It’s All Black And White” was the motto of a recent exhibition in London dedicated to Franco Grignani. But not all his artistic production was monochromatic, despite his colour-blindness!

In fact, Grignani produced hundreds of colourful ads and covers during the 50s and the 60s, right up to his latest works of the late 80s, in which time Franco evolved his personal research by creating a series of paintings based on a matrix in a zigzag pattern with a remarkable chromatic effect (‘symbiotic structures’). But the problem he faced was not limited to colours, but also shades of grey.

Grignani realized he was colour-blind the moment he got his driving license.

So how did he foresee the colour rendering that his works would have?
His solution was simple: he asked his family, or the collaborators of his studio what colour he was using at the time, or if a particular colour combination worked.

In this preparatory study for a silk-screen print we can see how he managed the choice of colour combinations without being forced to restart from the beginning with a new colour scheme. Using tempera on tracing paper he was able to superimpose different colour choices on the underlying neutral texture drawn in black pen on cardboard:

In 2019 the Japanese scientist Kazunori Asada developed a simulator that allows us to see colours exactly the same way as people who have different types of colour-blindness see them.

We do not know exactly which variant of colour-blindness Franco had, but we can assume that these works would have appeared to his eyes in this way:


[6] GARADINERVI, courtesy of Robert Rebotti
[14] Artribune & Galleria Gruppo Credito Valtellinese
[31] la Repubblica & Galleria Gruppo Credito Valtellinese
[36] Art-Rite

Last Updated on 18/06/2021 by Emiliano