Gianfranco Mello

His works tell us about a poetics made up of suggestions and study and of a highly refined technique.Mello’s relationship with nature is exceptional.
And in fact he prefers working en plein air.

The 50 – 60’s

1956 Firenze – Mello receives the Golden Florin from Mayor La Pira

At a very young age he moved to Firenze with his family. Gianfranco Mello began his student career in Firenze. In 1950, at just 17 years old, he held his first solo exhibition at the Lyceum in Firenze, reviewed by his teacher the Prof. Alessandro Parronchi. In 1951 he was already living and working in the studio on Via dei Conti in Firenze, opposite the Medici Chapels. The studio is frequented by friends and personalities from the cultural and artistic world. He participates in regional and national events, winning numerous prizes and recognitions.
In 1956 he is awarded the Honorary Prize for the Arts and the Golden Emblem with Fiorino. The award was presented to him by Mayor G. La Pira.


The winning painting <The Cello Player> is located in the Gallery of Modern Art of Palazzo Pitti in Firenze. After completing his studies, in 1957 he began his commitment as a teacher in state schools. In 1958 he began his long friendship and artistic partnership with the painter Daniel Milhaud (son of the musician and orchestra director Darius Milhaud) with whom he went to Salzburg (Austria) to attend courses at the International Academy of Visual Arts , taught by Maestro Oskar Kokosckha. He undertakes numerous study trips to Holland, France, England and Wales.


In 1963 he wins the 1st prize Gold Medal Award from the President of the Republic Antonio Segni at the National City of Viareggio Award. He dedicates himself to his painting and his research on pictorial technique with passion and tenacity. Painting is his reason for living.

The 70’s

1974 Firenze – Gianfranco Mello Personal exhibition -Galleria F.lli Alinari – Messrs. Mello

The period relating to the 70s – 90s is focused on large cultural exhibitions held in particular locations, such as universities, basilicas, cloisters. These exhibitions give the Artist the opportunity to approach a vast cosmopolitan audience, from which he obtains acclaim and recognition. In 1971 he was invited to exhibit at Drexel University in Philadelphia – USA. The exhibition, organized by Prof. Mercia Grassi, achieved critical and public success and was reviewed by the most important newspapers. In this period he carried out his activity among his studios in the historic center of Firenze and in the countryside of Impruneta. In 1975 he was invited to exhibit in the quadriportico by Giuliano da San Gallo of the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi. In 1977 he held a personal exhibition at the “Loggetta del Trentanove” – Faenza. In 1978 he was invited to exhibit in the large rooms of the Casermetta del Forte di Belvedere – Florence. The exhibition is repeated in the years 1979, 1980 and 1982.

The 80’s

1980 Impruneta – Mello in his Studio

In 1981 he was invited to exhibit in Padua, in the “La Cupola” Gallery. In 1982 he left teaching to dedicate himself completely to his activity as an artist and to his research, all focused on obtaining pictorial content through a completely personal and particular technique. The profound human sense contained in the work of art, in every work worthy of the name, is the viaticum that allows Mello to continue his tenacious and convinced path. The Artist therefore continues his research, simultaneously opening himself up to international contacts. It can be said that Mello has reached such maturity that he can look at both the avant-garde and tradition, without siding with either one or the other, and that has an important curriculum full of recognition and vast international acclaim.
In 1989 he held a personal exhibition by invitation at Villa Arrivabene, Firenze.

The 90’s

1992 Firenze – The Montebuoni cherry tree

In 1992 he was sent to exhibit in the Cloisters of the Basilica of Santa Croce in Firenze. The exhibition is repeated in the years 1995, 1996, 1997. In 1993 he was invited to exhibit in France, in Paris – the Champs Elysées; the exhibition was also repeated in 1996. In 1994 he was invited to exhibit in Switzerland, in the city of Zurich. In 1998 he is invited to exhibit in the Cloister of the Basilica of San Marco in Firenze.

The 00’s

Firenze – The large studio in Borgo Pinti

During the year 2000 a group of works was exhibited in the “Lobby Gallery”. in Connecticut – USA. The exhibition is reviewed by important newspapers.
In 2002, at Mello’s request, Mrs. Y.G. responsible for his work for the New York area donates the painting “Old wall with flowering almond tree and cypresses” to the auction organized by the Near & Far Aid Events Committee in favor of the children victims of the terrorist act of September 11, 2001. The two cypresses in the painting symbolize the two twin towers and the price achieved by the painting during the auction is considerable. In 2005 he is invited to exhibit in Giuliano da Sangallo’s Quadriportico of the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi. In 2006, a new large Studio in Borgo Pinti 22-24 that is opened to visitors and collectors on 15 May 2007, after an entire year of careful restoration which also brought to light the two epigraphs on Giambologna. Scholars point out that Pietro Tacca, Matteo Rosselli and Lorenzo Lippi worked successively in the place used as a foundry by Giambologna. Jacopo Ligozzi, Stefano della Bella, Francesco Janssens.

The 2010’s

2006 Firenze – Mello in the Borgo Pinti studio and his self-portrait

In 2012, after years of studies and preparation with the Promoting Committee, the Mello-Studio d’Arte Le Colonne Foundation was born. Other restorations. In 2017, a long restoration of two new rooms began. The discovery of wall writings on Giovanni Battista Foggini and also other writings and drawings requires the intervention of the Superintendency of Historical and Artistic Heritage. After a whole year of work, the two rooms are opened to visitors and collectors.
Mello’s life ends in 2018.


“If I shouldn’t come back, don’t cry but look for me instead in the flowers, in the trees, in the distant horizons, in the blue of the sky, look for me in my work, to which I have devoted time and time” 
Gianfranco Mello – San Michele a Monteripaldi June 2000


One of his works is located in the Gallery of Modern Art of Palazzo Pitti in Florence.
Mello’s works collected all over the world and those preserved in the Foundation’s headquarters testify lifelong commitment for painting.