Lolita Savage’s Vibrant Palazzo Vecchio Art Show

Artist Lolita Valderrama Savage at her art show at Palazzo Vecchio

Until November 3, 2023: LOLITA VALDERAMMA SAVAGE: THE JOURNEY, LIFE IN ART THROUGH NATURE. Sala d’Arme, Palazzo Vecchio. Open daily 10 am to 6 pm. Free admission to all. 

A beautiful show of art, community, and diversity is currently on display at the historical Palazzo Vecchio Museum. A collaboration of efforts from Filipino, American, and Italian group representatives have come together to present the stunning works of Filipino-American artist Lolita Valderrama Savage. The exhibition, titled The Journey. Life in Art through Nature, contains 60 works of mixed media. Each piece works with the next to tell stories of beauty drawn from life. 

To see a video, click here.

Lolita does not favor a particular style or medium in the same way that she does not depict the same subject or location, and the location where she is working is reflected in the name of the work. The viewer is confronted with oil on canvas characterized by layers of texture, oil pastels, pen or pencil drawings on paper and watercolors. Walking through the gallery, one may see an oil painting of sprawling landscape of the Tuscan hills, such as L’estate Chiantigiana (Chianti Summer, Greve in Chianti 2005) or a watercolor, La Val d’Orc.  Guests may notice her wide collections of drawings, such as Los Toros (Bulls, Spain 2007). From more realistic to very abstract Lolita does it all. Wherever her inspiration takes her, drawn from whatever environment she finds herself in, she strives to portray life and nature in the best way she can. 

One of the highlight pieces of the show is Infinite Gold, Connecticut USA 2021, oil on canvas. Lolita’s skill of playing with texture, light, and color shines through in this vibrant piece. The abstract representation of these golden trees captures such a beautiful moment full of life and movement. No matter where she is creating art, whether it is in the United States, Italy, Spain, or France to name a few, there is a richness and expressiveness in each and every piece that she produces. Her work is a progression of abstract expressionism that first became popular in the 1940s and 1950s through American artists. One piece that is an excellent representation of this movement is Un Sospiro Grigio del Mare (The Sigh of a Gray Sea, Tuscany 2018, oil on canvas). Every brush stroke is visible and the uniqueness of each line gives the viewer a sense of spontaneity. The details of the painting really come to life when one stands in front of it and is able to see every layer of paint and the corresponding texture that comes through. 

This exhibition is particularly important as it highlights the unity that can come through art. Lolita has presented works all over the world, and strives to build connections and spread the joy that is her artwork. It is clear that the opening of this display has already begun to enforce stronger bridges between America and Tuscany. Her desire to encourage friendship and cooperation between cultures is a major contributing factor to the fact that this exhibit is sponsored by the City of Florence, the U.S. Consulate General in Florence, the Philippines Honorary General Consulate in Tuscany, and the Consular Corps of Florence. The grand opening of the exhibition only solidified this, by bringing members of each organization together to speak at this event. People of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures came together to celebrate and become acquainted with Lolita Valderamma Savage. 

Upon meeting the artist, it was easy to see the positivity and life that is reflected in her work shine through in her personality. She emphasized that a lot of what she does is for the next generation. She encourages students to come and spend time amongst her art. As they walk through the gallery they will be able to see what happens when communities can work together and hopefully feel inspired to continue building those connections. With a warm smile and humble approach, she conversed with anyone who approached her, grabbing their hand and making sure she could give each and every person as much of her attention as she possibly could. 

Lolita Valderrama Savage was born in the Philippines and received her bachelor of fine arts from the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas, the oldest Catholic University in Asia. She then received a scholarship from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to study at the Accademia de Belle Arti (Academy of Fine Arts) in Florence where she received her Licenza in Pittura. Her first international group exhibition was at the Palazzo Strozzi in 1975. She also lived and exhibited in Sweden before moving to the United States in 1980.

She attributes her artistic learning and discipline to her professors at UST Museum in Manila, as well as Professor Silvio Loffredo, at the Accademia in Florence. She also credits her mentor, the late Swedish artist Staffan Hallstrom.

The Journey: Life in Art through Nature is an incredibly inspiring show to see. If you are in Tuscany and are looking for an experience that bridges community, culture, and art then this is the place for you. Held in Palazzo Vecchio, one of the most prestigious museums in Florence, it is an experience that should not be passed up.  (Claire Ryan)