Mario Schifano (1934-1998)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED EUROPEAN GENTLEMAN
Mario Schifano (1934-1998)

Paesaggio anemico III

Details
Mario Schifano (1934-1998)
Paesaggio anemico III
signed, titled and inscribed 'Paesaggio anemico III Schifano GMarconi' (on the reverse of each element)
enamel and graphite on two joined canvases
overall: 78¾ x 86¼in. (200 x 219cm.)
Executed in 1965
Provenance
Studio Marconi, Milan.
Private Collection, Italy.
Anon. sale, Christie's London, 6 December 2000, lot 44.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Exhibited
Milan, Studio Marconi, Mario Schifano. Una collezione '60/'70, 1990 (illustrated in colour and titled Paesaggio anemico, unpaged).
Milan, Fondazione Marconi, Schifano 1964-1970. Dal paesaggio alla TV, 2006 (illustrated in colour with incorrect medium, p.86).
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.
Post lot text
This work is registered in the Archivio Mario Schifano, Rome, under no. 04046190706, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

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Barbara Guidotti
Barbara Guidotti

Lot Essay

‘The silver grey and myosote blue empty the great clouds and large hills of meaning. No sky, no sunset, no panorama; or rather the spectre of a sunset or of the sky… The newfound geometry in every painting is almost a way of making the sidereal distance of those hills and clouds commensurable. Is it nature that is “geometricized”, or rather is it geometry that is being naturalized and therefore made human?’
Maurizio Fagiolo dell’Arco

‘The landscapes are as if they had been analysed in a showcase, in a distant but near screen, before becoming imaginary: “anaemic”, because deprived of apparent life, or rather of a mimetic reproductive concept of the image’
Luca Massimo Barbero


Constructed with distinct planes of boldly flattened colour, Paesaggio anemico III is a large and quintessential example of the iconoclastic, irreverent and compelling form of contemporary landscape painting – the so-called Paesaggi anemici or ‘Anaemic landscapes’ – that Mario Schifano pioneered in the mid 1960s. Painted across two canvases, in the present work, Schifano has quite literally deconstructed a depiction of the landscape, distilling the scene into three flattened bands of colour, which are interspersed with geometric striations and stencilled strut-like forms that reinforce the constructed nature of this painted representation. Passages of canvas are left bare, with gestural strokes and drips of paint filling the composition with a painterly beauty unique to Schifano’s work.

In the early 1960s, Schifano controversially left behind the large abstract monochromes and Pop-like images of Esso and Coca-Cola logos with which he had found international fame, and instead embraced the classical tradition of landscape painting. This was a radical move in an era when painting was coming to be regarded as obsolete. At the time, Schifano’s contemporaries were shunning all signs of subjective expression in their work, creating neutral, objective and depersonalised works, that bore no trace of the artist’s hand, nor held any connection to conventional modes of painting. With these landscapes, Schifano defiantly embraced figuration and the medium of painting as a way of exploring the very nature of pictorial representation itself. Just as almost a century before, Cézanne, Monet, Matisse and others had used landscape painting as a vehicle for their radical artistic explorations, so Schifano did the same, playfully invoking and exploring the concept and tradition of landscape painting from the vantage point of the dynamic, multi-faceted and rapidly changing post-war era. As such, these works serve as a parodic, post-modern re-interpretation, or reappropriation, of this centuries-old genre. Using unorthodox materials and a bold, brash painterly technique to create these Paesaggi anemici, Schifano emphasised the fiction that underpins art, literally deconstructing his compositions so that these supposed landscape paintings depict, as Claire Gilman has written, ‘the act and fact of viewing itself; the material means by which we see’ (C. Gilman, ‘Mario Schifano: Beyond the Monochrome’, in Mario Schifano 1960-67, exh. cat., London, 2014, p. 15).

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