Franco Angeli, Pompeo Batoni, Alberto Burri, Pietro Consagra, Lucio Fontana, Nicolas Regnier, Mimmo Rotella, Paolo Scheggi
Robilant + Voena is pleased to present two rooms at Frieze Masters 2017: “Pietro Consagra: Marmi 1972-1991” and a group of exceptional Old and Modern Italian Masters that explore the quintessential Italian palate of red and black.
Pietro Consagra was one of post-war Europe’s leading sculptors. Born in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, he attended the Accademia di belle arti, Palermo from 1941 until 1944 when he moved to Rome. After a formative visit to Paris in 1946, he conceived his first abstract works, one of which was acquired by the Tate as early as 1953. Favouring a nonfigurative aesthetic, his first sculptures were not modeled as a whole but instead constructed of silhouetted forms built of overlapping planes. Consagra’s works were in an active dialogue with the topos of the international avant-garde.
In 1952 he invented scultura frontale, a language of almost two-dimensional, flattened works. Consagra was eager to discover new ways to release sculpture from its own art historical constraints. Working in a variety of different materials, including bronze, iron, marble, and steel, and exhibiting widely, Consagra quickly garnered international acclaim. He exhibited at his first Venice Biennale in 1950 and participated ten more times, winning the Grand Prize for sculpture in 1960. In the sixties, he started to experiment with bold colour, which quickly became an integral aspect of his oeuvre and in many ways his strongest challenge to traditional modes of viewing sculpture.
The coloured marble sculptures, Marmi, date from ca. 1972 and were exhibited for the first time at Palazzo dei Normanni in Palermo in 1973. They are a continuation of the scultura frontale and Consagra’s explorations of vibrant colour. These bending forms and bold colours, determined by materiality, are critical parts of Consagra’s refutation of traditional art historical tenets.
Consagra was one of the first Italian contemporary artists to have his work in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Hirshhorn, Washington D.C. and was the first contemporary artist to exhibit at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg. His sculptures are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim, New York; the Guggenheim, Venice; Centre Pompidou, Paris and The Tate, London.
The room devoted to Old and Modern Italian Masters captures the consummate Italian palate of red and black through the ages and includes an exceptional Jacopo Bassano (ca. 1510-1592), Penitent St. Jerome; a transcendent Lucio Fontana (1899-1968) Concetto spaziale from 1968; Pompeo Batoni's (1708 - 1787) elegant Portrait of George Craster (1734-1772); and Franco Angeli's (1935-1988) powerful Papal Crest - Achilleus Ratti as well as various other works.