Illustration Art Gallery

The very best from the wide, sometimes overlooked, world of illustration art, including original artwork for book illustrations and covers, comic books and comic strips, graphic novels, magazines, film animation cels, newspaper strips, poster art, album covers, plus superb fine art reproductions and high quality art prints.

Our gallery brings together artists from all over the world and from many backgrounds, including fantasy, horror, romance, science fiction, education, sport, history, nature, technology, humour, glamour, architecture, film & tv, whimsy, even political satire and caricature.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Virginio Livraghi

Virginio Livraghi was a painter, born in Dovera in the province of Cremona in the Lombardy region of Italy, in 1924. Dovera is only 35 km southeast of Milan and it is no surprise that Livraghi gravitated to this centre of artistic excellence. In the late 1940s he worked as an animator on the famous Italian film La Rosa di Bagdad directed by Anton Gino Domenighini and quickly found a market for his illustrations with Milanese publishers Carroccio, Gino Conte, Fratelli Fabbri, Piccoli and others in the 1950s and 1960s. His talents lay in illustrations for young children, especially fairy tales (including classics like Snow White, Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio) and stories about animals (including Penny, an Italian translation of Isobel St Vincent's Penny Pullet, and Maria Pia Pezzi's Curly Pig, which made the reverse journey in translation into English).

Working via Creazioni D'Ami, Livraghi began producing delightful colour strips and illustrations for British nursery comics, beginning with a run of strips starring the comical adventures of Playhour's 'Leo the Friendly Lion', taking the strip over from Harold McCready in April 1960 and later handing over to another ex-animator, Bert Felstead, in February 1961.

That year, Livraghi began drawing illustrations and covers for the British educational magazine Knowledge and the Italian nursery magazine Michelino, published by the Fabbri brothers. In February 1969 he returned to the British market after a four year absence to draw illustrations featuring 'Brer Rabbit' for Once Upon a Time. These beautiful colour illustrations would continue to appear until October 1971, although Henry Fox provided an increasing number of fill-ins from mid-1970.

It is a shame so little is known about this immensely talented artist: he was one of the best artists in the field of anthropomorphic animals to work in the UK; in Brer Rabbit especially he captured the humour and sense of mischief of the stories he illustrated as Brer constantly outwitted the wily creatures who wanted to capture him.

The following list of books illustrated by Livraghi is almost certainly incomplete, but is the best I can manage. Any further information would be very welcome. Artwork for sale by Livraghi can be found here.


Illustrated books
Pel di Carota by Jules Renard. Milan, Carroccio, 1950.
Storielline minuscole per i piu piccini by Laura Okely Romiti. Milan, G. Conte, 1951.
Alcino by Laura Okely Romiti. Milan, G. Conte, 1952.
Storie di animali by Lina Carpanini. Milan, Fabbri, 1953.
Penny by Isobel St. Vincent. Milan, Fabbri, 1953.
Biancaneve divenne regina. Milan, Boschi, 1956.
Gli insegnamenti di Frilli by Philippe Halsmann. Milan, Fabbri, 1958.
Davy Crockett e il pellirossa by Tom Hill (Karen Bruns). Milan, Fabbri, 1959.
Il gatto dagli stivali by Charles Perrault. Milan, Piccoli, 1959?
Compane: Letture per il primo [-seondo] ciclo by Mario Comassi (& Alberto Manzi from vol.3). Milan, Fabbri, 5 vols., 1960.
La lampada di Aladino e altre fiabe dalle Mille e una notte. Milan, La Sorgente, 1960.
Bisto-Beo gatto sportivo by Bruno Paltrinieri. Milan, Fabbri, 1961.
Il bosco di Freccia d'oro. Milan, Fabbri, 1963.
Alice in Wonderland, retold by Jane Carruth. London, Odhams, 1963.
Gatto Maso by Maria Pia Pezzi. Milan, Fabbri, 1963.
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Milan, Europea, 1963; Paris, Editions mondiales, 1963.
Il porcellino Spiru by Maria Pia Pezzi. Milan, Fabbri, 1963; translated (and adapted) by Kathleen N. Daly as Curly the Pig, New York, Golden Press, 1964.
Quando la terra trema by Frederick H. Pough. Milan, Fabbri, 1970.
Brer Rabbit by Barbara Hayes. Vero Beach, Florida, Rourke Enterprises, 1984.
Una storia d'amore: ibrido poetico italiano-milanese by Stefano Fedeli. Gruppo letteraio Acarya, 1985.

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