Afro Basaldella. The Color of Emotion
In the Winter Palace (rooms 339-342) opened the exhibition Afro Basaldella.
The Color of Emotion that will for the first time in Russia present the artwork
of an artist whose canvases help track the evolution of pictorial
means and coloration of the
The exposition that includes 56 paintings created from 1935 till 1975 reflects the main stages of the artistís career and reveals the "festive glorification of light and life" typical of Afroís work (quoted from the 1960 monograph on painting by James J. Sweeney, at that time the director of the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York).
The greatest Italian abstractionist Afro Basaldella
The early works of the Italian artist created by him in the 1930ís and the first half of the 1940's follow the figurative tradition. Afro's works of that time reflect his clear attention to various schools of painting, from official Novecento with its monumentality and traditionalism, to "metaphysical art" of Giorgio de Chirico. Afro's interest to the artwork of the latter, as well as to surrealism, manifests itself in his painting "Autunno". The pictorial motives and techniques of the artists belonging to the so called "Roman school" are elaborated by Basaldella in his "Foro Romano". Before the war he was captivated by the art of Giorgio Morandi whose way of looking into and listening to everyday routine influenced Afroís artistic quest ("Natura morta", 1941).
In 1937 in Paris Basaldella got acquainted with cubism, which was his
In 1950 the artist moved to America and became a regular exhibitioner
at Catherine Vivianoís gallery. During this stage, having acquainted with Arshile
Gorky's art, Afro abandoned figurativeness, albeit not immediately.
The artistic core of his paintings of the early 1950's is realism. For instance,
"Negro della Louisiana" has a specific figural motive,
although the artist transforms it to a great degree. In his paintings
At the Venetian Biennale of 1952 Afro had a joint exhibition with the Group
of Eight organised with the support form art critic Lionello Venturi.
This helped him to
At the Venetian Biennale of 1956 Afro was named "The Best Painter of Italy". The next two decades he had numerous exhibitions, taught in American and in Italy. In 1958, together with Pablo Picasso, Hans Arp, Alexander Calder, and Huan Miro, he was invited to paint murals in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Two sketches to a monumental "Il Giardino della Speranza" that Afro did during that period show that he attached great value not only to the colour, but also to the drawing itself despite it being seemingly arbitrary.
In the 1970's Afro turned to pictorialism again. In his works of that
time, similar to those of Picasso and Miro, bright dabs became more distinct,
turning into certain organic forms. During these years the artist, already
being seriously ill, almost completely stopped painting and turned to prints and tapestries.
In 1973 Afro moved to Zurich where he died three
years later. In 1978 the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Rome held a large
monographic exhibition of his works, thus recognising him as one of the Italian
The exhibition is organised by the State Hermitage in association with Il Cigno Galileo Galilei publishing house (Rome), Afro Archive (Rome), National gallery of Contemporary Art (Rome), under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Italy, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Italy, the Italian Culture Institute (St. Petersburg), and the Consulate General of the Republic of Italy in St. Petersburg.
The exhibition curator is Natalia Demina, junior researcher of the Department of Western European Art of the State Hermitage.