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Mario Schifano (1934-1998)
The Collection of Chiara and Francesco Carraro
Mario Schifano (1934-1998)

N° 2 dagli Archivi del Futurismo

Mario Schifano (1934-1998)
N° 2 dagli Archivi del Futurismo
signed, titled and dated ‘Schifano 1965 “N° 2 dagli Archivi del Futurismo”’ (on the reverse)
enamel and graphite on canvas
63 3/8 x 45 ¼ in. (160 x 115 cm.)
Executed in 1965.
Galleria Niccoli, Parma
M. Meneguzzo, ed., Galleria d'arte Niccoli 1970-2011, Parma, 2011, pp. 212 and 246 (illustrated).
Parma, Galleria d'arte Niccoli and MAN Museo Arte Nuoro, L'arte pop in Italia: Pittura, design e grafica negli anni Sessanta, December 1999-March 2000, p. 105 (illustrated).
Milano, Fondazione Marconi, Schifano: 1964-1970, Dal paessagio alla TV, February-March 2006, p. 58 (illustrated).
Chieti, Museo Archeologico Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Pop Art: La via italiana, p. 105, pl. 51 (illustrated).
Sale room notice
Please note this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Archivio Mario Schifano.

Lot Essay

This work is recorded in the Archivio Mario Schifano, Rome, under no. 03218160920 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Mario Schifano came onto the Italian art scene of the early 1960s with striking monochromatic works that attracting the attention of critics, as well as the famed gallerist, Ileana Sonnabend. Soon after, he would be included in exhibitions like the seminal 1962 exhibition, New Realists, alongside Yves Klein, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein at the Sidney Janis Gallery, New York. It was at this time that his practice took a decidedly new direction. He would reject the austere, reduced aesthetic of his monochromes to instead embrace figuration and develop a uniquely Italian approach to Pop art. Media images flooded Schifano’s native Rome after World War II. Unlike his Pop counterparts in the United States, whose country was then less than two centuries old, Schifano was surrounded by the rich cultural heritage of Italy in plain view as well as reflected back in tourist advertisements. Schifano use these signs and symbols from the consumer landscape and would appropriate images from Ancient Rome through Renaissance and the Futurists of the early twentieth-century from the cultural world.

It is from this period that works such as Schifano’s 2 dagli Archivi del Futurismo comes. Italian Futurists like Giacomo Balla, Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini valorized industry, the machine, progress, and speed and their paintings and sculptures often implied movement. Schifano evokes such dynamism. The left side of the canvas features an outline of a leg from knee to shoe repeated in overlapping succession of drawn marks that suggests motion. The leg has been fragmented from the rest of the body, which has been hidden behind a stacked bands of color. Black, grey, orange, white and navy are painted in an array of textures in a number of brushstrokes. Arranged on the right side of the canvas, these colors resemble the flag of an imaginary nation. Where American Pop cast a cool, distanced view of the banality of popular culture, Schifano instead highlights the radicality of the Futurists and their influence on Italian society. Schifano would continue to look to the Futurists for the subject of his painting until the mid-1970s. Then, he would appropriate a photograph taken on February 9, 1912 of Luigi Russolo, Carlo Carrà, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini in front of the offices of the Paris-based, political newspaper, Le Figaro. The newspaper would publish the Futurist Manifesto two weeks later on February 20th, ostensibly after the five artists visited for an editorial meeting, launching their ideas into the world of European intellectuals. In doing so, Schifano joins them as part of Italy’s long lasting artistic legacy.

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