ANTONIETTA RAPHAËL MAFAI
Kovno, 1895 - Rome, 1975
Bronze sculpture, 74 x 40 x 30 cm
N° example on the base: 2/5
The plaster sketch of this sculpture is known (see D'Amico, Milan, 1985, n ° 23)
LITERATURE AND EXHIBITED: “Antonietta Raphaël. Works from 1933 to 1974 ", edited by G. Appella, F. D'Amico, N. Vespignani, Edizioni della Cometa, Rome, 2003, p. 45;
“Under the stars of 44, history and culture from the war to the Liberation”, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, 16 December 1994 - 28 February 1995, Zefiro, Rome, 1994, p. 108;
“Antonietta Raphaël. Sculptures and drawings ", curated by F. D'Amico, 30 May - 14 July 1989, Galleria Carlo Virgilio, Rome, Plate 5.
BIOGRAPHY: After the death of his father Simon, a rabbi, he moved with his mother from his native Lithuania to London. Here he attended the British Museum, met (perhaps) Zadkine and Epstein, but above all he studied music. He graduated in piano from the Royal Academy and opened a solfeggio school in the East End.
After the death of his mother in 1919, he spent a period in Paris and, in 1924, he arrived in Rome. In 1925 he attended courses at the Academy of Fine Arts and began to paint; joins Mario Mafai, with whom he will have three daughters, Miriam (1926), Simona (1928) and Giulia (1930). In 1926, with Mafai, he moved to the house-studio in via Cavour, also frequented by Scipione and Mazzacurati.
She made his debut in 1929 at the I Sindacale del Lazio, and is reported by Roberto Longhi. In the same year she is present with eighteen paintings in a collective of eight artists at the Camerata degli Artisti; the critics (C. Pavolini, A. Francini) reveal the "purely Russian flavor" of his painting, tending towards the Arabesque "with an archaic and popular taste", as well as the international breadth and innovative scope. Despite critical appreciation, Raphaël will not have many exhibition opportunities over the twenty years, perhaps due to an excess of originality and "exoticism".
In 1930 he left with Mafai for Paris, where his vocation for sculpture began to mature. Between 1931 and 1932 she went on alone to London, where she took up a studio and was in contact with the sculptor Jacob Epstein. In 1932 he returned to Paris, where he remained until the end of '33.
Permanently settled in Rome, she devoted herself intensely to sculpture. He begins work on the Escape from Sodom, which he will resume a few years later during his stay in Genoa. He works for about a year in the studio of his sculptor friend Ettore Colla. Between 1936 and '38 he exhibited at the trade unions Raphael's plastic work has so far been carried out in great concentration and solitude; "Miriam che dorme" and "Simona col comb" date back to these years, and in them one can verify the extraneousness of Raphaël from the Italian sculpture of the time. At this stage his references are rather Maillol and French plastic, from Bourdelle to Despiau. Following the anti-Semitic sanctions, she decides to take refuge with her husband and daughters in Genoa, under the protection of Emilio Jesi and Alberto Della Ragione. After a new stay in Rome in 1943-45, he returned to Genoa with his daughter Giulia, devoting himself mainly to sculpture. He remained in the Ligurian capital until 1952, in a heavy situation of isolation and economic distress. Only in 1948, with his participation in the Venice Biennale (where he will be present until 1954) his work receives some, albeit limited, appreciation.
We have to wait until 1952 for his work to obtain its first important awards. In that year he in fact won an award at the VI Quadrennial (where he will be regularly present later) and sets up an important anthology at the Galleria dello Zodiaco in Rome. In 1956 he made a trip to China, exhibited in Beijing with Sassu, Turcato, Fabbri, Tettamanti, Zancanaro, and in group exhibitions in Europe, Asia and America. At the VIII Quadriennale of 1959-60, in the exhibition "The Roman school from 1930 to 1945", several of his works are exhibited that confirm him among the protagonists of Italian art between the two wars. In the second half of the 1960s he devoted himself more and more intensely to sculpture, including the bronze casting of his most demanding works.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: V.Martinelli, Antonietta Raphaël, Rome 1960; Raphael, catalog of the exhibition edited by A. Menzio, Ivrea 1960; Raphael, living language sculpture, exhibition catalog edited by M. Fagiolo, E.Coen, Rome 1978; ; Antonietta Raphael sculptures, exhibition catalog edited by F. D'Amico; Gardens and ghettos. The Art of Jewish Life in Italy, exhibition catalog edited by V.MannT, New York 1989; Italian art, attendance 1900-1945, exhibition catalog edited by P. Hulten, G. Celant, Venice 1989; Antonietta Raphaël, exhibition catalog edited by F. D'Amico, Modena 1991; F. D'Amico, Antonietta Raphaël, in Nine Masters of the Roman school, Turin 1992; I Mafai - Parallel Lives, catalog of the exhibition by M. Fagiolo, biographical summary by F.R. Morelli,, Antonietta Raphael sculptures and painting 1933-1968, cat. exhibition, Paolo Baldacci Gallery, New York 1995.