Ely De Vescovi

Ely De Vescovi (1910-1998)

Ely De Vescovi  was born in 1910. Descended from the great Italian artist Tinoretto, De Vescovi is an artist who has fallen to relative obscurity. De Vescovi worked along side some of the most influential artists of the 20th century. She herself innovated a great modernist technique that revolutionized fresco painting. A pupil of the muralist Diego Rivera in Mexico City, she she assisted Rivera in completing public murals commissioned by the Mexican government. Her first work with Rivera was helping to repaint his infamous Rockefeller Center mural, "Man at the Crossroads," which was destroyed in New York. 

A friend of Frida Kahlo's, De Vescovi assisted Rivera in his revolutionary discoveries of modern fresco techniques by creating a way to retouch a fresco after it had dried. Her formula used equal parts butanol and water that could be applied with an airbrush every four hours to keep the plaster moist for up to 56 hours.  This tripled the previous time for fresco painting. De Vescovi had studied chemistry in order to develop such a revolutionary method. De Vescovi also found a way to grind cadmium pigments into a fine texture to be used in frescoes. 

De Vescovi was commended by the art community for such innovations, but has been largely forgetten considering her considerable contribution to Rivera and fresco-painting.  In 1935 De Vescovi displayed her oil paintings and watercolors including landscapes, figures, and still lifes. De Vescovi was a close friend of muralist Jose Orozco, who also worked in California.

In 1938, she travelled to the United States and during the 1940s she painted murals throughout southern California including one at the Los Angeles's Sawtelle Psychiatric Hospital. Her landscapes and portraits often depicted religious iconography and theology.   De Vescovi  never returned to Mexico.

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