Alina De Salvador Ponzetto, the talent and strenght of an artist

At the beginning of the new year, 2021, “Fatto a Mano” editorial staff wants to send a very special postcard to an unforgettable “Artisan of Arts”, who, with her talent and tenacity, has always been ahead of her time, becoming a wonderful example of woman able to highly realize her expressive potential, whilst caring for her family.


We first met in 2005, when the newspaper I was working for, “L’Adige” in Trento, asked me to write an interview. “She is a quoted artist, they had told me, who had spent her youth between Trentino and Veneto, and many years ago she moved to Torino”. I’ve met her a few times before writing the interview, to which the newspaper would have reserved an entire page in the Culture section, in order to mark the highlights of her life and retrace the stages of her artistic success.

Daughter of a primary school teacher, Alina was born in Belluno in 1921. Her stories of her youth, her studies at the Dame Inglesi in Trento, the first rendez-vous with her future husband may seem romantic pages drawn from a “feuilleton” of the past century. A lifelong love, that Alina lived with dedication and intensity. Her education as a young lady went hand in hand with her artistic formation. Her first teacher, Rasmo with his “imperious moustaches” and, then, the classes at the Venetian Academy with Virgilio Guidi encouraged her in following her artistic vein. Even when, mother of three kids, her painting studio coincided with the kitchen and the inspirations of her creations had changed from the scenery of the Garda lake and the mountains of Trentino or the Venetian views to the still life, the fruit, the bushmeat left on the wooden table. Together with the new subjects she experimented new techniques, always looking for more effective instruments to illustrate her daily living. Gouaches, oil paints, Indian ink, charcoal… and then she mixed to her colors hidden collages: it might be a curly angel’s head or a chocolate golden wrap, details skillfully laid within one and another brushstroke.

During one of my visits, I remember I gazed fascinated behind her while in a few seconds, despite her respectable age, on a paper sheet with some charcoal she gave life to a lush bouquet of roses: at that very moment I perceived that she would have liked to pass on to young students her art and technique…

Her apartment in the Crocetta borough, was like an Art Gallery and her works were hanging on walls or leaning down all around; in some big folders several drawings and drafts of paintings were collected by subject and technique. Once I brought with me my mother and they got along very well together, establishing a relationship based on esteem and affection, maybe also due to common memories on the Garda Lake. So, two years later, we, together, organized an exhibition at the Officers’ Club in Torino, with a choice of 40 works, representing the evolution of her artistic expression. That was not her first exhibit, her debut had been at the Chamber of Commerce of Trento and, afterwards in Torino, she had realized two solo shows at the Promotrice delle Belle Arti and at the Piemonte Artistico e Culturale.

Art critics had already enthusiastically reviewed her works. Here are some quotes. “…In the pages of a bright expressionism De Salvador’s narration is accomplished, a colorful figuration and an incisive line unfolds resolving to convey the emotion of an instant, the interest for truth, the contrast of the sunset”, that’s what Angelo Mistrangelo wrote in September 2005. Furthermore, Marziano Bernardi commented: “Alina De Salvador employs a very peculiar and effective technique: a combination of gouaches and collage of colorful papers… she represents through her paper cut-outs the natural pattern, in order to enhance her materialized evidence through effects of tasteful vividness and scenic perspective.” Gian Giorgio Massara, presenting Alina at the opening of the exhibition at Palazzo Pralormo, the Officers’ Club, depicted in words the artistic path of the Painter: “… a path… supported by a strong narrative vein… the Painter unveils herself in the string of attentively chosen chromatic tones, that mutate into inner harmonies of forms and expressions.”

The past October, having not received a reply to a telephone call, I found by chance an obituary in the web archive of the newspaper “La Stampa”: Alina De Salvador was gone, the news at funeral occurred.

The last call with her, for me, has been during the first lockdown: I called her from New York and I promised her… for her 100th birthday, we’d organize a new exhibit! And we would have done it. The enthusiasm that her voice revealed, though veiled by the regret of not being anymore able to keep colors in her hands, did not rise any doubts: this difficult period would pass over, too, and Alina and her creations, always new and innovative, would inspire again a “retrieved’ public of art lovers.