ELIA AJOLFI was born in 1916. He attended in Florence the sculpture courses held at the Accademia di Belle Arti from 1936 to 1941, as a disciple of Giuseppe Graziosi (1879-1942) and Italo Griselli (1880-1958), two among the most important sculptors of the beginning of the twentieth century in Italy. Aged a little over twenty, during the Second World War he served at the Cavalry Body of Naples and there he was wounded when the American allies landed in Salerno.|
THE V-MAIL OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR
Since he was forced to remain bedridden in the hospital, he has the opportunity to observe and portray with a numberless series of sketches the faces, the expressions and the attitudes of the soldiers who, from time to time happened to be hospitalized. As paper was falling short, he drew on the V-Mail (Victory Mail) blank forms, that is on those sheets of pre-printed paper that were used by the families in the USA to send their mail to their relatives fighting at the front in Europe. This gave the light to a collection made up of hundreds of wonderful drawings, sketches, roughly made but which, besides being real works of art, were also an extremely precious historical testimony of the American wartime period in Italy.
ELIA AJOLFI'S ANIMALS
Elia Ajolfi is particularly known as a sculptor of animal figures. When he was a boy, he learnt the job of moulder in the shop of his father, a skilful stucco, and still there is where also the young Giacomo Manzł (1908-1991), his great rival-friend- learnt the sculptural art. Since that time he had been revealing his great passion for the most real nature of animal life. For many years he had been moulding horses, bulls, sheep, rams, herons, owls, eagles, cocks, peacocks, wasps, frogs, ants... small-size and large-size statues, almost all of them made out of bronze. In the city of Lugano (Switzerland), a two-metre tall bronze peacock is installed on the lakeside promenade.
The UNESCO headquarters located in Paris purchased for the entrance that surrounds its park a bronze sculpture that represents 3 exotic birds.
Henry Moore, who got to know him and used to visit him quite often at Much Hadam said the following words about him: "He is a typical Italian bronze worker".
He taught sculpture at the Bergamo Accademia Carrara.
ELIA AJOLFI'S DRAWINGS
Elia Ajolfi kept on drawing all his life, thus making thousands and thousands of drawings. To him they are both a recording of immediate pulses and a satisfying exercise of the hand, that is they meet the artist's instinct to fix faces, gestures and emotions or fantasies, and the pleasure he takes in checking the skill of his art. Sticking closely to an academic culture, Ajolfi used the chiaroscuro effect with a sharp correctness, mastering the sketching technique with elegance and confidence. He insists on the most revealing details, the drapery of the feet, the hands that often emerge from the context of the figure with a moving sensuality and sensuousness. His iconographical references are Pontormo and Bronzino, that is the most intellectual Sixteenth Century, but his very frequent avan-gardiste bursts recall the Austrian and German expressionism very much.
EXHIBITIONS AND SHOWS
He took part in the following events:
- The Biennial Exhibition in Venice in 1948, 1950, 1956.
- The Quadrennial Exhibition in Rome in 1951, 1955, 1959.
- The Bronzetto exhibition in Padua in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1971.
- The Woodstock Gallery in London in 1961.
- The Exhibition of Holy Art in Sao Paulo Brazil in 1957.
- The International Art Exhibition in Madrid in 1969.
- International Biennial Exhibition of Fine Arts in Barcelona in 1971.
WORKS IN MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
- Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi
- Rome, Direzione Belle Arti
- Pisa, Institute of Drawing Arts
- Helsinki, Athenaeum Museum
- Koln, Museum
- Wroclaw Poland, Museum
- Paris, UNESCO