SALVO (1947-2015)
SALVO (1947-2015)
SALVO (1947-2015)
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SALVO (1947-2015)

Il giorno fu pieno di lampi la sera verranno le stelle (The day was full of lightning in the evening stars will come out)

SALVO (1947-2015)
Il giorno fu pieno di lampi la sera verranno le stelle (The day was full of lightning in the evening stars will come out)
signed, titled and dated '"Il giorno fu pieno di lampi la sera verranno le stelle" Salvo 91' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
78 ¾ x 59in. (200 x 150cm.)
Painted in 1991
Private Collection.
Anon. sale, Cambi Casa d'Aste, 8 May 2018, lot 439.
Imago Art Gallery, Lugano.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2019.
Archivio Salvo (ed.), Io sono Salvo. Opere e Scritti 1961-2015, Rome 2023 (illustrated in colour, p. 303).
Lugano, Imago Art Gallery, Salvo. Il Colore Ovunque, 2019 (illustrated in colour on the front cover).
Further details
This work is registered in the Archivio Salvo, Turin, under the n. S1991-25 and it is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Archivio Salvo, Turin.

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Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

In ll giorno fu pieno di lampi la sera verranno le stelle (1991), the Italian artist Salvo paints a luminescent earthly paradise. The title translates as The day was full of lightning in the evening stars will come out: Salvo’s landscape shows a lakeside garden at sunset, after a storm and before a star-studded night. It was likely inspired by the opening lines of Giovanni Pascoli’s poem ‘La mia sera’, composed in 1900, which compares the peace after a thunderstorm with the poet’s state of mind. Salvo uses soft, jewel-toned colours and simplified forms to create a scene that might have come from a dream. The sky glows amber and candy-coloured clouds float in the sky. An arboretum of trees—spiky palms, graceful pines, shapely cypresses—overlooks the tranquil lake, suffused with the magenta of a warm evening sun. There are traces of human presence in a plain vaulted building, neatly-shaped topiary and a footpath. But Salvo leaves us alone to contemplate this enchanted scene, a disarming moment that the painter has spared from the passing of time.

Salvo’s painting captures the remarkable beauty of his native Italy, where he spent his whole life. He was born Salvatore Mangione to a poor family in rural Sicily, before moving to prosperous industrial Turin as a teenager. As a young artist he was a member of the city’s fertile avant-garde scene. He participated in the Arte Povera movement, which sought to push Italian art beyond traditional forms and mediums, and shared a studio with Alighiero Boetti. His own early work was largely based on photography and texts: when invited by curator Harald Szeemann to exhibit in documenta 5 in 1972, he did not produce a physical artwork but instead placed his name in the catalogue in a larger typeface than those of other artists. Then, in 1973, Salvo radically changed course. He turned his back on conceptual art. At a time when the critical reputation of figurative painting was at a low ebb, he started producing lustrous landscapes of his homeland: a swerve that was in part triggered by a chance encounter with the metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico in Rome, in which the two artists locked eyes.

Salvo’s distilled forms and fantastical landscapes share in the trance-like atmosphere of de Chirico’s paintings. Like de Chirico he often drew on the visual language of the Italian Renaissance, such as the trees in Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel frescoes (1305) and the figures in Raphael’s Saint George and the Dragon (c. 1505). Salvo’s work is also in the lineage of visionary landscape artists like Samuel Palmer and Henri Rousseau. Yet his style looked forward, too, to the postmodern design of the Milan-based Memphis Group and the mid-1980s return of figurative painting. Salvo himself believed that his work was inspired by forces beyond his control. ‘I could be considered as pertaining to that category of artists who express themselves through rapture’, he said. ‘I cannot help but believe in the existence of occult forces which, while the painter sleeps, enter the painting itself and correct and improve it’ (Salvo, quoted in Salvo: Paintings 1975-1987, exh. cat. Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam 1987, p. 27). The present painting is a gateway into Salvo’s captivating, phantasmagorical world.

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