(Montevarchi – AR, 1917; Ibid, 1986)

Also known by the nickname Chiò for his extraordinary ability to create elegant drawings in a few seconds just like the great Japanese artist Hokusai, Galeffi is an original artist. He knows writers and poets like Carlo Betocchi, Vittorio Vettori and Danilo Masini. His friends include the critics and Art historians Roberto Salvini, Enzo Carli, Fortunato Bellonzi, Luigi Grassi, Matteo Marangoni and Giuseppe Marchiori. He is a friend of the director Franco Simongini and frequents Fiamma Vigo’s historic gallery Numero. He knows artists of the calibre of Fernando Melani. He wins prizes at the Florentine Fiorino exhibition and participates in important national exhibitions such as the Carrara Biennial Exhibition and the Rome Quadrennial Exhibition. All this makes Ernesto Galeffi one of the most significant post war Tuscan artists. He begins his career in the 1930s and his style is essentially graphic. By the mid fifties Galeffi is producing highly original sculptures which are not out of place in the contemporary European landscape. After an initial contemplation of Constantin Brancusi’s reflections on art which push him towards the production of synthetic sculptures in bronze or aluminium, Galeffi’s work achieves absolute originality by the end of the 1950s. The smooth surfaces give way to more tormented matter which is almost vibrant. Birds and fish are reduced to their skeletal essence like the fossils of a long gone age. Almost simultaneously he introduces a theme which is close to his heart: Fedeli d’Amore (The Faithful to Love). It is here that Galeffi manifested his singular artistic talents, and his ability to invent completely new mythologies and iconographies. He revealed himself to be very much in line with the contemporary totemic research carried out by Mirko or Wotruba. There are also a series of portraits and self- portraits from this period which are absolutely reminiscent of Giacometti. Galeffi was a highly original and fascinating character who also wrote about thirty short satirical books in which he made fun of post-war provincial society.

Alfonso Panzetta