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Sandra Tenconi: an artist's biography

1937. S.T. is born in Varese, the last of six children. Her house has a large garden and a kitchen garden, where she spends much of her time. These memories will live forever with her.
1943. Her home is bombed, the family moves 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 her grandmother S.T. decides to enroll at the Art School kept by the Ursulines, in Milan. Here she studies with Giovanni Battista Salerno and Gino Moro.
1955. Sandra enters the Brera Academy, attending courses with Aldo Carpi and Domenico Cantatore. She associates with the younger generation of "New Figuration"; but never feel quite one of the flock. Her 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. S.T. draws a series of the London docks.
1959. S.T. is awarded the first prize at Premio Diomira for drawing.
1960. First solo exhibition in Varese, introduced by Dante Isella.
1965. Sandra gets married; she will get three children. She frequently works 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. She begins 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. S.T. moves 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 Sandra meets 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 Sandra begins the series of 'Oltrepò Pavese' (pastels and acrylics). She produces 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. Sandra goes 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. S.T. comes 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, Sandra never went to sleep without Lulu, her teddy bear. Now that many years have passed and many more teddy bears have joined Lulu, she decided to take them as a painting subject. A whole series of teddy bears, on the narrow ridge between tenderness and drama.  

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