Enrico Castellani

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Enrico Castellani (born August 4, 1930, Castelmassa), one of Italy's most influential artists,[1] is an Italian 20th century painter associated with the zero movement, Movimento Arte Nucleare and Azimut. Castellani contributed the development of avant-garde art in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s.[2] Castellani was born in Castelmassa located in North-Eastern Italy. He studied sculpture and painting at Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in 1952 and architecture at École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Belgium (1956).[3] He is best known for his "paintings of light"[3] that merge art, space and architecture to transcend the confines of painting.[2] In 1956 Castellani returned to Italy and met artists like Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni who were pushing Italian avant-garde art.

His original approach is considered fundamental for the art history of the 20th century, not only in Italy, but also on the international scene; In particular, Castellani influenced Donald Judd, who saw him as the father of minimalism.[2]

Castellani has exhibited at the most renowned institutions in the world including the MoMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels and he has represented Italy at the Venice Biennale. He has had retrospective exhibitions at Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia; Kettle's Yard in Cambridge; the Miuccia Prada in Milan; The Modern and Contemporary Civic Gallery in Latina in Trento; and Palazzo Fabroni in Pistoia. Castellani was the 2010 recipient of the Praemium Imperiale for Painting, the first Italian artist ever to receive this honor.[1]

Azimuth[edit]

In 1959, Castellani, Vincenzo Agnetti (1926–81), Agostino Bonalumi (1935-2013) and Piero Manzoni founded the Milan gallery Azimut and the affiliated journal “Azimuth,” organizing international exhibitions and publishing essays that opposed the dominant art movements in Europe at the time.[2] They wanted to announce that, although they had been involved with the then prominent movements of Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel at the beginning, they were now in a different but still radical place.[3] They discussed the beginnings and the decline of Art informel and put forward a new objective language with the presentation of works by Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana and others.[4]

Angolare Series[edit]

The Angolare (“Angular”) series consists of 12 painted works from 1960-1965 for which Castellani fabricated cornershaped armatures that impose concave and convex curvatures on the canvas, yielding subtly disorienting perceptual and spatial effects.[1]

Spazio Ambiente[edit]

Moving beyond the spatially suggestive quality of his Angolare series, Castellani produced his first environment in 1967. Called the Ambiente Bianco (“White Environment”), the work was a spatially enclosing structure formed by interlocking canvases of geometric and angled shapes. The work was destroyed following its exhibition. In 1970 Castellani reconstructed the environment, adding a floor and ceiling, and reintroduced it as Spazio Ambiente (“Environment Space”) in the landmark exhibition “Vitality of the Negative in Italian Art 1960/70” at Rome’s Palazzo delle Esposizioni. Spazio Ambiente is a 360-degree painting executed in a translucent white acrylic that produces a luminescent and transcendental optical effect. Castellani demonstrates the power of abstract painting to transform space and encompass the viewer. Together the Angolare works and Spazio Ambiente articulate Castellani’s determination to produce unprecedented and dynamic spatial experiences while using the traditional canvas.[1]

Process[edit]

Castellani focuses on manipulating the surface configurations of his canvases to alter perceptions of space.[2] He produces monochromatic pieces rendered dynamic by the action of disturbing elements: nails. Indeed, behind a canvas stretched over a wood frame, Castellani places nails that raise or lower the canvas and so create an interplay of light and shadow.[1]

Represented Galleries[edit]

Galleria Fumagalli, Bergamo ( www.galleriafumagalli.com )

Holy Ficara, Florence ( www.santoficara.it )

Vivian Horan Fine Art, New York, ( www.artnet.com/gallery/539/vivian-horan-fine-art.html )[5]

Tornabuoni Art, Paris ( www.tornabuoniart.fr )

Auction Records[edit]

Milan, 2 Dec 1971: White Surface, ITL 1,000,000

Rome, 9 Dec 1976: Red Surface (1970, reliefs/canvas, 57 × 45 ins/145 × 114 cm) ITL 1,400,000

Milan, 7 June 1977: Yellow Surface, Tokyo No. 1 (1967, oil on yellow canvas and relief, 47¼ × 47¼ ins/120 × 120 cm) ITL 4,500,000

Milan, 18 April 1978: White Surface (1977, reliefs/white canvas, 39¼ × 47¼ ins/100 × 120 cm) ITL 3,400,000

Rome, 24 May 1979: Politico (1968, oil on canvas with holes and nails, 31½ × 31½ ins/80 × 80 cm) ITL 1,800,000 \ New York, 6 May 1982: Roman Surface (1963-1966, two oils on canvas, linked by a hinge, 60 × 31 ins/152.5 × 79 cm) USD 1,600

Milan, 14 June 1983: Black Surface (1968, lead pencil/canvas, 39¼ × 39¼ ins/100 × 100 cm) ITL 3,400,000

Milan, 24 Oct 1983: Black (1968, oil on 'estroflessa' canvas, 32¾ × 55½ ins/83 × 141 cm) ITL 4,400,000

New York, 7 June 1984: White Surface No. 18 (1964, oil on canvas with nails, 70 × 70 ins/177.8 × 177.8 cm) USD 6,500

Rome, 23 April 1985: Blue Surface (1965, blue canvas with nails, 59 × 47¼ ins/150 × 120 cm) ITL 8,500,000

