Yes, Signora Pinti lived to be a hundred. If I’d had my wits about me, we could have met and (depending on her English) at least smiled pleasantly at one another over coffee. For me, that might have been enough. Though she never came to Agincourt or even passed through, she has touched the community in an indirect yet meaningful way.
The Allied forces began their invasion of Italy on 09 September 1943. Within a few days, the Adriatic ports of Bari and Brindisi were occupied and American troops were quartered in Italian households. Though she hailed from Napoli on Italy’s west coast, by the war years Enedina was married and living in Bari. A great-grandson living there today shared a family legend of American soldiers bivouacked—have I spelled that correctly?—in her home. It seems likely that one of those soldiers was Kenneth Goodall, who I’ve introduced to you earlier. Why do I suspect this? Because she painted Goodall’s portrait.
As career military, Goodall moved from base to base and may not have been in the country often enough to be picked up by the census; military service records are even harder to crack. So it’s strange to say I have a pretty good idea what he was doing in March 1944: that’s the date written on the back of his portrait hand-painted and signed by Enedina Zambrini, since by this time she was Mrs Attilio Zambrini. She painted Rachel Goodall as well, but may have done so from a photograph. The next chapter in the Goodall story is a sad one.
Kenneth and Rachel died within a few years of each other in the 1990s, leaving a substantial estate to their only child Michael. But Michael’s parents had established some sort of investment trust on his behalf and when the time came for him to gain access to his legacy, the inheritance was gone and its whereabouts the subject of considerable legal maneuvering. Many of the legal filings are available on-line; in the information age, there are apparently few secrets. No wonder these delightful portraits found their way to an estate sale following Michael’s death in October 2010. I am, like him, the last of my own particular line but there won’t be much to leave behind.
Biographical information on Enedina Zambrini Pinti is nearly as scarce as for the Goodalls—in English. I happened (lucked) upon a reference to Prof Roberta Simini, a niece of Enedina Zambrini on the University of Puglia faculty, who evidenced her own artistic abilities but chose a different path. Dr Simini has been kind enough to share several references in Italian about her aunt, and all of these hint at a not inconsiderable talent (I love double negatives). No wonder I had difficulty finding biographical material: most sources use her maiden name “Pinti”, which I hadn’t known until a month ago. At this point I can share two things: 1) her self-portrait as a young woman, and 2) a studio photograph showing her instructor Giovanni Fattori [1825-1908] and several young women students, one of whom might be Enedina herself.
I love this sort of sleuthing. Don’t you? It will be relatively simple to explain the presence of these charming portraits in northwestern Iowa.