The Italian artist, Ernesto Genoni (1885-1975), trained for five years in classical art at the prestigious Brera Academy of Fine Art in Milan (Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera). He spent the year 1924 at Dornach, Switzerland, the headquarters of Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy movement, where he experimented with painting “in the anthroposophic way” under the tutelage of Rudolf Steiner. Most of the works presented here were recently revealed stored in a folder in a private collection. Two of the mages are from two other private collections and are included here because, by size, content, and style, they appear to be part of Ernesto’s suite of Anthroposophic paintings of 1924.
In 1926, Ernesto migrated to Australia with the intention of exhibiting his art - most probably his classical style oil paintings - but he was thwarted in this plan by the prevailing Depression. Ernesto co-founded the Michael Group in Melbourne (with Anthroposophy meetings beginning in 1928) for the study of Steiner’s works. He taught Steiner's First Class of spiritual science in Melbourne and Adelaide, and he pioneered biodynamic farming in Australia (from 1928).
A century ago, Ernesto joined the AIF in Western Australia and served as a stretcher bearer on the killing ﬁelds of the Western Front in 1916, in the battles of the Somme and Pozières. From the battleﬁeld, he was conscripted into the Italian Army, and he was eventually demobilised in Italy in 1919.
In 1923 , Ernesto was still in Italy. From Milan, he wrote to Rudolf Steiner offering his labour for advancing the Anthroposophy project at Dornach. Ernesto arrived there early in 1924 and successfully applied to Dr Steiner for acceptance into the First Class (Erste Klasse der Freien Hochschule für Geisteswissenschaft). The First Class was Steiner’s new course of instruction in Spiritual Science for Anthroposophists who were established in their practice. Steiner held these classes from 15 February through to 20 September of 1924.
In 1926, Ernesto migrated to Australia (after two previous visits) with the intention of exhibiting his art - most probably his classical style oil paintings - but he was thwarted in this plan by the prevailing Depression.