Sandra Tenconi: an artist's biography

1937. I am born in Varese, the last of six children. Our house has a large garden and a kitchen garden, where I spend much of my time. These memories will live forever with me.
1943. Our home is bombed, we move to Brinzio, a small village on the slopes of the Campo dei Fiori mountain. No longer the garden, but instead the broader horizon of the meadows and the woods of chestnut trees are now the scenery.
1952. At fifteen, encouraged by my grandmother I decide to enroll at the Art School kept by the Ursulines, in Milan. Here I study with Giovanni Battista Salerno and Gino Moro.
1955. I enter the Brera Academy, attending courses with Aldo Carpi and Domenico Cantatore. I associate with the younger generation of "New Figuration"; but never feel quite one of the flock. My most intimate friends are Pietro and Dimitri Plescan, Cazzaniga, Varisco, Basaglia, Ortelli, Frattini, De Filippi, Bordoni, Forgioli; sculptors Azuma and Balderi; Rosella Gherardelli, the dearest.
1958. Travel to England. I draw a series of the London docks.
1959. I am awarded the first prize at Premio Diomira for drawing.
1960. First solo exhibition in Varese, introduced by Dante Isella.
1965. I get married; I will get three children. I frequently work en plein air at the Moroni disused fowling site in Bosco Valtravaglia: here are born the series of The Pumpkins, The Hornbeam Trees, The Azaleas - the last subjects never to be abandoned.
1973. I begin drawing lithographs for the press of La Spirale of Milan, where also work Minguzzi, Morlotti, Aimone, Cazzaniga. The foremost client is Olivetti, then advised by Giorgio Soavi.
1977. I move to Pavia. Abandoned logs on the banks of the river Ticino join the hornbeam trees as favorite subjects.
1979. The "Ombra, verde ombra" portfolio is printed: a series of lithographs with verses by Vittorio Sereni, and a foreword by Piero Chiara. At the Bergamini Gallery in Milan I meet Graham Sutherland.
1980. Solo exhibition at the Bergamini Gallery, then central for figurative art in Italy.
1990 Trip to Provence. Series of pastels of the Provençal landscapes (then exposed at the San Carlo gallery in Milan).
1991 I begin the series of 'Oltrepò Pavese' (pastels and acrylics). I produce a series of 31 portraits in pencil and charcoal, to be presented by Roberto Tassi in 1995, again at the San Carlo, together with acrylics and pastels.
1997 A series of fifty pastels ("Travel Notes") taken from drawings made in Italy and around Europe. I go back to the figure with the sketchbook "Bathers on the rocks" (123 drawings at Isola d'Elba).
1998 Discovery of the Mount San Martino, near Varese. A series of large acrylic paintings. A series of portraits in pencil ("An Actor").
2001 Fascinated by the Apuan Alps. Acrylics and pastels on the subject of the marble quarries.
2002 Trip to Austria. Struck by the Krimml waterfalls, near Salzburg. A series of acrylic paintings on the subject of watefalls, to be continued in subsequent years.
2007. I come back to the human figure (anthological exhibition "Paesaggi umani" ("Human Landscapes") in Pavia, with works from years1957-2007.
2008-2012. Acrylic paintings with mountains as subject. Waterfalls and hydrangeas again (most recently at the exhibition "Suddenly like visions" of 2012 at the Diocesan Museum of Milan.
2013. Drawings, pastels and watercolours ("Opere su carta 1953-2013") at the Musei del Castello Visconteo in Pavia.
2016. As a child, I never went to sleep without Lulu, my teddy bear. Now that many years have passed and many more teddy bears have joined Lulu, I decided to take them as my painting subject. A whole series of teddy bears, on the narrow ridge between tenderness and drama.