Giovanni Nicolini (1872-1956) Italian Social Realist Bronze Sculpture
This bronze by Giovanni Nicolini (1872-1956) is believed to date from the 1920s or 1930s, and depicts a family of farmers or herdsmen. Measures 19" wide and 15" tall (48 by 38 cm), and weighs an estimated 40-50 lbs. Signed in the cast and set upon a marble plinth. There are no other markings.
Nicolini is listed in the Benezit, and said to have been born in Palermo (Sicily). According to Sotheby's, he studied under Vincenzo Ragusa the Museo Artistico Industriale. He later moved to Rome to work for Giulio Monteverde, where he won the National prize with his relief of Le Marie al Sepolcro and the sculptures La Meditazione and Il risveglio. His oeuvre ranges from literary to historical and mythological subjects. He is mostly known for his sculptures in Rome, such as La Calabria (1907) and Trionfo Politico (1911). In London, his work Credi a me is in the collection of the Tate Gallery.
He was a contemporary of Ettore Ximenes, Giovanni Prini, and Ettore Ferrari, and contributed one or more works to the Garibaldian Herms on Janiculum Hill in Rome. He was one of a handful of Italian artists whose works were displayed at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915. In the western hemisphere his most notable work may be the Monumento a José Miguel Gómez in Havana Cuba, built in 1936 to honor the republican president who served from 1909 to 1913. This enormous work includes a very large marble colonnade and figural works in bronze, including one depicting Gomez.
The most recent known work of his to appear at major auction occurred on December 12, 2018 in London, where Sotheby's offered his work entitled Ebbro (Nymph and Satyr) in lot 51 with an estimate of 3,000-5,000 GBP ($3,750-$6,250 based on the exchange rate on that date).
Literature: A. Panzetta, Nuovo Dizionario degli Scultori Italiani dell'Ottocento e del Primo Novecento, Vol. 2, pp. 651-652.