THE Yanchep daughter of a famous Italian sculptor who spent the latter part of his life teaching and working in Perth wants to honour him by donating some of his creations to the Fremantle Arts Centre.
It is 20 years since Elena Lumsdaine’s father Bruno Giugliarelli, a one-time sculptor to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, died at the age of 88.
The WA Art Gallery marked the day of his funeral in September 1996 with the exhibition of his piece, Contemplation, acquired by the late art director Betty Churcher.
Giugliarelli had resurrected his war-interrupted career in WA while teaching art classes in Fremantle.
“His last public exhibition of 46 abstract sculptures was at the Fremantle Arts Centre,” Elena said.
“I want to donate some of his work to the centre so his work can find a resting place.”
Elena has also written an account of her father’s work in Rome and his return to sculpture in Perth after being encouraged to migrate to WA by his brother Gino, a prisoner of war in Corrigin during WWII.
Extracts from Elena Lumsdaine’s account of her sculptor father Bruno Giugliarelli’s life
There were times in Rome, in the attic where we lived near the River Tiber, overlooking the cupola of St Peter’s, when the three of us – my mamma Lina, my older sister and I – would not dare to make a noise or talk to him.
Papa was creating his masterpieces for Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, who employed him to design and sculpt marble statues to embellish the new Olympic stadium, the new railway station (stazione termini), bridges and parks.
Papa was young, but his talent won him an award with Riposo (Repose), the figure of a young girl resting at the Quadriennale d’Arte Nazionale in Rome.
Other awards followed, with Il Marciatore, the bronze figure of a young walker, winning the Premio San Remo – Dynamic of Sport Exhibition (San Remo), awarded by Mussolini, for a bronze statue portraying the victory of fascism over communism.
But we three moved around the rooms quietly, waiting for Papa to emerge from his studio. If he smiled, we knew he had achieved his creations. If he frowned, we looked at him in suspense.
Then the war started and Bruno’s ecstasy turned into agony.
Some of his work was destroyed by the Nazis in 1942.
Buildings in Rome were destroyed by bombs, and Papa had to collect the art pieces he found amongst the rubble, to be stored in a warehouse.
His design for a sculpture in the forecourt of the new Perth Concert Hall in Adelaide Terrace was chosen, and he sculpted a monolite using Carrara marble. Bruno chose the piece of marble in Carrara. A 16 tonne block was reduced to six tonnes after being sculpted. Titled Forms, the monolite was erected on the balcony of the concert hall. It stood there in all its marmoreal beauty, representing the Public Works Department, facing the Swan River.
When the building was sold to the Duxton Hotel, Forms was impounded in a warehouse in Osborne Park and later taken to a Margaret River winery before his family could donate it to the Fremantle Arts Centre where Papa spent so many years devoting his time in that beautiful building.