Six Works by Century-Defining Post War Artists

Six Works by Century-Defining Post War Artists


T he plurality of artistic forms and movements that emerged in the Post War period, amid deep ambivalence and war traumas, has left behind a sea of iconic works that have defined the last century. This February’s Contemporary Art Online sale in Milan brings together a selected array of works by Italian and international Post War masters. Here are six picks from Sotheby's specialists.

Mathias Goeritz

Mensaje, or message, from 1959 is an exceptional work from the homonymous series that Mathias Goeritz produced in the late Fifties, informed by his concept of ‘emotional architecture’. This principle, that the artist coined, became the dynamic core of his work and addressed the need to envisage spaces and objects that arouse maximum emotion in modern man, as opposed to functionalism and aestheticism.

Mensaje from 1959 features a painted wooden support covered by thin and luminous sheets of metal painted in gold. Through a series of repetitive punctures, the artist manipulates the gold surface and thus evokes the sense of a mesmerizing constellation. Today, Goeritz’s works are in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, among others.

Giorgio Griffa

Over a career spanning five decades, Giorgio Griffa has consistently explored and investigated the underlying meaning of painting’s basic elements: colour, canvas and brushstroke. His works are characterized by the flatness and reiteration of linear signs, traced in acrylic on unprimed burlap and linen canvas, which is subsequently nailed directly to the wall.

Obliquo from 1972 and Rosa e Blu from 1986 perfectly embody Griffa’s vision of a form of painting that, reduced to its essence, represents nothing other than itself. Following his solo shows at Casey Kaplan in New York in 2012 and 2013, there has been a widely renewed interest in Griffa’s work at the international level.

Alik Cavaliere

Alik Cavaliere has escaped from any categorical definition throughout the course of the history of art, pursuing independently ever new forms of expressiveness through a multifaceted artistic practice that embraced a multitude of techniques and media, spanning from the classical tradition to the Dadaist avant-garde.

Senza titolo from 1972 is emblematic of the artist’s creative universe that revolved around the theme of nature, in both its luxuriance and suffering, its expansion and constraint.

Hans Hartung

Immersed in his atelier home in Antibes, Hans Hartung produced work at a fervent rate and continuously made technical innovations throughout his career which lasted over 70 years. P20-1984-H17 from 1984 is an archetypal work on baryta cardboard, whereby strength translates into elegance, and energy into rhythm.

Fifty years after the last monographic exhibition dedicated to the artist in France in 1969, the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris is currently hosting an important retrospective that traces the artist's career through over 300 works

Carla Accardi

The Italian artist Carla Accardi, best known for her calligraphic abstractions, rose to fame as founding member of the 1947 avant-garde movement Forma 1, whose purpose was to go beyond figuration while breaking free from the rigors of geometry. Accardi’s iconic visual lexicon is born out of the endless possibilities originating from the hybridization of geometric abstraction and gestural painting.

In Bianconero from 1992, one can attest to the metamorphosis of pseudo-calligraphic signs into a pure abstract image in which the areas of colour interplay with the underlying canvas. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, among others.

Carlo Zauli

For centuries, the city of Faenza has been recognised as Italy's most famous ceramic centre, so much so that ‘faience’ has become synonymous with ceramics around the world.

A native of Faenza, Carlo Zauli has come to be recognized internationally for his artistic practices and exhaustive pursuit of the possibilities of earthenware.

A selection of ceramics and multiples by Zauli are included in the Contemporary Art Online sale, among which two signature pieces, Senza titolo from 1962 and Senza titolo from 1972 – the former characterized by organic curves, the latter by jagged edges, cracks and fissures that reflect the artist’s keen connection with nature.

Ceramics and multiples by Carlo Zauli

Contemporary Art

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