In Tate Britain

Biography

Antonino Romanov del Renzio dei Rossi di Castellone e Venosa (Toni del Renzio) (15 April 1915 - 7 January 2007), an artist and writer of Italian and Russian parentage, was leader of the British Surrealist Group for a period.

He brought to the British School a wide range of contacts, editorial organization, motivation and philosophy at a time of wartime hiatus. He was born at Tsarskoe Selo, and at the time of the Russian Revolution his family fled to Yalta and then Italy. He explained his desertion from Benito Mussolini's Tripolitan cavalry by the observation that Abyssinians castrated their prisoners. As his flight through north Africa resulted in his arrival in Spain just in time to join the Trotskyite faction in the first year of the Spanish civil war other reasons may have existed. He noted in later life that the external supporters of the Republican cause had no motivation to arm or supply this faction and indeed was in fear for his life from both Stalinist and Fascist agents by the time he fled to France about a year later.

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Sketches, letters, etc.

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