Born Giuseppe Dangelico in Bari, Italy on November 8, 1939, Pino Daeni, who signed his name, “Pino,” began his studies at the Bari Art Institute. In 1960, he entered Milan’s Academy of Brera where he honed his talents and skill for painting nudes and the human figure which became the cornerstone of his artwork.
In Milan he embraced the influence of the Pre-Raphaelites, including John Everett Millias, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Hunt. This group of artists and poets from the mid 19th century rejected the mannerist approaches to art which they believed began with Raphael and embraced the classical depiction of nature in its purity and the grand compositions of 14th century Italian masters.
Around this same time Pino began experimentation with the expressionist approaches of the painters of the late ‘60s, and came under the influence of the Macchiaioli School, a group of artists (also from the mid 19th century) who broke with the traditions of the academy and focused on a tonal approach to painting, working out of the studio (plein-aire) and embracing the works of Rembrandt, Caravaggio and Tintoretto. Pino also became fascinated with several important artists of the early 20th century, particularly Joaquin Sorolla, John Singer Sargent, and Giovanni Boldini. These masters of figurative painting imbued their works with a vital spirit, achieved through rapid and deft brushwork which revealed each artist’s technical virtuosity. This set the standard for Pino’s artwork and he worked tirelessly over the years to achieve his own technical fluency.
From 1960 to 1979, his work appeared in juried exhibitions and won numerous prizes and awards. These paintings were early renderings of the style for which he became famous in years to come. At the same time, he was commissioned by Italy’s two largest book publishers, Mondadori and Rizzoli, to create illustrations and cover designs. This experience would provide the foundation for his technical development and launch his career as one of the most important figurative painters of his time.
In 1979, Pino immigrated to the United States under the sponsorship of Borghi Gallery where he held several successful shows in New York and Massachusetts. From 1980 to 1994, he gained great popularity and prominence among the book publishers, Zebra, Bantam, Simon and Schuster, Harlequin, Penguin USA, and Dell. His fresh, expressive and dramatic interpretations made him an artist in high demand. His style influenced and dominated the market for book illustration and the romantic book genre for more than a decade.
Beginning in 1992, Pino turned to the creation of fine art and his works became quickly sought-after by prominent galleries throughout the United States. As a fine artist, his focus moved back toward his early experiences and the influences he encountered during his days in Milan, mainly through ongoing explorations in technique, tone, and harmony. Once again Pino was able to demonstrate his extraordinary technical mastery fueling the demand for his works in all media.
Pino’s themes brought out the complexities of human relationships, dealing with states of connection and separation, the interaction of mother and child and the young with the old. His works focused on the female figure, inspired by growing up surrounded by sisters, aunts, and female cousins. Pino’s command of technique enabled him to transcribe the facial expressions of his subjects and imbue them with emotion and psychological potency. The character’s deftly rendered garments, moody interiors or brightly lit landscapes and beaches, served as elements and settings for his highly theatrical compositions. His work achieved an elusive balance of harmony in form and content and this became the hallmark of his style. Neither his extraordinary virtuosity as a painter, nor the powerful narrative aspect depicted in his work took prominence. Rather, they each contributed and created a poised equilibrium which remains instantly arresting to the viewer. As his fame grew, Pino continued to make public appearances at prestigious galleries, at events on cruise ships and at major art expositions. He and his works appeared on major television networks and he was interviewed by numerous national and international art journals during his lifetime.
Pino died on May 25, 2010, but his artwork remains deeply respected, highly sought-after by collectors worldwide, and has placed him firmly into the historical narrative of important figurative painters.