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Lea Colliva

A strong drawing hand and the heart of a colorist. Lea Colliva (1901 – 1975) was a twentieth-century Bolognese artist who is oft praised for her drawings and figure studies. She exhibited at Rome's Quadriennale in 1931, and continued showing her works worldwide, in New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Warsaw, Paris and London. She exhibited at the Venice Biennale during three editions: 1936, 1948 and 1950. Professor at the Bologna's Accademia di Belle Arti, Colliva had a background in Renaissance studies, but was deeply inspired by Europe's Informal movements. She was the only woman painter who frequented the group of Bolognese artists at Caffè San Pietro. The bulk of Colliva's works are part of the Bertocchi-Colliva Foundation's collection, on display at Monzumo's Emil Banca. A Bolognese art-critic and painter, Nino Bertocchi was Colliva's childhood friend and brother-in-law. A lover of nineteenth-century landscapes, Bertocchi deeply influenced Colliva, whom critic Francesco Arcangeli celebrated in 1973 as 'the last of the Naturalists'. Though well-respected, both painters were 'victims' of the well-known Bolognese phenomenon: all of the region's twentieth-century painters lived in the shadow of marketable giant Giorgio Morandi and his world-renowned 'bottle compositions'. When compared to her art companion, Colliva emerges as an artist far more compelled to experiment; her painting is imbued with the avant-garde trends of her time. Colliva expert Beatrice Buscaroli writes: "Lea Colliva thunders amidst figures, flowers and landscapes, meandering between Rembrandt and Soutine, in her restless expressionist quest."

Colliva was a 'flood lady' who donated her self-portrait to Florence after the 1966 flood.