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Giuseppe Gallo (B. 1954)
The Collection of Chiara and Francesco Carraro
Giuseppe Gallo (B. 1954)

Untitled

Details
Giuseppe Gallo (B. 1954)
Untitled
signed and dated 'Giuseppe Gallo 2011' (on the reverse)
oil, acrylic and encaustic on board
53 3/8 x 98 3/8 in. (135.6 x 249.9 cm.)
Executed in 2011.
Provenance
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

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Sara Friedlander
Sara Friedlander

Lot Essay

In Untitled, Roman artist Giuseppe Gallo has entombed flecks of red, oranges, creams and greens of all shades into the smooth burnished, sun-colored surface. The artist used an encaustic technique that captures the color patches of oil and acrylic paint within a wax seal—a technique similar to the ones used by American masters Brice Marden and Jasper Johns. The result appears like a mosaic embedded with colorful tiles or a collage where individual bits of paper have merged with the support into one holistic pictorial event. Untitled is an abstraction of Gallo’s paintings of leaves, a motif that has engaged the artist since the turn of the millennium. Often his paintings of leaves (from different types of trees) are numbered like specimens in a catalogue. Here the dense “foliage” has been abstracted to create a cascade of fragmented shapes as they float down the length of the canvas, like the long leaves of a weeping willow or tendrils from a network of vines. An influential figure in what has become known as the New Roman School of art, Gallo’s work was presented in the Italian Pavilion of the 1990 Venice Biennial.

The Italian curator and art critic Achille Bonito Oliva has described Gallo’s work as being “on the watershed of a contemporaneously abstract and figurative language.” Oliva continues, “Gallo leads the eye of the world towards a surprise, played upon flowing and halting, the fluidity of the colour and the pause of a recognizable element. A sort of musical movement assists his painting, an andante ma non troppo rhythm of an opera that foments both abandon and attention. Inside the frame there is an interwoven dynamic neither able to be codified nor foreseeable, fruit of a sensitivity which tempers the estrangement of the figures with the cordiality of the matter, the metaphysical intensity with the calm of the surface. The latter is always presented in a flowing manner, without the antipathy of clots or the resistance of excessive irregularities. When it does take on the giddiness of irregularity it is mellowed in the sinuosity of the curved line” (A. Bonito Oliva, “Painting is the Place of Complexity,” http://www.giuseppe-gallo.it/uk/texts/giuseppe-gallo/testi/giuseppe-gallo_aoliva.pdf [acessed September 22, 2016]).

Giuseppe Gallo is a major figure in the New Roman School, also called the San Lorenzo Workshop because the artist moved his studio to the Pastificio Cerere building, an abandoned pasta factory in the San Lorenzo industrial district in Rome in 1977. Gallo began a trend, and other artists soon followed. Cumulatively they would not just revitalize the neighborhood to make it a district for contemporary arts, but also revitalize Italian art. Curator Sergio Risallti credits Gallo with forging a new direction in Italian art after the Arte Povera of the 1960s and Transavanguardia of the 1970s, saying “The painting and sculpture of Giuseppe Gallo has been slowly forged in the…workshop of civilizations and cultures, of continuities and discontinuities [of metaphysical and physical forms]. ...He achieves his pursuit with...mnemonic reworking of images and forms, then abandons this entire heritage to its ancient time in order to rediscover the artist’s own time and a future, critically and radically” (S. Risallti, “Giuseppe Gallo: Gioco felice di un suonatore di tamburi,” Modena, 2007, pp. 20-27).

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