In person Alberto Morrocco was charming, hospitable and generous. Indeed, anyone meeting him would be left with a permanent impression of warmth and positivity, of a man who loved life and people.
Alberto was born in Aberdeen in 1917 and would always retain strong connections to that city. His father, Domenicantonio Marrocco had emigrated from Casino and his mother, Celesta Crolla, came to Scotland with her family from Fontetuna. The family lived above Domenicantonio’s café and ice-creamery at 35, Causewayend in Aberdeen and Alberto cherished fond memories of a particular blend of Scottish/Italian upbringing ,speaking Scots while celebrating special occasions in a very Italian manner.
Alberto’s talent was recognised early on by his schoolteacher who was instrumental in his enrolling at Gray’s School of Art at the very early age of 14. There he studied under James Cowie (1886-1956) and Robert Sivell (1888-1958), both of whom were graduates of Glasgow School of Art. The prevailing emphasis in their teaching was on preliminary drawing and technique, influenced strongly by the Pre-Raphaelite movement of the 19th century and the Italian Quattrocento. Alberto’s art and early work were very much shaped by these influences, though he also showed an early interest in alternative styles; Cubism, for example, through an enthusiasm for the works of the young Picasso.
On graduating from Gray’s School of Art in 1938, Alberto was awarded both the Brough and Carnegie travelling scholarships, enabling him to paint in Switzerland and France during 1939 until the outbreak of the Second World War. Renewing his scholarship travels following the end of the war, Alberto was able to visit his parents’ homeland for the first time, developing an intense relationship with Italy and a great love for the country.
On his return to Scotland, Alberto taught art at Gray’s from 1946-49 and it was at this time that he also helped illustrate Prof. R.D. Lockhart’s (University of Aberdeen Medical School) “ Anatomy of the Human Body (Faber&Faber 1959). The highly detailed drawings of muscles, bones and organs were intended as a study aid for students at the medical school and were also produced by the artists R.W Matthews, Gordon S. Cameron, Donald G. Stephen and William Cruickshank.
In 1950, Alberto was made Head of Painting at the Duncan of Jordanston College of Art in Dundee and distinguished himself in that post for a further 32 years.
Alberto’s artistic personality was very much a part of his life as a family man. In 2012, his children, Annalisa, Lawrence and Leon, each wrote of their unique and personal vision of his life and talents, affording us a privileged insight into his artistic legacy.
Self Portrait 1948
Study for Trees no I, 1963
Breton Fisher-woman, 1953
The Second Chef