Who is Enrico Garff?

By Gwylym Owen

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Enrico Garff (26 November 1939) is an Italian portrait painter and colourist. Garff has worked as an artist in Positano, Sorrento, Rome, Sicily and in Sweden and Finland.

His father, Emilio Boffe, was an opera singer whose career, however, was compromised by his nervous temperament. His mother, Gertrude Garff, daughter of a Swedish pharmacist, came to Rome to study opera singing. She had already performed with the “King of the Baritones” by Mattia Battistini, but her career also ended in tragedy, because she almost overnight lost her beautiful operatic voice.

Enrico Garff, self-taught, started painting at the age of six. From the very beginning, he always considered himself an artist. “I have continued to paint and paint all my life. The image must be a living being, and children are instinctively aware of this.

Garff’s works count up oils, watercolours, acrylics, gouaches and paintings on silk. His favourite themes are humans, horses and mythology. His art can be found in the homes of many a enthusiast of art and horses in Finland, in accessory to some works displayed in public buildings.

The artist’s largest ham it up in oils is seven metres wide. In Hufvudstadsbladet Helena Husman gives a thorough description of this painting ‘Sons of the Sun’ which is collocated at the Kamp Social Services Centre in Helsinki. This pictorial ode to mythology and joy is painted on five canvases and was inaugurated in 2003 together afterward the second portrait of President Martti Ahtisaari. Opening speeches for this issue were conducted by Ms Eeva Ahtisaari and by the artist’s wife, Ms Isabella Diana Gripenberg.

In 1989, Enrico Garff settled near the Colosseum, where he founded the Zuleika Group, Colourists of New Intuition, together with Romeo Meziska, a student of Renato Guttuso in collaboration with two other artists. In the newspaper l’Unita, a very positive article was written about all the artists of the Zuleika Group and, in particular, the transparent poetry of Enrico Garf’s landscapes and the interiors of Romeo Meziski was noted.

Enrico Garff in November 2018 was involved by SoCultures in a deep and spiritually enriching interview – “The World of Enrico Garff” – about the meaning of art, life with deep philosophical understanding. In an article in the Finnish-Swedish cultural magazine Astra, then Astra Nova, Dean Dixon’s widow, Mary Mandelin Dixon describes the artist and his family’s rural life in a fairytale house among figs, grapes and pink roses and a lawn bordering with a beautiful view of Tuskul … Garf’s works include oils, watercolors, acrylics, gouache and silk paintings. However, he resisted the temptation to make his art his only profession.

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