What a Painter Taught Me

Francesco Polenghi, “K 60” (2005), oil on canvas, 156 x 156 cm

In 2011 I was invited by Demetrio Paparoni, my former editor at the Italian art journal tema celeste, to write a catalogue essay about Francesco Polenghi, an artist whom I had never met (Francesco Polenghi, Skira, 2011).

Polenghi lived in Milan. Such assignments, which provide a welcome opportunity for travel, are always demanding. They entail entering an unfamiliar studio, looking at the artwork, listening to the artist discuss it, taking mental notes, and then writing about the art. Often it’s revealing to see what is on display: books, reproductions of Old Master or other artworks. 

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