"… …few others sensed all the primeval sacredness of stone the way Ugo Guidi did"
Raffaele De Grada, art critic
He was born in Montiscendi, Pietrasanta, on September 14, 1912, but spent his childhood and youth in Querceta. He took his diploma at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara under the guidance of sculptor Arturo Dazzi who, appreciating his artistic achievements, offered him the position of assistant at the same Accademia. In 1937 he won his first prize for sculpture at Premio Dervillé in Carrara. From 1948 to 1976 he taught sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara.
In 1956, at the age of 44, he exhibited the pieces created since his youth for the first time, pushed by the interest and encouragement of Ottone Rosai and Piero Santi, at ‘La Strozzina’ Gallery of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. In 1950 he set up, in his Forte dei Marmi house, his own studio where he worked any material, especially the local stone of Porta, a hard and compact kind of tuff which characterized sculpture works until 1965. He was invited to the main national exhibitions such as Milan Biennales, Rome Quadriennali, Florence Fiorino, Carrara Biennales of Sculpture, Florence Biennales of Art and Sport, Padua Biennales of Small Bronze. Since 1958 his solo shows followed one another from Rome to Milan, Turin, Parma, Modena, Potenza, yet always displaying his most recent works in advance at ‘L'Indiano’ Gallery in Florence, being linked by a bond of friendship and respect to Piero Santi and Paolo Marini.
The summer wave of the Italian culture on vacation facilitated the establishment of relationships with many artists, especially Rosai, Soffici, Funi, Mirko, Maccari, Cagli, Gatto, Dallapiccola, De Grada, Migneco and Treccani. During the summer he moulded clay and make drawings, while in the winter season he sculpted, each work being the long and hard outcome of the rough hewer, the technician, the poet, the researcher embodied in his person. In 1965 he took on a studio in Florence together with his friend, the painter Arturo Puliti, but the 1966 flood of the Arno River destroyed all his clay pieces, not yet fired and kept there, after an exhibition in Florence.
The sporting subject, having played as a goalkeeper in his youth, would always be present in his work. In 1969 he built the monument ‘Il Portiere’ (‘The Goalkeeper’) for the City Stadium of Forte dei Marmi. In 1970 he was appointed Corresponding Academician in the Sculpture division of Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence. He won the national competition for a low relief entitled ‘Giochi della Gioventù’ (‘Youth Sport Games’) for Palazzo degli Studi in Sarzana.
In 1975, for the 25 years of activity of ‘L'Indiano’ Gallery in Florence, he created a work named ‘L'Indiano a Firenze’ which, casted in bronze, would be presented at Gabinetto Vieusseux to Mario Luzi, Luigi Baldacci, Rafael Alberti, Umberto Baldini and Raffaele De Grada. In 1976, at the height of his intellectual and physical activity, the incurable disease diagnosed two years before clearly manifested itself. His last sculpture, ‘I Vincitori’ (‘The Winners’), created in 1976, represents the winners’ podium at Montreal Olympic Games. In 1977 he made exclusively drawings and tempera, from which we can easily deduce the physical and psychological affliction of a vital man hopelessly fighting against disease. These last works were presented a few days before his death at ‘La Vecchia Farmacia’ Gallery in Forte dei Marmi with the title ‘Il Grido’ (‘The Scream’). Ugo Guidi died on July 10, 1977, in his house studio in Vittoria Apuana, Forte dei Marmi.
His works can be found in several private collections and in Florence, Colle Val D'Elsa, Carpi, Pontremoli and Forte dei Marmi city halls, in the Chiesa di Sant’Antonio in Viareggio and Chiesa di Santa Teresa del Bambin Gesù in Cosenza, in Italy, Greece, Spain, Holland, Belgium, ex Yugoslavia Football Associations; in Barcelona Olympics and Sport Museum, in the Consejo Superior de Deportes Collection in Madrid, in the Galleria dell’Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara, in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna of Palazzo Pitti in Florence, in New York Modern Gallery, USA, in the Collezione degli Autoritratti of the Uffizi in Florence, in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna Valle Giulia in Rome, in Palazzo degli Studi in Sarzana, in the Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art, in the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe of the Uffizi, Florence, in Scuola Media ‘Ugo Guidi’ in Forte dei Marmi, in Museo dei Bozzetti, Pietrasanta. The ‘Monumento all’Alpino’ (Mountain Troops Memorial) in Pozzi di Seravezza is based on one of his works.
A number of posthumous tributes to his art have been paid in Lorenzago di Cadore, Stia, Arezzo, San Carlo, Massa, Seravezza, at the twelfth ‘Arte e Sport’ exhibition in Florence, in Massarosa, at Marguttiana in Forte dei Marmi, in art magazines and books, in poems and works by other artists (the painting ‘Daphne’ by Achille Funi is a reproduction of one of his sculptures).
The photographs published in the Timeline where taken from the Artist's website www.ugoguidi.it