ART in Western Australia is set for a major boost with renowned Italian abstract painter Vincenzo Balsamo set to relocate to Perth.
Balsamo (81), creator of pieces including The Shadow of Klimt and In the Garden of the King, is currently staying with family in Hamilton Hill.
Son Roberto, director of Galleria d’Arte West End in Fremantle, said his father will return to Italy to tie up loose ends before making the move back to Perth in March.
“He’d like to retire here,” Roberto said.
“He likes the wide open spaces, the light, and is impressed by the natural features.
“He’s happy to stay here.”
Art Gallery of WA director Stefano Carboni said the move would be great for the state.
“Vincenzo Balsamo is one of the last representatives of a generation of Italian artists that became very influential on the Italian and European artistic scene starting from the 1960s,” he said.
Dr Carboni met Vincenzo, Roberto, art dealer Arthur Spartalis and Cockburn councillor Bart Houwen last week, with the conversation hinged on the artist’s move to Australia and the possibility of a not-for-profit organisation being set up by the Italian.
“His name is recognised widely in Europe but not so much in Australia, hence Roberto and Arthur’s efforts to create a strategy to make his work known around the time of his move to Western Australia,” he said.
“The ideas behind the possible foundation are not only to promote Vincenzo’s work locally but to create an educational network with the artist at its core teaching, discussing and mentoring young creative students and artists.
“This could have a very positive impact for the industry.”
Mr Spartalis said the whole industry in WA – including artists, curators, administrators and dealers – would benefit from the arrival.
“What we have to do is make sure his artistic and human resources are made available to as many people as possible,” he said.
“Vincenzo would bring a universal view of art and all its elements.
“I can’t underplay the importance of his arrival in WA.”
Where the art icon will establish himself is still unclear, although councillor Houwen has been in the family’s ear, talking up the local area.
“He’s a living legend,” Cr Houwen said.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for the art industry to see his skills up close and to learn from him.
“If we could get his name associated with Cockburn it would be great.”
Roberto said it was likely his father would settle somewhere along the coast.
“He’s looking for his space and enjoys strolling the beach, so maybe Coogee,” he said.
Fremantle is also being considered