June 16, 1939, the year she left the Art Student's League in NYC, 23-year old Louise Marianetti stretched four linen canvases. She coated them, along with several panels, with white lead gesso, preparing them for paintings that, in the next 70 years, never made it onto the canvases. Which is not to say she stopped painting, for according to Cathy Bert of the Bert Gallery, Marianetti returned to Providence in the early 40’s, reconnected with her RISD friends (she earned a degree from RISD in 1936), joined the Providence Art Club and continued to paint and exhibit.
Why this sudden interest in Marianetti? It's because I am fortunate to have "inherited" those canvases along with oil paints with ridiculously low price tags still attached, brushes and assorted tools from her studio. Louise Marianetti died last year and her family is working with the Bert Gallery on an exhibit focusing on the years when she stretched those canvases. They wanted to pass along her unused supplies to artists who would use them. I was thrilled to be one of those artists.
The exhibit will take place early next year. She doesn't have much of a web presence, but I've seen two of her egg tempera paintings, unframed and protected by yellowed glassine paper. They were portraits of women that reminded me of Botticelli, that is, if Botticelli had moved to South America and become a surrealist. I'm looking forward to seeing more, in the meantime, I will have to paint something really special on those canvases.