Rome, 6 May 1986: White Surface (1976, white canvas with holes, round, diam. 59 ins/150 cm) ITL 18,000,000

Milan, 16 Dec 1987: White Monochrome (1959, prepared canvas, 45 × 57 ins/114 × 145 cm) ITL 23,000,000

Rome, 15 Nov 1988: Surface (1974, yellow draped paper, 19 × 26¾ ins/48 × 68 cm) ITL 1,600,000

Rome, 17 April 1989: Surface (1985, drawing in relief in white paper, 35 × 46 ins/88 × 116 cm) ITL 9,000,000

London, 25 May 1989: Surface (1961, oil on prepared canvas, 31½ × 47¼ ins/80 × 120 cm) GBP 22,000

Milan, 8 Nov 1989: Untitled (1959, draped silver canvas, 15½ × 11½ ins/39.5 × 29.5 cm) ITL 32,000,000

Rome, 6 Dec 1989: White Surface (1988, paper textured in relief, 24¾ × 30¾ ins/63 × 78 cm) ITL 9,775,000

Milan, 19 Dec 1989: Black Surface (1968, prepared canvas, 39¼ × 39¼ ins/100 × 100 cm) ITL 48,000,000

Milan, 27 March 1990: White Surface (1967, worked canvas, 39¼ × 47¼ ins/100 × 120 cm) ITL 70,000,000

Milan, 20 June 1991: Yellow Surface

Milan, 23 June 1992: White Surface (1968, white worked canvas, 46¾ × 48 ins/119 × 121 cm) ITL 25,000,000

Copenhagen, 3 Nov 1993: White Surface (1965, oil on canvas in relief, 15¼ × 15¼ ins/39 × 39 cm) DKK 23,000

Milan, 16 Nov 1993: Untitled (1968, double-sided door with white plastic relief, 82 × 35 ins/208 × 88 cm) ITL 12,075,000

London, 3 Dec 1993: White Surface (1967, oil on worked canvas, 31½ × 31½ ins/80 × 80 cm) GBP 8,050

Milan, 22 June 1995: White Surface (1972, worked canvas, 47¼ × 39¼ ins/120 × 100 cm) ITL 21,850,000

Rome, 14 Nov 1995: Blue Surface (1972, oil on worked canvas, 47¼ × 39¼ ins/120 × 100 cm) ITL 24,150,000

London, 23 May 1996: White Surface No. 2 (1967, tempera and nails/canvas, 39¼ × 39¼ ins/100 × 100 cm) GBP 8,050

Milan, 28 May 1996: White Surface (worked canvas, 39¾ × 59 ins/101 × 150 cm) ITL 37,950,000

New York, 20 Nov 1996: White Surface (1962, canvas and wood, kings pieces, each 49½ × 31¾ ins/125.7 × 80.7 cm) USD 28,750

London, 21 Oct 1999: Surface (1973, oil on canvas, 47 × 79 ins/120 × 200 cm) GBP 20,000

Milan, 9 Nov 1999: Aluminium Surface (waterpaint and silver on canvas, 47 × 47 ins/120 × 120 cm) ITL 25,000,000

London, 30 March 2000: Red Surface (oil on canvas, 59 × 43 ins/150 × 110 cm) GBP 17,000

London, 25 Oct 2000: Silver (1965, oil on canvas, 47 × 39 ins/120 × 100 cm) GBP 40,000

London, 22 Oct 2001: Yellow Surface (1968, oil on canvas, 59 × 71 ins/151 × 181 cm) GBP 50,000

London, 23 Oct 2001: White Surface (1964, oil on canvas, 31 × 39 ins/80 × 100 cm) GBP 85,000

London, 22 Oct 2002: White Surface (1983, oil on canvas, 59 × 59 ins/150 × 150 cm) GBP 60,000

Rome, 18 Dec 2002: White Surface (1968, oil on canvas, 71 × 59 ins/180 × 151 cm) EUR 68,000

London, 20 Oct 2003: White Surface (1977, oil on canvas, 28 × 20 ins/70 × 50 cm) GBP 28,000

London, 21 Oct 2003: White Surface no.1 (1966, oil on canvas, 59 × 47 ins/150 × 120 cm) GBP 110,000

London, 19 Oct 2004: Purple Surface 3 (1964, oil on canvas, 24 × 24 ins/60 × 60 cm) GBP 24,000

London, 19 Oct 2004: White Surface (1969, oil on canvas, 39 × 32 ins/100 × 81 cm) GBP 26,000

London, 17 Oct 2014: White Surface (1967, acrylic on shaped canvas, 92 × 110 ins/235 × 280 cm) GBP 3,778,500 [6]

[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Haunch of Venison New York presents "Castellani e Castellani" by Enrico Castellani". Art Daily. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Enrico Castellani's monochromatic embossed canvasses on view at Tornabuoni Art Gallery". Art Daily. joel villareel. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Actress Loren among Japan art prize winners". Google News. Agence France-Presse. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  4. ^ silvia, lucchesi. ""Castellani, Enrico."Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online.". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 Mar 2013. 
  5. ^ Enrico Castellani - Quotazioni Arte Contemporanea, ArtEconomy 24
  6. ^ "Enrico Castellani". www.sothebys.com. Retrieved October 2014. 
  7. ^ Enrico, Castellani. "Benezit Dictionary of Artists". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 Mar 2013. (subscription required (help)). 

External links[edit]