London, South Kensington
28 March 2012
Gastone Novelli (1925-1968)
Apparato ammazzainnocenti (Apparatus Death of the Innocents)
signed 'G.Novelli' (lower right); signed, titled and dated 'APPARATO AMMAZZA INNOCENTI G. Novelli 57' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
31½ x 39 7/8in. (80 x 101.3cm.)
Painted in 1957
Galleria La Salita, Rome.
Acquired from the above by the second Viscount Monsell and thence by descent.
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G. Pensabene, Via Margutta e altre cose, in "Il Popolo Italiano", Rome, 1957.
P. Bonani (et al.), Gastone Novelli: Catalogo generale, Milan 2011, n. P/1957/43, p. 145.
Rome, Galleria La Salita, Gastone Novelli, 1957.
These two paintings by Gastone Novelli represent a welcome rediscovery of two works whose whereabouts were hitherto unknown, thereby giving added lustre to the artist's body of paintings. Painted at the end of the 50s, they mark Novelli's return from a period in Brazil which had heavily influenced the artist's pictorial style, leading him into a deep reflection on the very roots of his pictorial vision. Action Painting was born in the United States at the very same time with the fury of colour accosting the canvas, and in Italy great artists such as Twombly and Afro (Novelli was his assistant), introduced a new style of painting made of words written on surfaces and almost covering them completely, and of material glued straight onto the canvas.
Novelli expresses a new interest in the gears, the machines, and everything else of human invention, recalled in his works bearing hugely evocative titles. For example, Apparato ammazzainnocenti is almost an infernal machine that reminds us of the industrial development in Italy during the 1950s. The bitterness in the title hides a harsh satire towards that reality. The brush strokes are violent, at regular intervals and covered in dribbles and shapeless blots. They undertook a desperate step in an effort to forget the academic practice that went before, so as to make the pictorial act as improvised and spontaneous as possible and to express all the emotional tension possible without space nor time in the action.
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.
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF THE LATE SIR PATRICK LEIGH FERMOR, DSO, LBE
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