Antonio Berni

Delesio Antonio Berni (14 May 1905 – 13 October 1981) was a neofigurative artist, born in Rosario, province of Santa Fe, Argentina. He worked as a painter, an illustrator and an engraver. His father, Napoleón Berni, was an immigrant tailor from Italy. His mother, Margarita Picco, was an Argentinian, daughter of Italians settled in Roldán, a nearby town.

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In 1914 he became an apprentice in the Buxadera and Co. vitraux factory, receiving instruction from its founder, a Catalan craftsman. He spent only a short time here, since his father returned to Italy, and Berni was sent to his grandparents’ house in Roldán. Napoleón Berni died in World War I.


“Juanito Laguna remontando un barrilete” Antonio Berni – 1973

In July 2008, thieves disguised as police officers stole 15 Berni paintings “of great national value”, according to Culture Secretary Jose Nun. The paintings were being transported by truck from a suburb to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires.

You can read the full story below:

Fake cops steal valuable Berni paintings in Argentina

Thieves disguised as cops stopped a truck and made off with 15 paintings of Argentina’s late Antonio Berni “of great national value,” Culture Secretary Jose Nun said Saturday.

The paintings, which were being transported from a suburb to the Bellas Artes National Museum, “have no commercial value since they can’t be sold legally in the country,” Nun said.

But they are “of great national value and represent an enormous loss to Argentine culture,” he added.

“The robbers, disguised as cops, forced the truck to make a detour, transferred the cargo to another truck and threatened our employees with weapons,” said Jorge Mendez, who runs the transportation company that owns the truck.

The artist’s son Juan Antonio Berni described the stolen paintings as “the core work” of his father, who died in 1981.

According to auction house reports, Berni’s paintings have sold for in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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