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Giuseppe Lazzarotto's biography_

Born on 11/2/1909 in Valstagna, first-born among the 8 children of Giacomo Lazzarotto (Giaco Martini) and Filomena Cavalli.

1916    Giuseppe recalls watching, from his house, the “Brigata Sassari” on its way to the Asiago upland, with the musical band on the front playing “Il soldato innamorato” (Soldier in love). He also remembers his grandmother Beppa offering slices of polenta (porridge) and cheese to those soldiers.

1917    After Caporetto, due to the dangerous approaching of soldiers at war, all the inhabitants of Valstagna are sent away, Giuseppe and his family end up in Benevento.

1919    They return to Valstagna, the village is torn apart. The family settles down in Fontanella, at the foot of “Calà del Sasso”, a small village in Asiago. His father Giacomo starts a little construction company; with all the ruins caused by the war, there is a good demand for this kind of work and therefore the family, for a short period, lives in comfort. Giuseppe gives a hand at home taking jobs here and there, such as taking goats grazing. His father promotes the foundation of a musical band with a donation of one thousand Italian lire. Regrettably the cooperative companies suffer a crisis due to lack of financing, and many of them start going bankrupt, and so did his father’s company.

1924    Together with his father, Giuseppe emigrates in France, in Unnecurt in Alsace Lorena.

1925    He moves to Tour-du-Pin in Isère with his father and some fellows where he finds a job in a rope factory. After some time he returns to Valstagna with his father.

1927    Giuseppe is 18 and he is unemployed, his auntie lends him a bicycle and he emigrates to Venaria Reale (Turin) where important public and private projects are underway. A village for the factory workers of Snia Viscosa, schools and other buildings are being constructed. Giuseppe finds a job in one of the building sites, later he joins Otis and afterwards Martiny where he is trained to work as an electrician.

1930    He serves military services in Verona with the Alpini corps. Among the fellow Soldiers he remembers Dondi dell’Orologio who nick-named him “Sagoma”. During military service he is sent to recover corps from the hills of War.

1931    When he finishes his military service, he goes back to his family in Venaria Reale.

1932    The whole family returns to Valstagna, his mother Filomena is not in good health. The village is still full of misery and hunger.

1933    With other villagers he enlists for land reclamation in Agro Pontino; some of them will remain in the region of Lazio for good.

1934    His father has an accident on the mountains and dies; it is Good Friday, while he is cutting wood, a stone falls from the wall and hits him on the head. On his funeral, the musical band, who had come to an end long before, is back together for a last tribute. Being the eldest among eight children, Giuseppe has to undertake the most difficult burden: support his family. He takes up different jobs, even tobacco smuggling, like many others in the Brenta Canal.

1938    He returns to Venaria Reale and for some months he works for the “Fabbriche riunite industrie gomma Torino” (United Rubber Factories of Turin).

1939    In Venaria Reale he marries Adele Pellin, a fellow villager. She gives birth to their firstborn son Luciano. Giuseppe is called to serve in the army and he is sent to the north of Cuneo. On the 5/11/1939 he is discharged from the force and he gets a job at the Fiat Iron Foundry as an electrician. In the foundry he meets and hangs around with some anarchists; workmen from Tuscany coming from the areas of metal mines, they start teaching him about Marxism.

1941    The birth of Marisa. Propaganda activities against fascism and against the war start taking place.

1944    The birth of Giovanna. Giuseppe starts secret activities against fascism in the Valleys of Lanzo on the 4/5/1944. He makes his first charcoal and china bark drawings during the partisans period, he draws on blotting paper from the paper factories of Burgo di Germagnano, a village of the Lanzo Valleys.

1945    He is injured during a roundup. In the partisan formation he is Commander in Chief of his comrade, and he is known by his battle name “Proletario” (Proletarian). On 7/6/1945 he goes back to his family in Venaria and takes up his work at the Fiat Iron Foundries.

1948    He looses his firstborn Luciano. He starts taking painting lessons with Venanzio Zolla while he continues his work at the factory. He meets Francesco Menzio at Palazzo Carignano and frequents the “Promotrice delle Belle Arti”.

1951    He wins the first prize at the “Workers Exhibition” of Turin. He is one of the members of an association called “Gruppo Promotore delle arti fra lavoratori”. (Promoting Group of Arts among Workers)

1952    He visits the Biennale exhibition of Venice thanks to the insistence of Professor Menzio, who also pays for his train ticket.

1953    He exhibits his first works in group exhibitions at the Promotrice delle Belle Arti and at Palazzo Chiablese.

1955    He is stimulated by Prof. Menzio to visit the exhibition of Caravaggio in Milan. Together with Guttuso, Manzù, Zancanaro and Treccani, his works are at the exhibition of the Resistenza di Biella.

1956    While he is drawing outside the Biennale of Venezia, a passer-by is attracted by his work, he introduces himself and has words of appreciation for Giuseppe’s work. The passer-by is Andrei Goubert, curator of the Puskin Museum of Moscow. He offers him the picture which Goubert will exhibit in one of the museum halls.

1961    First one-man exhibition at the Galleria Caver of Turin. Menzio is the editor of his catalogue, there are various reviews. Giuseppe had already participated in various group exhibitions, including the one at the Trade Union Headquarters of Turin.

1969    He retires from his work (in August). In October he returns to Valstagna with his wife for good.

1970    He is elected councillor in the minority group in the Valstagna local Council.

1989    His wife Adele passes away at the age of 70.

2001    His last exhibition is the anthological show “Luoghi di vita e di memoria” (Places of Life and Memory) in Bassano del Grappa.

27/8/2002 He dies in Valstagna at the age of 93.