Born in the district of Ravenna in 1856, Torchi studied in Florence under Lorenzo Gelati. In 1880 he moved to Naples where he stayed for about a year as a pupil of Alceste Campriani. When he returned to Florence he made friends with Signorini, Lega, Cecioni and the Gioli and Tommasi brothers, and was attracted towards the Post-Macchiaoli artists.
From the 80’s on he exhibited at the “Promotrici fiorentine”. In 1881 he exhibited in Milan, in 1883 in Rome, in 1884 in Turin and in 1888 in Bologna. He became more involved in the circle of Tuscan art: in the summer of 1885 Torchi was invited for the first time to Diego Martelli’s home in the villa di Castiglioncello, where he worked tranquilly painting a series of studies exhibited the same year at the “‘Promotrice”. He went painting with Lega in the countryside of Gabbro and in 1886 showed seven works at the first exhibition at Leghorn together with Lega, Fattori, Signorini, Ulvi Liegi, Angiolo and Ludovico Tommasi and Alfredo Muller.
Landscape artist and genre painter, he executed outdoors with a delicate, harmonious palette, he took part in the Venice Biennials without interruption from 1897 to 1914. It was there that he showed “Effetto di crepuscolo” (Dusk) in 1897, “Crepuscolo toscano” (Dusk in Tuscany) in 1899, “Mattino di settembre” (September Morning) in 1901, “Paesaggio” (Landscape) in 1905 and “Tramonto autunnale” (Autumn Sunset) in 1907. He also exhibited abroad in Paris, London, Munich.
In 1889 he made an important trip to Paris, becoming more involved in Divisionism (that he abandoned after 1896) and he became interested in work by Degas, Manet, Pissarro and Renoir. The trip continued to London where he discovered Constable and the Pre-Raphaelites. In 1890-91 at the Promotrice fiorentina he showed “Impressione di un mercato” (Impression of a Market). During his stay in Genoa in 1891 he painted his first completely Divisionist works: “Pergolato” (The Pergola) and “Giardino con casa” (The Garden with house).
In the late 90’s the Divisionist tendency began to wane giving way to broad homogenous brushstrokes. This is how Torchi began the final phase of his career that lasted about 20 years in which he exhibited tirelessly and worked prolifically even though his works contained nothing new. Many of his works were collected by Giuseppe Rangoni at Massa Lombarda, while “Ritratto di signorina” (Portrait of a Young Woman) “La risaia di Massa Lombarda” (The Rice Fields of Massa Lombarda) “Il Gabbro” and “Autoritratto” (Self-Portrait) are in the Palazzo Pitti.
Written by: Gioela Massagli – Translated by: Catherine Biggerstaff
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