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Flaminio Bertoni


Flaminio Bertoni Born in Masnago (1903), a small town in the Varese region of northern Italy, Bertoni discovered car design by accident when, after his father’s death in 1918, he was forced to leave technical school to earn a living to support his family. He found a job as a joiner’s apprentice at the local body maker’s “Carrozzeria Macchi” before moving to the tinker’s department, where his passion for automobiles took off. In 1932 he was hired by Citroën for which in 1934 he created the Traction Avant in plasticine: for the first time in history a model of a car was realized instead of on paper. At The Citroën he also begun to work on a new car, the TPV (2CV) presented in 1948 at the Paris Salon de l’Automobile and which became a word phenomenon.

In 1949 he obtained a degree in architecture, starting his architectural activities with various projects in Paris and suburbs.  In 1955 his design masterpiece, the DS 19 , was presented at the Salon de l’Automobile in Paris. As well as marking this century’s automobile history, this event placed Bertoni among the Masters of Design. When the Citroën DS 19 was shown at the “Triennale ” in Milan it obtained the prize for best industrial work of art.

In his artistic career he was twice awarded the first prize for drawing and sculpture, during the International Free Art Show in Paris in 1953 and 1954, and his sculptures again were awarded first prize in 1959 and 1962.

In 1961 his last work as a designer, the Citroën Ami 6, was produced and the French Minister for Culture, the Nobel Prize Winner André Malraux, nominated him Master of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic. It was the fair recognition to a man who had given so much to French culture.

He died in Paris in 1964, far away from Italy and disowned by Italian people who loved his 2CV and DS’ armonious lines whithout knowing that the author was one of them.

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