In 1960s Rome, in the so-called ‘trident’ between Piazza del Popolo and Piazza di Spagna, artists such as Mario Schifano, Franco Angeli, Tano Festa, Giosetta Fioroni and Cesare Tacchi would meet to discuss art and politics over coffee, while dreaming about America. The Milanese sale on 25 and 26 May is proud to present 20 works from 1961 to 1968 in which each of these artists is represented, expressing the enduring vitality of Roman Pop Art.

MARIO SCHIFANO, GRIGIO 402, ESTIMATE €400,000–600,000.

Mario Schifano’s pivotal Grigio 402 (Estimate €400,000–600.000) is the artist’s masterpiece. Radical and contemporary, its “signaletic” painting tries to capture reality without trying to interpret it through philosophical virtuosity.

Following Schifano’s lesson, Tano Festa and Franco Angeli would capture images and transform them in a language of signs. Angeli’s Stelle, 1961 (Estimate €40.000–60.000), is a splendid example as it plays with political iconography, transforming the Soviet hammer, sickle and stars into a constellation of signs.


A livello del mare. Studio n. 1 by Tano Festa (Estimate €60,000–80,000) and Viva l’estate. Studio n. 2 (Estimate €35,000–45,000) reflect the artist’s long stay in New York as his work seems to become more cheerful, as evidenced by the portraits of women in costume and dancers.

Cesare Tacchi and Giosetta Fioroni, influenced by Twombly, de Kooning and Rauschenberg, present an original and very personal language. A work like I fidanzati by Tacchi, 1965 (Estimate €140,000–180,000), has the capacity to reveal the most recent artistic trends in a completely novel way: the collage aspects of Rauschenberg, the informal Italian and the emerging American Pop style, all fused in one work.


This is the Rome of the School of Piazza del Popolo, with its urban landscapes, its advertisements, the street signs, its padded fabric canvases, its artists in movement but with their roots anchored to the Roman soil. As gallery owner and photographer Plinio de Martiis remarked of the scene, “I remember Pop Art to be fun, as the city’s windows are; exciting as the cinema manifestos; tempting as the advertisements.”

The Modern & Contemporary Sale is in Milan on 25 and 26 May


25 May 2016 - 26 May 2016 | Milan