After traveling through Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba in the late 1920s, the Polish painter Bruno Lechowski (1887?1941) finally settled in Rio in 1931. That was the year when a group of students who disagreed with the instructional model of the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes formed the group called Núcleo Bernardelli. From that time on, Lechowski linked up with that guild, which was organized without hierarchies and was interested in the technical perfection of painting. The Polish artist came to exercise a certain influence on the artistic processes of José Pancetti (the son of Italians), Yoshiya Takaoka and Yuji Tamaki (both Japanese immigrants) and on Campofiorito himself, who documented the events.
Campofiorito’s tribute to Lechowski was published in the catalogue for the exhibition Bruno Lechowski, a arte como missão – Homenagem aos 50 anos de falecimento do artista e aos 120 anos da imigração polonesa, held in Curitiba (Museu de Arte do Paraná), in São Paulo (Museu Lasar Segall) and in Rio de Janeiro (Museu Nacional de Belas Artes) in 1991 and 1992.
Along with São Paulo’s Grupo Santa Helena, the Núcleo Bernardelli represented a moderate sector generally made up of lower-middle-class young adults, including some children of recent immigrants. These artists were much more interested in the perfection of pictorial techniques than in ruptures with contemporary formal standards. In addition to Campofiorito, the other members of the Núcleo Bernardelli were: Manoel Santiago, Edson Motta, João José Rescala, Ado Malagoli, Bráulio Poiava, Bustamante Sá, Expedito Camargo Freire, Eugênio Sigaud, Bruno Lechowski, José Pancetti, Yoshia Takaoka, Yuji Tamaki, Joaquim Tenreiro, Milton Dacosta, and José Gomez Correia.
The preface to art critic Frederico Morais’s book, Núcleo Bernardelli - Arte brasileira nos anos 30 e 40, includes an important record of the Núcleo Bernardelli, written in 1982 by the artist Quirino Campofiorito (1902–93). He was not only cofounder of the group, but one of the last members of the guild still alive: “Prefácio: o Núcleo Bernardelli” .