Ada Negri, born in 1926, was a designer, portrait artist and painter from Grignasco.
She was also a dear friend of ours.
Eccentric and extravagant, Ada would often have fantastic stories to tell of the past, of her work at the Filatura di Grignasco yarn factory and her studies at the Brera Academy with her friend and maestro Aldo Salvadori.
In her home, steeped in history and packed with memories, books and paintings, the coffee pot was always ready on the hob, and Ada would call us in from the window for a coffee, a biscuit and a long chat.
Featured in our collection are many of her paintings, with the distinctive beauty of their lines and colours; every time we look at them we can almost hear that high-pitched voice of hers!
She passed away in October 2015, at the age of 89.
Having identified pencils and pastels as her chosen means of expression right from the beginning of her career, Ada Negri invested her efforts in an impressive process of technical development, bolstered by tremendous willpower, a truly all-encompassing relationship with the emotions and the example set by Aldo Salvadori, her undisputed maestro at the Free School of Nude Painting of the Brera Academy, which Negri attended assiduously for ten years or so between the Fifties and Sixties.
Her artistic expression appears immediately accessible and her confidence in it extremely sound, once the observer has grasped the range of experience and the subtle intelligence it is moved by. The range of subjects covered by the artist bears witness to her everyday horizons and the milieu her existence was played out in.
Running through every one of Ada Negri’s figures is a tension that takes absolute control of it, with a network of light brushstrokes overlapping with the strong, confident main lines of the figures. Colour is conceded for brief, fleeting moments, broadening out the images with occasional moments of tenderness.
From 1960 to the present, Ada Negri’s creative career appears extremely consistent, forming a “corpus” of works of undoubted interest, however many comparisons may be hazarded within her dedication to figure painting. Portraits, full and half-bust figures, alone or in pairs, men focused on their work or women, clothed or naked, often lying diagonally across the sheet; figures of children and figures of animals. The iconic world of Ada Negri is grasped in depth and testified to with firm, uncompromising decision, with no trace of indulgence or euphemism.
Alberto Crespi, 2003