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Tonino ForteleoniTonino Forteleoni, third out of seven children, was born on December 26,1915, by
Giovanni and Sebastiana Pala. On May 27,1939, he married to Elena Maurelli. When his father died, in 1944, at first he carried on his father’s factory, together with his brother Giovanni Antonio, just until the latter decided to go on with that work on his own. During the post-war, he began to set up the techniques he would get famous for: mosaic and cork covering. On June 2, 1956 he was conferred the honour of “Cavaliere al Merito della Repubblica”. From April 22, 1961 to November 22,1964 he held the office of Mayor of Luras.

1960' biennialHe collaborated with the ISOLA (a Sardinian Institution of arts and crafts), taking part to many exhibitions and to the biennials from 1959 to 1962 and then from 1970 to 1975. During the first biennial exhibition, in 1960, he was awarded for his innovations in cork working. Since 1959, and for next seven years, he taught “Laboratory of Arts and Crafts” in Cork Department of the “Industrial, Arts and Crafts Institute” in Calangianus. In 1985, his wife fell seriously ill and in 1992 she died, leaving him alone for just four years, as he died on November 22,1996.

After his death, in a drawer, a short anonymous writing was found, where he is wonderfully described and that we would like to quote:

T. F. portrayed by E. Carbini from CalangianusIf you happened to go through those amazing oak-woods, that, as Dante would say, “da nessun sentiero son segnati”(by any path are drawn), you might run into a seventy-year-old lad who, with watchful eyes looks through trees, one by one, following the branching off and the intertwining of its trunk and branches, searching, finding and appraising, with skilful eyes, different colour tones and the finest shades of that grain, the particular substance of that dress, the oaks deck themselves with: cork.
And cork, for this seventy-year-old lad, whose name is Tonino Forteleoni, has no secrets. He knows how to turn those gnarled chips into fabulous draperies of a Madonna’s dress; he knows how to keep up its living by other forms: those decorous and stylised of fanciful animals adorning a chest, or those tormented ones giving life to a dying Christ’s agony. The materials the artist makes use of lives here, in the woods. And that thick and close bark that wraps the oak up as an embrace is his palette.



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