Salvatore Fiume

The work of Salvatore Fiume is considered some of the most refined of our time. Born in Comiso Sicily, in 1915, Fiume was given a scholarship to the Royal Institute for Book Illustration when he was only sixteen.

While at the Royal Institute he befriended several writers who would have an important influence on his career, including Raffaele Carriere, Salvatore Quasimodo, a lyrical poet and Nobel Prize winner of 1959; Dino Buzzati, a novelist (Il Deserto dei Tartari) a writer of short stores for Corriere della Sera. In 1936 the artist completed his studies at the Urbino Art Institute at Le Marche, planning to become a famous Milanese painter. His first bout of success, though, came not in the visual arts but with the publication of his novel, Viva gioconda! in 1943. Despite the success of his novel, however, Fiume’s writing always came second to his painting.

Throughout his career Fiume maintained a flare for the dramatic. He enjoyed misleading his audience and staging theatrical exhibitions in order to confuse and entertain his viewers. In 1946 he showed to rather extensive exhibits of his work; however, instead of showing as himself, he assumed the name and traits of a nonexistent Andalusian artist Francisco Cuello, who was supposedly and exile in Paris from the Spanish Civil War. In 1949, Fiume exhibited under his own name, and was received by both critics and audiences alike with great aclaim. It was during this period that he’s painting Islands of Statues came to the attention of his critics. In addition, the Venice Biennale of 1950 exhibited a large triptych of Fiume’s to herald the opening of the show.

In 1950, Fiume made his debut in theatrical design and scenography with La Scala. His excessive brought him to the attention of other theaters such as London’s Covent Gardens, the Rome Opera House, and the Massimo of Palermo. From 1950 to 1953 he decorated the transatlantic ships the Giulio Cesare, the Andrea Doria, and the Michelangelo. He painted frescoes for the Time-Life offices in New York City and a 1967 created a mosaic for the apse of the Basilicas of the Annunciation in Nazareth. In 1962 a traveling exhibition of one hundred of Fiume’s works was shown throughout Germany and, later on, throughout Italy and the United States.

Salvatore Fiume’s works are all well represented throughout the world and are included in the collection of several museums including the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Museum of modern Art in New York and the Pushkin in Moscow, and the Vatican Museum.