Galleria Pesaro, Milan 1921; Mostra individuale retrospettiva di Libero Andreotti, Sala XXXIV, XIX Esposizione Biennale internazionale d’arte, Venice 1934; Florence 1940; Pescia 1976; San Miniato 1992, Florence 1994.
U. Ojetti, Lo scultore Libero Andreotti, in “Dedalo”, a. I, vol. 2, Milan - Rome 1920, pp 395 - 417 (titled Vela); U. Ojetti, Mostra individuale di Libero Andreotti, Galleria Pesaro, Milan 1921, p. 6; C.B., Libero Andreotti, in “Emporium”, A. XXVII, vol. LIII, n. 313, Bergamo Gennaio 1921, pp. 52-56; U. Ojetti, Mostra individuale retrospettiva, exhibition catalogue of XIX Esposizione Biennale internazionale d’Arte, Venice 1934, pp. 165, n.16; U. Ojetti, Andreotti e il ritratto, in “Pan” review of letters, art and music directed by Ugo Ojetti, A. II, vol. 2, n. 6, 1 giugno Rizzoli e C. Milano, Florence, Rome 1934, pp. 191 - 202; R. Monti, La misura di Libero Andreotti, exhibition catalogue curated by R. Monti, Villa Sismondi, Pescia 1976, n. 47 (titled Modella che fugge); R. Monti, Libero Andreotti, Roma Editalia 1977; C. Marsan, Libero Andreotti, in the exhibition catalog Il Novecento italiano, curated by R. Bossaglia and others, Milan Palazzo della Permanente 12 January - 27 March 1983, pp. 241 - 244, in part. p. 242; Gipsoteca Libero Andreotti, curated by O. Casazza, graphics Il fiorino, Pescia 1992, pp. 48,114 e 115; M. Fagioli, Come un paese nella pupilla. Paesaggio e figura nell’arte a Firenze tra le due guerre,exhibition catalogue, Conservatorio di Santa Chiara San Miniato, 1992; S. Lucchesi, Caro Andreotti... in Libero Andreotti. Sculture e disegni, Galleria Damiano Lapiccirella, Florence 1994, p. 34; C. Pizzorusso, Sigilli di bronzo, in C. Pizzorusso e S. Lucchesi, Libero Andreotti trent’anni di vita artistica. Lettere allo scultore, L. S. Olschki editore, Verona 1997, p. 76; R. Monti, Prologo: fonti e consonanze, in La cultura europea di Libero Andreotti, exhibition curated by S. Lucchesi and C. Pizzorusso, Florence, Museo Marino Marini, 12 October 2000 - 13 January 2001, Silvana Editoriale, Cinisello Balsamo, 2000, p. 24.
Also known as “La Vela”, this work was published in the catalogue of the exhibition held at Pescia in 1976 under the title Modella che Fugge [Model Running Away], the same one adopted for a 1921 article in the magazine “Emporium”. In 1936, this sculpture was listed in a letter from Fernanda Ojetti to Margherita Carpi, Andreotti’s wife, among the twenty-three works of the sculptor in Ojetti’s collection at the Villa Salviatino;1 two other casts are known (the Rizzarda collection in Milan and the Stavropulos collection in Trieste) as well as a plaster cast kept at the Gipsoteca Andreotti in Pescia (inv. no. AFCP 46 G15). Returning to Florence at the outbreak of World War I, Andreotti, mindful of the positive acclaim garnered for Donna Vittoria in 1908 at the Romagnola Art Exhibition, approached Ojetti. The return to his homeland gave the sculptor the opportunity to combine the figurative heritage acquired in his Parisian years with hints of works he had known since his youth: Donatello, Jacopo della Quercia, and the 15th-century reliefs of Lucca Cathedral. Due to this leaning, he was ranked by Ojetti among those who were going to renew Italian sculpture by looking to the grand Renaissance tradition.
In Italy, the sculptor brought to life figures of boys and girls engaged in simple tasks: sellers of fish, melons and other fruit; young women picking cherries, apples or lemons, sitting, moving, or... fleeing.
A quasi-private sculpture “enclosed in a specific dimension....such that it never looms over the viewer in a stifling relationship.”2LaVela is one of those works in which the process of simplifying and subtracting form is more evident than ever, which would eventually lead Andreotti to the extreme result of Affrico e Mensola (1933), one of the happiest of his productions, a fine example of his new inspiration, which addressed small domestic and daily stories “carried out concisely in very dense forms”,3 a counterpoint of the monumental sculpture which ours would soon vie with, to Ojetti’s delight. Asian somatic traits can be discerned in the face of the figure, while the pose denotes an interest in oriental dance and movement, studied in Paris in the movements of the famous Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky in Scheherazade or, closer to, when he observed the dancer dancing in his studio depicted in Danzatrice con i cembali (1911), in La danzatrice con i grappoli d’uva (1912), and La Danzatrice con la maschera di Medusa (1912).
In an article dedicated to Andreotti in 1920, in the second issue of “Dedalo”, Ojetti noted the “new sentiment” of his sculpture, perceiving in the works made after his return to Italy “a wholly Tuscan composure” in which “the planes follow one another and respond cleanly and decisively like well-chosen, well-pronounced words”, rather than the “swelling” and “chubbiness” that he had found in the sculptures of the last Parisian period. In that article he also mentioned La Vela(Donna che Fugge) as the only figure in motion, while the others “...stand firm on their legs or sit securely or crouch, always sure of their balance so that the gesture of the arms or hands or the expression of the face is almost [like] a branch or flower on top of a splendid trunk, or a frieze topping a stolid piece of architecture. Almost all the women and the abundant folds of their skirts skilfully distributed in large masses, so as to support and almost comment on the displacement of the face, arms, and torso....” This sculpture was listed among those exhibited in 1921 at Andreotti’s first one-man show in Italy, at Lino Pesaro’s gallery in Milan. It was also one of the works exhibited in the retrospective one-man show Mostra individuale retrospettiva di Libero Andreotti, in Room XXXIV of the 19th Venice Biennale of Art Exhibition in 1934.
- Giovanna Caterina De Feo
1 Silvia Lucchesi provides the list of Andreotti's works at Salviatino: La Ciliegiara, Venditrice di frutta, Venere moderna, Il Perdono (bronzo), Il Perdono (terracotta dorata), Donna che si fa la treccia, Donna che fugge, Danzatrice con i cembali, Danzatrice, La limonara, La mosca, Giovane madre, Ragazzo con melone, Ritratto di Paola Ojetti (1916), Ritratto di Paola Ojetti (1932), Il Pesciaiolo, La nascita di Venere, Venditrice di mele, La mona- china, Donna sul sacco, e le medaglie: Ritratto di Paola Ojetti, Il Salviatino, e il Ritratto di Giovan Battista Ray. (C. Pizzorusso e S. Lucchesi, Libero Andreotti trent’anni di vita artistica. Lettere allo scultore, L. S. Olschki editore, Verona 1997, p. 173n.)
2 R. Monti, La misura di Libero Andreotti, exhibition catalogue curated by di R. Monti, Villa Sismondi, Pescia 1976, s.p
3 C. Pizzorusso e S. Lucchesi, Libero... (1997), op. cit., p. 75