Giulia Orecchia, A teatro con Gianni Rodari, digital collage.
Giulia Orecchia, At the Theater with Gianni Rodari, 2018, digital collage.

Italian Excellence

Illustrations for Gianni Rodari

Sep 7, 2019 – Nov 10, 2019

Giovanni “Gianni” Rodari was a celebrated Italian writer, journalist, and children’s author. Considered by many to be Italy’s most important twentieth-century writer for children, Rodari was awarded the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1970 to recognize his achievements. In honor of the centenary of Rodari’s birth, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Regione Emilia Romagna, and the Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco have partnered to present an exhibition of original illustrations for Rodari’s books. The exhibition represents a timeline of Italian design, introducing historical figures like Bruno Munari and Emanuele Luzzati, as well as contemporary artists, many of whom are internationally recognized.

Portland is proud to partner with our sister city, Bologna, Italy, to present this winsome look into Italian book illustration. Italian Excellence is timed to coincide with the Portland Book Festival presented by Literary Arts on Saturday, November 9. Book lovers of all ages will delight to the creative and playful designs that make Rodari’s work beloved by readers.

“As a former bookseller, lover of illustrated books, and Portland’s Art Commissioner, I’m thrilled about this exhibit celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Portland-Bologna Sister City relationship,” said Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. “I am so grateful to the Italian Cultural Institute San Francisco and the Consulate General of Italy for the gift of this amazing exhibit and to Director Ferriso and the Portland Art Museum for hosting the exhibit. I am particularly excited to see original work by artist, writer, inventor, designer, architect, and illustrator Bruno Munari. Munari’s work often transcends the limitations of the traditional two-dimensional book format with die cuts, transparent pages, fold-outs, and pop-ups. His work invites engagement with the reader and inspires a sense of wonder and enchantment in readers of all ages.”

The exhibition is organized by the Italian Cultural Institute San Francisco and Bologna Fiere, with the support of the Consulate General of Italy in San Francisco, Portland City Hall, City of Bologna, Regione Emilia Romagna and Portland-Bologna Sister City Association.

Curated by Giannino Stoppani Cultural Collective, Accademia Drosselmeier.