Beginning July 1 and continuing until Aug. 30, Gold/Smith Gallery will be featuring exceptionally beautiful paintings in Tempera on board by Ivano Balluchi from Livorno, Italy.
It was the third Saturday in November, 2021. Karen and John Vander, owners of Gold/Smith Gallery in Boothbay Harbor, Maine were browsing through the massive collections of antiques and art at the famous Lucca Antiquariato, in the various open air piazzas surrounding Lucca’s Duomo. It was a very gray autumn day and Karen was drawn to a small painting of a scarecrow propped up against a walnut chest of drawers. The painting seemed so much like the farmers fields surrounding the ancient convent where she and John live in the winter months that it struck her as a piece of personal history. Needless to say that little scarecrow came home with them and for the next year she tried to track down anything about the artist. His signature was in Italian script and illegible to her. An Italian artist came to visit Karen and John at their home outside of Lucca a year later and happily deciphered the signature. After a brief search on the Web Karen found an obituary for the artist which mentioned a gallery in Livorno that had represented Balluchi for many years. The son of the gallery was kind enough to pass on a cell phone number of the artist. Karen called and his widow answered. A few days later and three very steep flights up at a narrow apartment building in centro citta, Livorno, Karen met with Balucchi’s widow and daughter. Several hours later Karen and the artist’s family made arrangements to show Ivano Balluchi’s work at their gallery in the Harbor in 2023.
Artists are rooted in a time and place. Some need to travel long distances geographically and culturally to find their voice and natural habitat. Physical location makes little difference. But to some their native soil is everything. Ivano Balluchi was a Livornese painter through and through. The sights of his native city, famous and ordinary, and the surrounding countryside, are his subject. They are seen as familiar and intimate as the rooms of his own house.
Ivano was born in Livorno Feb. 17, 1949. Except for a period studying at the Academia di Belle Arte in Florence forty miles away he spent all his life in his home city as a painter and professor of art. His landscapes of Tuscany, painted Plein Air, tempera on board, became less and less detailed, looser in handling, more brilliantly colored. Not so much concerned with the specifics of a place as its perfume and atmosphere. He died May 4, 2021 in Livorno.
Gold/Smith Gallery is located at 8 McKown Street, Boothbay Harbor, Maine across from the Memorial Library in the heart of town. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday. This is the 49th year the gallery has been in business Boothbay Harbor. For more information the gallery can be reached at 207-633-6252 or at www.goldsmithgallery.net.