b. Cappelle sul Tavo 1940
Dated on the reverse along upper edge
Pink pigment and gold leaf on panel
150 x 150 cm / 59.1 x 59.1 in
London, Robilant+Voena, The Gallant Apparel: Italian Art and the Modern, 27 September – 27 October 2010
St. Moritz, Robilant+Voena, Ettore Spalletti, 5 July - 7 September 2019
Meneguzzo, M. and Dimitrova, M., The Gallant Apparel: Italian Art and the Modern, exhibition catalogue, p. 58-59, ill.
Ettore Spalletti established himself at the start of the 1970s under the relatively unknown definition of inespressionista or “anti-Expressionist”, underlining his wish to remove from the work any possible psychological content or value recognisable as individual expression. The choice and use of his typical chalky colours – pink, blue, grey and black, often edged by a gold border and of the jutting and slightly offset panels, do not eliminate expressivity however, but evoke instead a serene, soothing and calm construction, similar to a Tiepoloesque sky or a Piero della Francesca background. Usually, Spalletti’s process involved rubbing pigment into gesso, layer by layer over the course of several days, building up and sanding down, to create a desired tone using the impasto technique. The artist himself did not refuse these naturalistic contrasts that bridge the colour field, the greatest expression of abstraction, with the evocation of a distant nostalgia for representation.
"Light is very important. Like a colour is born… a painting of mine has an elaboration of nearly 20 days. Every day I find a colour… I work a paste of colours, that is quite thick, that contains pigments and chalk. Fundamentally colour is constructed on the reality of white. It is on white that I add the pigments, and I add powders to dissolve the colour. Now it is quite fun to do. Before I would always mess it up. […]
I did not know what was going to be my colour formula. It was something that I used to invent, that I felt, that I experimented… […]
This is my obsession. […] It is the pleasure to play with the colour powders, to find in what way and where can colour stop."
Ettore Spalletti (Paolo Vagheggi, Contemporanei, Conversazioni d’artista, 2006)
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