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Afro (1912-1976)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE ITALIAN COLLECTION
Afro (1912-1976)

Santa Fe’

Afro (1912-1976)
Santa Fe’
signed and dated ‘Afro 64’ (lower right); titled and dated ‘1964 SANTA FE’ (on the stretcher)
oil and tempera on canvas
19 3/4 x 23 5/8in. (50 x 60cm.)
Painted in 1964
Sprovieri Collection, Rome.
Galleria Dante Vecchiato, Padua.
Anon. sale, Sotheby’s Milan, 26 November, 2007, lot 201.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
C. Brandi, Afro, Rome 1977, no. 218 (illustrated, p. 196).
M. Graziani, Afro. Catalogo Generale Ragionato, Rome 1997, no. 552 (illustrated in colour, p. 252).

Darmstadt, Kunsthalle, Afro, 1969. This exhibition later travelled to Berlin, Nationalgalerie.
Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Afro, 1969-1970.
Rome, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Afro, 1978 (illustrated). This exhibition later travelled to Passariano, Villa Manin.
Turin, Galleria Nuova Gissi, Afro. Il colore della Luce - Opere scelte, 1948-1975, 2001.
London, Max Wigram Gallery, La Bella Figura, 2014.
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Alessandro Diotallevi
Alessandro Diotallevi

Lot Essay

Santa Fe is a powerful red and black abstract painting made by Afro in 1964. Comprising solely of a rich interplay of red and black brushstrokes vigorously applied to the canvas in a way that builds a dynamically cohesive composition, the work echoes in paint the informel compositions made in both heavy material and in a reduced rosso/nero (red-black) palette that Alberto Burri made the mid-1950s and early 1960s. By 1964, Afro had been a friend and colleague of Burri's for many years and the two artists’ work often appears to have touched upon each other's during this later stage in both their careers even though, in the previous decade, each artist had originally arrived at their unique and different styles of working largely independently of one another.

As one of the first Italian painters to fully absorb Abstract Expressionism, Afro had derived his unique abstract style of painting under a wide variety of sources and influences and his art forms an important link between the American and Italian avant-garde of the 1950s. Often visiting the United States, Afro also developed a particularly close friendship with Willem de Kooning. Both artists shared a heavy debt to the pioneering abstract morphology of de Kooning’s friend and mentor Arshile Gorky and it was the basic pictorial logic of Gorky’s art that came to underpin much of the development of both painters’ increasingly fluid abstraction throughout the 1950s and '60s.

Emerging from the twin painterly influences of Gorky and Picasso, between 1956 and 1957 Afro's work essentially fused the emotional morphology of Gorky and the tachist sense of surface and material of artists like Burri's informel approach in Europe into a wholly new hybrid of abstract form, colour and gesture. While still rooted partially in the objective world of figuration, Afro developed in these new paintings an essentially abstract and ‘pure’ form of painting in which a unique sense of the freedom of painterly gesture and expression immediately came to the fore. Colour, form, and brushstroke were merged into tight abstract/concrete structures that, though seemingly non-objective, seemed, not unlike Burri's compositions, to embody and reflect through paint, the physical properties of the 'real' world.

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