Ferruccio Vecchi (It.), L’Orchidea

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Price:    on request

Description

‘L’Orchidea’ (‘The Orchid’, symbol of thoughtfulness, refinement, fertility, beauty, charm, and love)
Bronze, height 41 cm.
Signed 1942 XX (XX anno dell’era fascista, meaning year XX of the Italian Fascist Era*).

* The Era Fascista (‘Fascist Era’) was a calendar era used in Fascist Italy. The March on Rome, or more precisely the accession of Mussolini as prime minister on 29 October 1922, is day 1 of Anno I of the Era Fascista. The calendar was introduced in 1926 and became official in 1927 (Anno V). Each year of the Era Fascista was an Anno Fascista, abbreviated A.F.

Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘L’Orchidea’, bronze. Height 85 cm. Donated by a group of Milan-industrialist to the city of Milan; placed in the foyer of the Lirico Teatro. Depicted in the exhibition catalogue ‘Mostra di Sculptura di Ferruccio Vecchi’, 1941. Displayed at the XXII Biennale di Venezia in 1940.

 

– condition : II
– size : height 41 x 23 x 16 cm
– signed : signed and dated at base : ‘F. Vecchi  1942 XX’ 
– type : bronze

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BIOGRAPHY: FERRUCCIO VECCHI

 

‘L’Impero balza dalla mente del Duce’
Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘L’Impero balza dalla mente del Duce’ or, ‘The Empire arises from the Duce’s Mind’, bronze. Displayed at ‘La Biennale di Venezia’, XXII Esposizione Internazionale D’Arte 1940’. 

Left: Ferrucio Vecchi, ‘Busto di Donna’ (‘Bust of Woman’), 1940. Height 32 cm. Displayed at the ‘Venice XXII Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d’arte’, 1940 (likely under a different name). Sold by an Italian auction house in 2019.
Right: ‘Mein Erstes Werk’ (‘La Mia Prima Sculptura’/ ‘My First Sculpture’). Assumably the same figure as ‘Busto di Madonna’, depicted in ‘Skulpturen Ausstellung Ferruccio Vecchi, -Endlich ein neuer Kunstausdruck!’, 1941. In possession of Franscesco Marinotti, Consigliere Nazionale.
   

Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘Aviatore’ (‘Aviator’). Bronze, height 3 meter. Displayed at the 1942 Biennale di Venezia.

Smaller cast of ‘Aviatore’ by Vecchi. Bronze.
   

Busts of Mussoini by Vecchi, depicted in the exhibition catalog ‘Mostra di Sculptura di Ferruccio Vecchi’, 1941.
Left on top: ‘Il Duce Pensante’ (‘The Duce Thinking’).
Left below: ‘Il Duce Guerriero’ (‘The Duce as Warrior’).
Right: ‘Il Duce Medittaraneo’ (‘The Medittaranean Duce’).
   

Bronze bust of Mussolini. Sold by an Italian art gallery in the 2010s. Date and size unknown.   

Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘La Mia Battaglia’ (‘Mein Kampf): ‘On the peak of Hitler’s-thougths, stands the Young Germany that has broken it Chains of Slavery’) . Depicted and described in the exhibition catalog ‘Mostra di Sculptura di Ferruccio Vecchi’, 1941.
 

Busts of Hitler by Vecchi, depicted on the cover and in the exhibition catalog ‘Skulpturen Ausstellung, Ferruccio Vecchi’, 1941. The text on the plaque (right) reads: ‘Hitler Ideale Germanico’ (‘Hitler, the Ideal of Germany’).
 

Left: Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘Una Donna Nella Vita Dell’Uomo’ (‘A Woman in the Life of a Man’). Depicted in the exhibition catalog ‘Sculpturen Ausstellung, Ferruccio Vecchi’, 1941.
Right: ‘Bombardiere’ (‘Bomber’) by Vecchi, depicted in the exhibition catalog ‘Sculpturen Ausstellung, Ferruccio Vecchi’, 1941.
   

