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Studio Camnitzer

founded in 1971

About Studio Camnitzer

Studio upstairsStudio Camnitzer is a studio residence for artists located in Tuscany eight miles from the city of Lucca. Lying just beyond the village of Valdottavo (pop. 1500), it has the advantage of a tranquil country setting and at the same time the convenience of close proximity to all basic amenities. The Studio is in an 18th century farmhouse completely equipped for printmaking, including the use of digital photography. While best known for printmaking, resident artists can work in any medium, including painting and sculpture. There is ample outdoor space which can be used for the construction and exhibition of sculpture.

The Studio has available all materials needed for printmaking and for four-color photo-etching, including computers and software. The bronze foundries of Pietrasanta and Pistoia are one-hour’s driving distance from the Studio, and the marble quarries of Carrara seventy minutes away. Painting supplies are easily available both in Lucca and in Florence.

Technical advice is available from Michael Hanning, the studio’s technical director. Artists in residence may, if they wish, independently contract with him to prepare plates, print editions or do other work on special projects. The fee for these services is independent of the fee for residency.

The Studio’s dormitory, Le Vigne, is in another converted farm house dating from the early 1700s. It’s about an eight-minute walk from the Studio along a country road going towards Partigliano. The house, bordered by fields of wild grasses and olive trees, looks out on countryside from all directions. Le Vigne haseight bedrooms, four of which can be double occupancy if needed. There is a large kitchen/dining room on the first floor and a living/reading room of the same size on the second floor. Each floor has a large bathroom, in one of which there is a washing machine.

History of the studio

Studio outside workshop The property of Studio Camnitzer was acquired in 1971 and gradually renovated to support summer courses in printmaking. Between 1975 and 2000 approximately 400 artists from all over the world attended these courses. The Studio’s specialty has always been photoetching; in the 1980s it developed a unique process adapting industrial techniques to color separation photo etching in the artist’s studio. Faculty of the Studio’s summer courses included artists Liliana Porter, Swietlan Krackzyna, David Finkbeiner, Carlos Capelán and Luis Camnitzer.

In 2000, after a quarter century as a teaching studio, Studio Camnitzer became a residency open to artists in all media. Courses are no longer offered, but resident artists are assured expert technical guidance as needed.

Environs

Le Vigne, garden view The village of Valdottavo is spread along a single main road running through one of the valleys at the southernmost tip of the Apuane Alps. Hillsides rising steeply on both sides of the town are dotted with houses, small vineyards, vegetable gardens, and trees. The town has a bus stop, a post office, a primary school, two grocery stores, two bars, a pharmacy, two doctors, a hardware store, a mechanic, a hair salon, a stationery/newspaper shop, a gelateria, a laundry and a 19th century opera house, recently restored but used for other events. About 1 ½ miles from the center of town, at the junction with the main road to Lucca, there’s a thriving pizzeria/restaurant.

There are exceptional walking and hiking opportunities in the Apuane Alps, easily accessible by car from Valdottavo. CAI, the Italian Alpine Club, maintains trails all over these mountains as well as refuges for hardy trekkers.

In the other direction lies Lucca, known for its beauty and antiquity. The city’s massive medieval walls remain intact and offer an elevated tree-shaded ring road for pedestrians, joggers and cyclists. Strict conservation laws have protected the medieval character of the city inside the walls, including its ninety-nine churches dating from the Dark Ages to the 18th century. In spite of its landmark status and a noticeable increase in tourism in recent years, Lucca remains one of the few art cities in Italy that has not succumbed to commercialism, maintaining a distinctive provincial life of its own.

From Lucca, connection is easy to Florence, Pisa and all points beyond.