• A Celebration: The Studio of A auction at Christies

    Sale 4077

    A Celebration: The Studio of Alberto Morrocco & Binrock House, Dundee

    11 July 2012, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 86

    Alberto Morrocco, R.S.A., R.S.W. (1917-1998)

    Sicilian Fisherman

    Price Realised  


    Alberto Morrocco, R.S.A., R.S.W. (1917-1998)
    Sicilian Fisherman
    signed 'Morrocco' (lower left), and inscribed 'SICILIAN FISHERMAN' (on the reverse)
    oil on board
    96 x 48 in. (243.8 x 121.9 cm.)
    Painted circa 1960.
    This lot is subjcet to Artist's Resale Right.

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    'My Italian background was the main kind of influence because it all centred round actually making contact back to where I came from' (C. Young and V. Keller, Alberto Morrocco 1917-1998, Edinburgh, 2008, p. 105).

    It was in Sicily that Morrocco found in his words the 'element of the primitive'. The fishing industry was of central importance in Sicily to the local people and on his visits, he was able to witness traditions which had been in practise for centuries. He was drawn to the semi-naked bodies of the fishermen and became preoccupied with their shapes when placed against the background of the sea.

    The figure in this work shows the influence of James Cowie (1886-1956) and Robert Sivell (1888-1958), his teachers at Grays school of Art, Aberdeen who placed so much emphasis on the importance of draftsmanship. Morrocco comments on the painting school, 'Figure painting was done on a large scale - life-size canvases of the male nude and the female nude in heroic poses ... They were all around the life rooms in the art college, these huge six-foot canvases' (C. Young and V. Keller, Alberto Morrocco 1917-1998, Edinburgh, 2008, p. 105).

    In 'Sicilian Fisherman', he has simplified the form, omitting facial details in order to emphasise the strength and masculinity of the torso. The figure becomes almost sculptural and indeed Morrocco made a plaster sculpture of 'The Sicilian Fisherman' [Lot 87]. This powerful and victorious figure is placed in a background which has been reduced and abstracted into three interlocking forms of intense colour. There is a drama and poetry to this work which is reminiscent of the abstracted figure landscapes of Keith Vaughan (1912-1977).

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that this lot is subject to Artist's Resale Right.


    C. Young and V. Keller, Alberto Morrocco 1917-1998, Edinburgh, 2008, p. 48, no. 27, illustrated.
    Exhibition catalogue, Alberto Morrocco,OBE RSA RSW 1917-1998, Fine Art Society, London, 2007, illustrated, unpaginated.


    London, Fine Art Society, Alberto Morrocco, OBE RSA RSW 1917-1998, May - June 2007, no.5: this exhibition travelled to Edinburgh, Bourne Fine Art, June- July 2007.
    Toronto, Arts Council, Contemporary Scottish Painters, 1961, catalogue not traced.