Rita Boley Bolaffio

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Rita Boley Bolaffio (Trieste, Italy, 7 June 1898 - New York City, United States, 20 May 1995) was an artist who was instrumental in reintroducing collage and decoupage into the United States. She created powerful artwork that underscored the importance of grace and imagination.

Early years[edit]

Rita was born Margherita Luzzatto to Angelo Luzzatto and Olga Senigaglia in Trieste, Italy.

Her family moved to Vienna, where she passed World War I. She studied art under Josef Hoffmann at the Kunstgewerbeschule and did textile designs for the renowned Wiener Werkstaette under the name Grete Luzzatto. She also studied violin under the famous violinist František Ondříček.

In 1919 she married Oscar Bolaffio, an architect and engineer, and cousin of painter Vittorio Bolaffio. They moved to Milan in 1928, where Rita became one of the first horsewomen in Italy, riding sidesaddle, and won the "Premio Ciglione della Malpensa" (the Ciglione della Malpensa Prize) in 1936.

American career[edit]

Machine for Writing Poetry, circa 1955
Arabesque, circa 1963

In 1939, the Fascist anti-Jewish policies forced the family to flee to America. She began a career as an artist, specializing in imaginative collages that were displayed in the windows of most major department stores in America, including Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Carson Pirie Scott, and many more, as well as many private commissions. She regularly contributed covers for such magazines as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Town & Country, Good Housekeeping, and Woman's Day.

She had many awards and one-woman exhibitions at museums and galleries (e.g. James Pendleton Gallery in New York City, J.L. Hudson Gallery, Detroit, Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, N.Y. and the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina). Her work was showcased in the New York Times, as well as European reference works on modern art.

She received the Premio di Sorrento 1965 for her poem "Nell'afa".