Jean Pierre Velly and Rosa Maria Estadella were a pair of painters and engravers from the end of the 20th century, who lived in Formello, a village located in the countryside at the gates of Rome.
Rosa Maria was Catalan, born in Barcelona on March the 3rd 1942, where she lived during her childhood and youth. She spent her summers with her family in her grandfather’s holiday home, in Sant Pere de Torelló, a small village in the pre-Pyrenees in Catalonia, the region between the Osona and Garrotxa, not far from the French border. Even as a child she had developed a strong artistic and creative sensibility and she had already illustrated books for children when she started to study at the fine arts school; study that she associated with work at the typography that her father owned in Barcelona, in Verdi street.
Just around twenty years old, in 1964, she leaves for Paris, where she devotes herself to the engraving and wins the Award for foreign engravers at Lucien Couteau atelier. She also attends the school of Fine Arts in Paris, where she meets Jean Pierre.
Jean Pierre was Breton, born in Audierne on September the 14th, 1943. Due to the work of his father who was gendarme, he often changed city, but almost every summer he returned to Brittany to spend the holidays with his maternal grandparents. Brittany, land of sailors and legends, the Celtic culture and the charachter of maternal grandparents will be fundamental in the development of Velly’s artistic poetics, having he had already a strong artistic vocation since his was a child.
In the sixties he moved to Paris. At night he works in the post office and during the day he studies and copies the great masters at the Louvre, where he is struck by the moulds of nordic engravers. The engraving, the representation in black and white, was his first great artistic love.
In 1965 he knows and falls in love with Rosa Maria. The following year they marry, civil wedding in Paris and religious one in Barcelona. The same year Jean Pierre wins the National Engraving Competition, the Grand Prix de Rome, which gives the winner a three-year scholarship at Villa Medici, in Rome, where they move to the beginning of 1967. After the three years scholarship the couple of artists decides to stay in Italy, but moves to Formello, a small village in the countryside on the outskirts of Rome.
Velly has his studio-atelier of engraving and painting in the heart of the ancient village of Formello, where often art gallery holders, art critics and writers come to visit him. Simple, friendly and straightforward, he gets quickly friend with the people of Formello, who become often protagonists of many Velly portraits. He takes part in several exhibitions in Italy and abroad, devoting himself more and more to painting than engraving, especially since the 1980s. He also dedicates himself to teaching, both with his personal students and through graphic art schools. In 1990, at the age of only 46 years old, he dies in an accident aboard a catamaran on Lake Bracciano.
Estadella, in Formello, works in the studio of their home in the ancient village, dedicating herself mainly to watercolor and oil painting and takes part in personal and collective exhibitions both in Italy and abroad. It is mainly since 1988 that Rosa Maria delves into the oil technique and experiments a very personal style. In 1998 she gets sick and moves to France living between Brittany and Paris to cure. Brittany is always a beloved place for her, where she finds a close, very intense and intimate relationship with the nature and the sea, that she always loved so much and to which she dedicated her latest works: very intense watercolors of the Breton coast. In September 2000 she came back to Italy to stay with her sons. She dies on November the 11th, just 58 years old.
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