce the image of a company strongly focused on electronics and computers, to create the posters in this campaign, Bonfante inspired by the large images electronic circuit designs and is preparing a series of colorful and vibrant, able to capture the immediate attention of the public.
Towards the end of 1970, Egidio Bonfante begins to experiment with new artistic techniques. In particular, approaches to the mosaic and collage and comes to realize that those are called “assemblages” works made entirely with crown caps, the “multi-colored caps,” the soft drink consumer. In these compositions, the exhibition is dedicated to Venice and Byzantium, which inaugurates the activities of the Studio d’Ars in Milan. In recent years, Bonfante is also running a series of collages depicting the cutting process colors mosaics of the Basilica of San Marco in Venice: thus a new interpretation of Venetian architecture.
Bonfante, who worked for Olivetti until the ’80s, certainly has left an indelible mark within the company: With his great skills as an artist very creative, eclectic and unconventional, helped present the image in the world Olivetti as a company alive and dynamic. The role played by artistic and cultural Bonfante Olivetti is clear from various publications including the book published by Electa Egidio Bonfante (1996) or Egidio Bonfante, a painter at Olivetti (2003), one of the “books” of the Association Archives Olivetti on which the Director of the Archives, Eugene Pacchioli, interview the artist about his career holding Ivrea.
Bonfante the painter has presented his works in numerous exhibitions of high level, including one promoted by the Centro Culturale Olivetti in 1956 and 1976, the Olivetti showroom on display in Venice.
Egidio Bonfante died in Milan in February 2004.