During a oneman show at Bevilacqua Americans arrive: a gallery
in Los Angeles signs a contract with him. For a brief period it
seems as if commercial success pours down on him: they organise
exhibitions, they sell his paintings at high prices to big people
in legendary California. Then suddenly silence. Apparently the rumour
of his communism has reached them, right in the middle of Macarthyism.
And he lost even about forty of his very best paintings.
With that little economic euphoria he takes a new studio in San
Vio and rents a house in San Pietro in Volta for one summer, in
57, to take his children to.
But he doesnt paint the sea. A series of vegetable gardens
in Portosecco emerges, lumpy and materic lines of dark vegetables,
under white or yellow skies: the object can only just be glimpsed,
but the precise reference to nature cannot be missed. Nature in
which there is the peasant who is unseen, but who is omnipresent
in the humus of that salty earth. And they are followed by the black
material lands, where the lumps of colour even stick out, with flaming
skies at sunset but also teapots, these unexpected stilllifes
that cut into matter and, further still, make the mixture of nature
and man credible. But as the sense of his work becomes clearer in
his mind, almost as a natural contrast, his uneasiness and intolerance
to bear the Venetian artistic circles becomes more and more acute.
Extremely gentle in human relationships, tolerant and generous towards
the suffering and weakness of feelings, he becomes bitter and rigorous
when painting is involved, because for him painting means cleaning,
it is the moral of truth as far as this can be contingent. Thus
the enthusiastic Lucatello of the early years becomes chronically
angry. At exhibitions he argues with the organizers who want agreement,
with the critics who in the juries discard authentic effort and
are indulgent towards the anonymous throng of beggars. Lucatello
becomes an embarassment. He is always somebody who has worked
well three years before. Or perhaps he is good but went
his own sweet way. With him there is no chance of dialogue,
he is a bit mad, an isolated. And he in fact isolate himself. Venice
becomes a hated love. He wants to leave, but not just to have supporters
in other art capitals and cliques: his is the choice of an exile.