Property from a Private Collection, New York
"The development of my lines creates a space that is not different than the depth of memory. The forms open and they are determined as imprints, dimensions coming from far away" (Afro quoted in Il Disegno Italiano Moderno e Contemporaneo, exh. cat., San Polo di Reggio Emilia, 2009, p. 5).
In 1957, at the age of forty-five, Afro emerged from under the influence of such painters like Kline and Pollock, whose embrace of fluid gestures created a launching pad for a unique and dynamic language of his own. Beginning in 1950, Afro made countless trips to America - first learning from the diverse American art scene and later participating in an exhibition curated by Andrew Ritchie. His work from this period reflects a freedom discovered in the non-figurative realm of his Abstract Expressionist contemporaries. As the first Italian to establish direct contact with a New York school, his newly found style became influenced by his connection of the American and Italian avant-garde movements of the 1950s.
Composizione 1956 and Composizione 1957, demonstrates a departure from the use of line and rejection of formal artistic devices. While drawing from Gorky's abstract morphology and the tachiste sense of surface, Afro creates a celebration of abstracted forms and color through his rhythmic gestures. It is through his delicate layering of colors and juxtaposing planes that render his illuminated colors, creating an effect reminiscent of the Venetian masters. Afro once said of his work, "The substance of my color and the development of my lines create a space that is nothing more than the thickness of memory."
signed and dated 'Afro '56' (lower right); signed again, inscribed and dated again 'con tanti auguri ed abbracci affettousi Afro Roma 20 dic 56' (on the reverse)
gouache, ink and watercolor on paper laid down on paper
6¼ x 7½ in. (15.8 x 19 cm.)
Painted in 1956.
Mr. and Mrs. William Bernoudy, St. Louis, acquired from the artist
Her sale; Christies, New York, 10 November 1994, lot 433
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner