Friday, March 14, 2014

Ugo Fontana: Illustrating for Children

Dr. Giorgia Grilli, professor at the University of Bologna, has just written and compiled a 200 pg volume on an Italian illustrator for children that worked from the Forties to the Eighties: Ugo Fontana. She worked on this project with Fabian Negrin (an Italian-Argentinian illustrator and candidate for the H.C.Andersen and the ALMA Award). The book is in Italian and English and is companion to an important exhibition that will be hosted in two weeks at Bologna Children's Book Fair.

She shared these details with us:

Fabian Negrin and I have been researching for some years and put together a book in Italian and English on the work of a great Italian illustrator: Ugo Fontana (1921-1985). This book – a 200-page volume richly illustrated – is companion to the exhibition on Ugo Fontana that will be hosted by the Bologna International Children’s Book Fair. This exhibition inaugurates a new section of the fair, called ‘The Lost Treasure,’ which aims at rediscovering and presenting to the world the illustrative work of old masters of illustration that have been forgotten or have disappeared from bookstores, but deserve international attention. Ugo Fontana is the first one of the series and we, as curators, have been working hard to retrace his original artwork from national and private archives, old publishers, the family, friends, etc. We have collected more than 90 tables, which will be visible at the exhibition and which are all reproduced in the book. For our critical essay, we have studied the evolution of his style, the influences of other artists on his work, his own influences on other illustrators, the relationship of Fontana's way of illustrating for children with the children's publishing industry of his days and, more in general, the socio-cultural context in which he worked.

Having shown to some Italian publishers Fontana’s work (part of which they had in their archives or in their old catalogues, but no longer knew or thought about), many of them were so enthusiastic that they each decided to re-publish a book illustrated by him. So there will be three books illustrated by Fontana as ‘new’ releases at Bologna Children's Book Fair 2014.

The book can be bought, with a discount, directly through the publisher’s website ( -- it will be available in a couple of days). Or at the exhibition, in Bologna.

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