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Kooness

Antonio Ligabue

1899 - 1965
zurigo, Switzerland

3 Works exhibited on Kooness

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Works by Antonio Ligabue

Antonio Ligabue was born in Switzerland, to a girl mother of Italian origin, in 1899 and after a few months was entrusted to another family. The relationship with his stepmother proves complex from the start because of Antonio's mental instability, which alternates between strong melancholy and violent and angry outbursts. He is first admitted to a psychiatric clinic and then reported to the Swiss authorities, who force him to live in Italy without being able to return. It was 1919 when he was taken to Gualtieri, in Emilia, the hometown of his father Bonfiglio Laccabue, whose surname he would disown and turn into Ligabue. It was during this period that he began to paint on plywood boards and to sculpt with clay, confirming that innate talent that had been emerging since the drawings he made at the infant school in Marbach, despite the absence of academic training. During breaks from his work as a farm laborer in the 1920s, he took refuge in the woods, pouring his malaise into these artistic experiments. 1928 marked his meeting with sculptor and painter Marino Mazzacurati. The latter supports Antonio both economically and humanly by making him aware of his artistic vocation. The favorite theme of his art is the animal world, an unconscious expression of his moods, depicted in fierce fights or melancholy rural scenes. Frequent fits and acts of self-harm caused Ligabue's first internment in 1937 in the S. Lazzaro asylum in Reggio Emilia, where he was again treated in 1940 and finally in 1945. During World War II, he occasionally served as an interpreter for German troops. As the years passed, his paintings acquired greater plasticity, compositional richness and expressive force in color. Derided by many in his lifetime, looked upon with suspicion by others, but also well-liked and appreciated by those who, like Sergio Negri, approached his world at the right pace Ligabue died after three years of agony in 1965 from cerebral and physical paralysis.