Topazia Alliata

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Topazia Alliata
Born (1913-09-05)September 5, 1913
Died November 23, 2015(2015-11-23) (aged 102)
Occupation Painter, art curator
Fosco Maraini
(m. 1935; div. 1970)

Topazia Alliata (Italian pronunciation: [toˈpattsja alˈljaːta]; 5 September 1913 – 23 November 2015) was an Italian painter, curator, art dealer and writer.


Alliata was born in Palermo from Prince Enrico Maria Alliata di Villafranca, Duke of Salaparuta (1879-1946), and a former opera singer, Oria Maria Amelia "Sonia" Ortúzar Ovalle de Olivares (1892-1981) , the daughter of a Chilean diplomat.[1] After graduating from liceo artistico, Alliata studied fine arts at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Palermo, where she was a fellow student of Renato Guttuso, who portrayed her in several of his early paintings.[1]

In 1935 she married Fosco Maraini, at the time an unknown scholar, who would later become an important anthropologist, giving birth one year later to their first child, Dacia Maraini.[1] In 1941 Maraini was invited to teach Italian literature at the Kyoto University and they moved to Japan, where they had two other children, Yuki (registered as Luisa in Italy) and Antonella "Toni". In 1943 the family was deported in a concentration camp in Nagoya following their refusal to swear allegiance to the Republic of Salò.[1][2] They was released at the end of the war in September 1945, and returned in Italy in 1946, settling in Bagheria, where Alliata engaged in the family business, the Salaparuta's Crow Wines.[2]

In 1955 Alliata and Maraini decided to separate. However, as divorce was illegal in Italy at the time, they were only able to divorce in 1970. Alliata subsequently moved to Rome, where she continued her work as a painter. In 1959 she sold the family wine business and founded Galleria Topazia Alliata in Trastevere, where she mainly exhibited avant-garde painters, including Carla Accardi, Eugene Charlton, Mario and Egidio de Grossi, Jannis Kounellis, Piero Manzoni, Fabio Mauri, Mohamed Melehi and Lucio Pozzi.[1][2] In 1963 Alliata organized the exhibition "Eight Contemporary Artists from Rome" at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.[3]

In 1973 Alliata was one of the co-founders of the Guttuso Museum in Bagheria.[4]

In 2014 Alliata published Love Holidays: Quaderni d'amore e di viaggi, a partly photographic autobiography.[1] She died in Rome on 23 November 2015, aged 102.[5]

In 2016 her work was the subject of a large retrospective at Fondazione Sant'Elia in Palermo.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Paola Nicita (24 November 2015). "Morta a 102 anni Topazia Alliata, madre di Dacia Maraini". La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Paolo Conti (25 November 2015). "Topazia Alliata , pittrice cosmopolita in viaggio nel Novecento". Corriere della Sera (in Italian). Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Princess Topazia Alliata obituary". Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  6. ^

Further reading

  • Toni Maraini (2003). Ricordi d'arte e prigionia di Topazia Alliata (in Italian). Sellerio. ISBN 9788838918612.
  • Anna Maria Ruta (2010). Topazia Alliata – Una vita nel segno dell'arte (in Italian). Edizioni Kalòs. ISBN 9788889224922.
  • Topazia Alliata (2014). Love Holidays: Quaderni d'amore e di viaggi (in Italian). Rizzoli. ISBN 9788817074957.
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