Guttuso, Renato (Bagheria, Palermo, 1912 – Rome, 1987).
    The son of an agronomist with liberal ideas, from his earliest youth he loved painting which he explored by frequenting in his hometown the studio of the naturalist painter Domenico Quattrociocchi and the workshop of the decorator Emilio Murdolo. In Palermo, instead, where he studied at high school, he frequented the studio of the painter Pippo Rizzo.
    He made his debut in 1928 at the Sicilian Mostra Sindacale.
    After his high school diploma in the classics, 1930, he enrolled at the law faculty but soon abandoned it in order to devote himself completely to painting; at just over twenty years of age two works of his were accepted by the Rome Quadriennale in 1931. In 1932 he took part in the exhibition “Gruppo dei pittori siciliani” at the Galleria del Milione in Milan. In the following years he lived in Rome, Sicily, and Milan, and made new and constructive friendships, among which mention should be made of Mafai, Melli, Cagli, Fazzini, Birolli, Sassu, De Grada, Franchina, and Barbera. He participated in the 1935 Quadriennale and, in 1937, he definitely settled in Rome where he shared a studio with Colacicchi and Scialoja, which was to become an important meeting point for artists. In 1938 he held his first solo show at the Cometa gallery in Rome, with a catalogue presentation by Nino Savarese and, in Milan in the following year, he participated together with the Roman group at the Corrente show.
    In 1942 he showed Crocefissione at the Premio Bergamo, a painting that was strikingly expressionist and that aroused great hostility. In 1944 he was part of the resistance movement and, in the post-war climate, the tendency of his painting towards an expressive and dramatic realism was further increased. In 1945 he went to France where he became friends with Picasso and, in the following year, he began to take part in numerous shows abroad. With some companions from the Corrente movement as well as others, he founded a group that, with the name of “Fronte nuovo delle arti”, tried, besides their purely artistic aims, to illustrate and denounce society’s ethical and political problems. With his companions from the “Fronte” he took part in the Venice Biennale in 1948. The series of works devoted to the Terni steelworks and the sulphur mines in Sicily date from 1948-1949.
    A communist party militant, he was still interested in social themes and remained a convinced supporter of realism, even after the break-up of the “Fronte” in March 1950.
    In the following decade he made numerous portraits and landscapes. With paintings of various subjects, he took part in the 1964 show at the Galleria del Milione in Milan and, in 1966, he undertook his series Autobiografia. Struck by the events of 1968 he created the large-scale mural panel Il giornale murale: maggio 1968. In 1963 he dedicated a series of paintings to Picasso who had recently died and, in 1974, he painted Vucciria which he gave to Palermo University. Among the many shows of his work mention should be made of the solo show at the 1952 Venice Biennale, and the exhibitions in New York in 1958, Moscow in 1961, Bagheria in 1962, and the vast anthological shows in Parma in 1963-1964, Stockholm in 1978, and Venice in 1982.


    Andrea Zanella in La pittura in Italia. Il Novecento (1900-1945), Milan, 1997.