In the atelier of Ferruccio Vecchi, 10 April 1942.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A9EITUz9Kc

 

Left: Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘Compiacimento’ (‘Satisfaction’), bronze, 1941. Height 85 cm. Sold by an Italian auction house in 2016. 
Right: ‘Compiacimento’ by Vecchi, depicted in the exhibition catalogue ‘Mostra di Sculptura di Ferruccio Vecchi’, 1941. 
   

Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘Armonie’ (‘Harmony’), displayed at the IV exhibition in April 1940 in Sforzesco Castle.

Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘Cacciata di Adamo ed Eva dal paradiso terrestre’ (‘Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Earthly Paradise’. Date of creation and location unknown.

Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘Busto femminile’ (‘Female Bust’), 1944. Bronze, height 38 cm. Sold by an Italian auction house in 2022.

Left: Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘A Costanzo Ciano La Gente del Mare’ (‘To Costanzo Ciano, erected by the People from the See’). Depicted in the exhibition catalog ‘Sculpturen Ausstellung, Ferruccio Vecchi’, 1941.
Right: ‘Ferruccio Vecchi, ‘S.A.R. Umberto di Savoia Principe Condottiero’ (‘Prince Umberto di Savoya as Leader’). Depicted in the exhibition catalog ‘Sculpturen Ausstellung, Ferruccio Vecchi’, 1941.
 

Mussolini visiting the Vecchi-exhibition, 12 March 1940. 

Left: Ferrucchio Vecchi, ‘Arditismo Civile’, 1920. The book by Vecchi deals mainly about the pre-military education of the youth.
Right: ‘La tragedia del mio Ardire’. Autobiographical novel by Vecchi, written in 1923.   

In 2013 Belletti and Carnoli published a book on Vecchi: ‘L’ardito. Vita provocatoria di Ferruccio Vecchi, ravennate, fondatore del fascismo’ (‘L’ardito, the provocative life of Ferruccio Vecchi, from Ravenna, founder of fascism’).
   

Left: Ferruccio Vecchi (at the right), with Marinetti (center) in Fiume, October 1919. Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti (1876 – 1944) was an Italian poet, editor, art theorist, and founder of the Futurist movement. Marinetti is best known as the author of the first Futurist Manifesto, which was written and published in 1909, and as a co-author of the Fascist Manifesto, in 1919.
Right: Vecchi marching with Mussolini (date and place unknown).
 

Ferruccio Vecchi, standing on a rooftop in New York, 1927.
From left to right:  Ferrucio Vecchi, Dr. Brinton, F. Azari and O.L. Foletti.

Left: Ferruccio Vecchi, depicted in the exhibition catalog 1941 (‘Finalmente una nuova espressione d’arte’).
Middle: Ferruccio Vecchi, date unknown.
Right: Ferruccio Vecchio, date 23 October 1920.
     

 

