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Turist Information Centre Ajdovščina
Cesta IV. Prekomorske 61 A
5270 Ajdovščina

tel.: +386 5 36 59 140

mon - fri: 8.00 - 16.00
sat: 8.00 - 12.00

mon - fri: 10.00 - 18.00
sat: 8.00 - 12.00

important personalities

Walter Bianchi (1897 – 1983)

Walter Bianchi's father was Anton Karel Vincenc Bianchi, born in Ajdovščina in 1858. Anton was a student at the secondary school of natural and technical sciences in Gorizia and was a student of Fran Erjavec, who encouraged him in natural sciences. After his graduation Anton enrolled for technics in Vienna, but because of the financial problems at home he did not finish his studies. He married in 1886 to Johana Jochman, a daughter of the big cylinder mill owner, who gave birth to four children, namely Bruno, Walter, Bianca and Mercedes. Anton engaged in exploring karst caves and also in entomology. As an entomologist he was very successful and gained also a scientific acknowledgement as he discovered two species of yet unknown beetles, which were named after him, namely Anemadus bianchi and Batyscia bianchi. At home, in Prešeren Street he kept a collection of beetles, butterflies and other animals. After his wife's death he remarried to Marija Mohorčič. Anton died in 1933 and lies buried in the cemetery of Ajdovščina, next to his firstborn son Bruno.
Walter Bianchi, Anton's secondborn was born on 24 January 1897 in Ajdovščina. He attended primary school in Ajdovščina between 1904 and 1908, preparatory school between 1908 and 1909 in Gorizia and three classes of grammar school between 1909 and 1912 also in Gorizia. In refuge in Graz in 1916 he transferred to the secondary school, concentrating on natural sciences. However, he graduated in Gorizia. He left for Vienna and enrolled in the university to study natural sciences and philosophy, but soon he had to return home. His eldest brother Bruno also studied natural sciences in Vienna, but died at the age of 21, in 1911 in Ajdovščina. In autumn 1917 Walter was enlisted in the army. At first he served in the 17th infantry regiment in Judenburg, Austria, but soon he transferred to officers' training school in the town of Slovenska Bistrica. In 1919 he enrolled in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ljubljana to study natural sciences. There he met Klement Jug and Vladimir Bartol, but Walter soon transferred back to the University of Vienna and although he studied there for four years, he did not finish his studies. In the next few years he worked various jobs, he was a trade correspondent in Trieste, a dancer at Grand Hotel in Opatija, Croatia, a manager of a dancing couple in Italy (Trieste, Florence, Roma, Cagliari), later also a secretary at a hotel in tourist resort Riccione near Rimini on the Adriatic coast.
His sister Bianca lived in Lausanne in Switzerland. Walter stayed there for couple of months and trained in making lampshades. In 1927 he made his first visit to Paris, got in contact with Vladimir Bartol and led a bohemian life for a while. Later in 1935, Walter made a graphic design of first edition of Bartol's book titled Al Araf. While staying in Paris he also met Mrak and his wife Karla Bukovec. They stayed close friends till they died and a clear evidence of this relationship is also Walter's portret, engraved in a pencil, which Karla had made in 1949 and is still well preserved. In 1928 Veno Pilon came to Paris and Walter started to associate merely with him. Pilon photographed Bianchi in his workshop and in return Bianchi wrote columns on Pilon, as an evidence of this cooperation is a portrait of Bianchi dating from 1923. Bianchi soon gained recognition in Paris in terms of his craft. He designed the lampshades himself and in such a way that they attracted attention. In 1937 he exhibited his work at the universal exhibition in Paris. Bianchi travelled around quite a lot, especially across Italy and several times to Belgrade, but he did not forget his friends from his school years and was always in touch with them, one of them was for instance Eduardo Stepančič.
When the First World War broke out in 1939 Bianchi returned to Ajdovščina. During wartime he stayed in Ajdovščina and in Gorizia and after the war he moved to Ljubljana, where he started working in a workshop for theatre scenes. Later he put up lampshades making again and became the member of the Slovene Designers Society. In 1976 he married to Marija, a widow of the painter Ivan Čarga. His first exhibition of gouaches and drawings took place in the Small Gallery in Ljubljana in 1954 and his works were also exhibited in the Pilon Gallery in Ajdovščina in 1980.
Walter Bianchi died on 15 April 1983 and lies in the Žale cemetery in Ljubljana in Čargo's grave next to him and his wife.

Source: Pilon Gallery