We are fortunate to have a firsthand depiction from Isabella Bueno, daughter of this great painter, who was kind enough to share the curiosities of his life.

Antonio Bueno was born in 1918 to a Spanish father and Jewish mother in Berlin, Germany. He was the youngest of three children raised in cosmopolitan environments such as Germany, Spain and Switzerland.

In Geneva he began his artistic training following in the footsteps of his big brother, Xavier, who was also destined for a successful career. They were united by their passions for painting, politics and music. After a period of stability in the 30’s, the separation of Buenos parents forced Antonio, his two brothers and his mother to move and leave their father to his new life; his father was in love with another woman, with whom he had a daughter and second family in Switzerland. Bueno wandered around Europe, mostly in England and France, before arriving to Florence in 1940. After a life full of journey and experience, this was where he chose to remain. Isabella Bueno, his daughter, tells us how Florence was initially considered only a pit stop, but Bueno considered all that Florence had to offer, and made it his city. His priorities were classified as such: first was the war, then his love for Florence and finally the love of his life Evelina, the mother of his three children. The painter had finally put down roots and found the emotional stability to support his art. Bueno loved Florence, he behaved as a tourist and lived as a Florentine, observing life from his house in Fiesole, a quiet place in harmony with the hills. His talent enriched works of art which were noted all over the world.
… Isabella Bueno recounts …
“… he could not live without painting for more than two days, he was bored if he could not paint, even when we went on vacation, he brought canvas and brushes …”

“… yes, he was the first artist then a man. Painting was his life, but he also had other passions, he loved to play the piano (his father imposed nine years of violin at the conservatory), he listened to classical and hated contemporary music; loved reading classic books, historical novels, mysteries … at home he gardened a bit, it relaxed him, he lost himself in flower cultivation and when his art dealer came from San Domenico looking for his work, he ran into the studio and began sketching, to prove that he was being productive!”

From a young age he worked against the grain, branched out and experimented with different styles, from abstraction to the metaphysical and pop… then on to the “period of plastered pipe” from 1952 to 1959, which decreed his first big hit with a sold out major exhibition in New York.
After this event, Bueno decided to evolve and transform his beloved pipes into figures. He magnified profiles that retraced the suppleness and the white color of the clay pipes. The works in the Lungarno Collection date back to this new production. He began showing his figures characterized by small and concentrated physical features on the central part of bright face, full and oval, in the first half of the 1960’s. The nine works displayed are representative of the period of transition that led him to establish himself as “Antonio Bueno” or as some say ” the inspiration of Fernando Botero.” He was an eclectic artist, always ready to research, and a protagonist in the experimentation of the avant-garde. This lead him to be once again to swim against the tide in a period in which everything was “vanguard”. He returned to himself, to neo-romanticism.

“… in his way to be counter-emerged in work, a serious and inflexible man, he creates ironic self portraits, identifying with people contrary to him, like Napoleon, rather than a bullfighter or a sailor …”

Confident with his technique, he used his fingers to create leaden shades and “… with the lips, he was the tip of the fine brushes …” We arrive at the end of his precious path, the hotel’s collection dedicated to this artist is a window to his house in Fiesole, where the instruments of his work and his various experiments still reside.

Antonio Bueno died in 1984 after a long illness, which never kept him away from his art.