Ferruccio Vecchi, sculptor and co-founder of Fascism
Ferruccio Vecchi was born in Ravenna in 1894, the youngest of five children. His father’s occupation was recorded as ‘milker’. In 1914 he studied Engineering at the University of Bologna. A year later, in 1915, he volunteered for the war, fought with the ‘Arditi’ troops and was finally promoted to Captain of the Arditi of the XXX Assault Department. The Arditi was the name of the special forces of the Royal Italian Army in World War I, the ‘Military aristocracy of the army’. They and the opposing German Stormtroopers were the first modern shock troops.
Vecchi was one of the key figures in the formation of the first fascist groups in Italy. On 19th January 1919 in Milan, Vecchi founded, together with Filippo Tommaso Martinetti, the Association of the ‘Arditi di Guerra’.
On 23 March 1919 Mussolini founded the ‘Fasci Italiani di Combattimento’ (‘Italian Fighting Leagues’). Ferruccio Vecchi, acting as chairman, opened the foundation meeting. In 1921, the ‘Fasci Italiani di Combattimento’ was reorganized into the National Fascist Party.
In April 1919, Benito Mussolini entrusted to Vecchi the foundation of a Fascist Fighting Group in Bologna. Vecchi was a key figure in the foundation moment of the ‘Squadrismo’, the movement of ‘action squads’, i.e. fascist militias organized outside the authority of the Italian state. The Squadrismo became an important asset for the rise of the National Fascist Party, using violence to systematically eliminate other political parties. On 18 November 1919, Vecchi was arrested and locked up in the prison of San Vittore, together with Mussolini, Marinetti and 10 other Arditi, for allegedly collecting arms to overthrow the government.
In spring 1921, Vecchi, who had contacts with the Socialist Party and the trade unions, was accused of ‘digging breaches’ in the fascist movement, publishing socialist propaganda and political adventurism; he was expelled from the Arditi Association and the ‘Fasci Italiani di Combattimento’.
In 1920, he wrote the book ‘Arditismo civile’, which focussed mainly on the pre-military education of the youth. In 1923, he wrote the autobiographical novel ‘La tragedia del mio Ardire’. From 1924 to 1926, he wrote a series of novels under the name ‘Piacere e morte’ (‘Pleasure and Death). In 1927, he traveled to the USA. Two years later he went to France and Switzerland. In 1933, he published two novels which were banned in France and Switzerland. In 1935, he started designing wall decoration.
On 12 February 1937, Vecchi created his first sculpture. Two years later, he returned to Rome where he opened a sculptor studio in Piazza Sallustio. In February 1940, Vecchi had his first exhibition in Milan.
A second exhibition, opened by leading fascist hierarch Giuseppe Bottai, followed in the same year. When Mussolini visited the exhibition, he wrote in the guestbook: ‘finalmente una nuova espressione d’Arte!’ (‘Finally a new art expression!’). On the same occasion, Mussolini ordered that Vecchi be provided his own exposition room at the Biennale in Vienna. During an audience on 4 May 1940 with Mussolini in Palazzo Venezia, Vecchi presented the design of ‘Tempio al Duce di Sansepolcro ed ai suoi Sansepolcristi’ (‘The Temple of the Duce of Sansepolcro and the Sansepolcrists’, destined to be placed in Milan to commemorate the rally organized by Mussolini at Piazza San Sepolcro on March 23, 1919, where he proclaimed the principles of Fasci Italiani di Combattimento).
From May to October 1940 Vecchi displayed 37 of his works in a separate exhibition room at the XXII Biennale in Venice.
Vecchi displayed allegorical groups dedicated to the family, rural work and fascism. His works also included extravagant, unimaginable bronze sculptures of Mussolini and Hitler. In his work ‘The Empire jumps from the mind of Il Duce’ (displayed at the Biennale 1940), for example, a nude, muscled Mussolini emerges from the large head of another, more pensive Mussolini, with a sword in one hand and fasces (rods) in another. Apparently Vecchi was able to tap into generous funds to finance his artist’s studio and had powerful patrons. 
On 7 February 1941 Vecchi was granted audience by Victor Emanuell III, King of Italy (from 1900 until his abdication in 1946).
In April 1941, a 4th exhibition of Vecchi’s works was opened by Prince Adalberto of Savoy, Duke of Bergamo. A month later the 5th Vecchi-exhibition took place in Rome, which was visited by the Queen of Italy, Elena of Montenegro. A 6th exhibition was held in June in the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa.
After WWII Vecchi was accused of ‘being responsible for sadistic attacks against workers’ and ‘the instigator of fascism’s violent methods’. He was arrested twice. Vecchi had been a high profile fascist and his name had not been forgotten, however the events he was accused of taking part in were twenty-six years in the past. Eventually he was cleared.
Ferruccio Vecchi died in 1960 in total solitude.
In 2013 Belletti and Carnoli published a book on Vecchi: ‘L’ardito. Vita provocatoria di Ferruccio Vecchi, ravennate, fondatore del fascismo’ (‘L’ardito, the provocative life of Ferruccio Vecchi, from Ravenna, founder of fascism’).