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Franco Asco - Atschko (1903 - 1970)


Last updated 24/11/2000

FRANCO ASCO was born in Trieste on the 1st of June, 1903.

Before changing his name in Italian language in July 18, 1929, according to a ministerial decree, Franco Asco's name was Francesco Atschko, because of his Polish origin, from his mother's side.

Only when he became a grown-up person he got to know that his father was Francesco Mosti (or Nasti maybe), a noble Tuscan man from Massa Carrara. Before Franco's birth, his mother had other sons.

His husband suffered from tuberculosis and, in few years, he infected all his sons, too.

One after the other his husband and sons died and the woman remained alone.

In consequence of a secret relation, the woman had another son, who she particularly loved and whom she took care with great jealousy

He had an adventurous life.

He attended the first and second elementary school in New York, and then he continued his study in Italy.

Very precocious artist, in 1916 he astonished the public of his city by a sculpture representing the Emperor of Austria, Francesco Giuseppe, which was placed in the Government Palace.

This work let him gain a scholarship and gave him the possibility of attending the "Fine Arts Academy" in Vienna, where he got a degree with profit.

Afterwards, the young artist took part in other collective art-exhibitions with success.

In 1922 he won a national competition and obtained the silver medal by the Ministry of Education. The same year Asco exhibited with other artists at Ca' Pesaro in Venice.

In 1923 he took part again in many local and national art-exhibitions. In the same period the Civic Museum Revoltella awarded him a sum of money which allowed him to further improve his art in the "Fine Arts Academy" in Venice.

In 1924 an important insurance group donated his sculpture Flora to Museo Revoltella.

In 1925 it was made the first national art-exhibition in his hometown and he won the second prize for the monument to Guglielmo Oberdan.

In 1926, invited by the Ministry of Education, he participated in an Italian art-exhibition in Barcelona (Spain).

Subsequently, he took par to numerous exhibitions among them the 17th, 18th and 22nd Biennial Exhibition of Modern Arts in Venice.

In 1929 is invited to the Italian Artists Exhibition in Barcelona.

In 1930 his sculpture Anima is shown at Quadrennial in Rome.

In 1932 he was present in Vienna to an Italian art-exhibition organised by the Biennial of Venice. In the same year he won the gold metal awarded by the town hall in Udine.

In 1933 moved from Trieste to Milan, where opened a beautiful studio.

In 1936 met Gin, a very promising soprano, and a beautiful and lively woman.

In 1937, the Pesaro Gallery in Milan organised for him an important personal art-exhibition, which consecrated him officially. On that occasion both the Civic Gallery of Modern Arts in Milan and the Ambrosian Picture Gallery bought some of his sculptures for their collection.

Even if he did not show often his art works in public, the Second World War did not stop the activity of this artist.

In 1947 he went to San Paulo in Brazil, showing an art-exhibition in the Hotel Esplanada and gained a big success in South-America.

When he came back to Italy, in 1948 he presented a personal exhibition in the "Cairola Gallery" in Milan and completed a beautiful "Last Supper", with all 12 Apostles and Jesus Christ made in white marble.

In 1949 he took a brave step, producing his works in polemic with the artistic styles of those years, first in the "Nuova Arredo" in Trieste and in 1950 in the "Cairola Gallery" in Milan. A short documentary about these exhibitions was showed in May 1950 at Arlecchino Cinema in Milan.

In 1951 he dedicated an art-exhibition to the "Motherhood" in "Cairola Gallery" of Milan.

In 1952 in Florence he won the prize "Resistance" at the international competition for the monument in the Unknown Political Prisoner's memory. The prize was awarded to him at Strozzi Palace by the Prof. Giulio Carlo Argan, art critic and later mayor in Rome.

In 1954, in Trieste, after having held a personal exhibition, he won another competition for the bronze monument of the "Immaculate" and, on the 11th of September, at last married his adored Gin.

In 1961, in Milan, he won the competition for the big decorative panel of the New Lido Sport Palace face.

In 1961 in Trieste he hold a personal art-exhibition.

In 1962 he began some great abstract works for the exhibition of the "Permanent Museum" of Enzo Pagani in Castellanza (Legnano) and, in 1963, he hold a personal art-exhibition in the rooms of the "Skyscraper Gallery", also by Pagani.

In 1968 in Milan he presented his last personal art-exhibition in the rooms of the "Cortina Gallery".

Franco Asco died in Milan on 27th March 1970, in the morning of one Good Friday.



There are innumerable Asco's works, which are part of public and private collections:

Various works are located in public museums in Milan and Trieste.

A valuable San Francisco statue decks one of the Milan Cathedral's spires; a Madonna statue adorns P.zza Garibaldi Square in Trieste.

Some big abstracts sculpture can be seen in the Pagani Museum in Castellanza (Varese).

Several funereal monuments are in Monumental Cemetery in Milan and in S.Anna's Cemetery in Trieste.

Among the numerous high decoration works he made in Milan, the ornament about the dance story at Ariston Cinema and always in Milan, drawings on glass and panels at the Metro-Astra Cinema and also bas-relieves in the Colosseo and Corso Cinema.

In Trieste, we point out the two figures on the front of the Maritime Station, the two busts on the front of the Harbour Office (Capitaneria di Porto, ex-Idroscalo) and the three statues of roman jurists on the Low Courts (Palazzo di Giustizia).

At last we wish to mention the following private collections: De Angeli Frua, Bassetti, Borletti, Bernini, Visconti, Anthony Quinn, Sgarbi and so on.