Emilio Pettoruti (1892-1971)
- Emilio Pettoruti
- Flautista ciego (II)
- signed lower left
- oil on wood
Gift from the above to Abraham Minujín, Buenos Aires circa 1932
Thence by descent to the present owners
In Pettoruti’s paintings, certain formal and conceptual issues are always present. The dynamic construction in the foreground is based on an exploration of light as an independent value. By observing how light interacts with planes of color and forms, the artist developed a stylistic concept which would pervade his works for many years. In El Flautista Ciego II the relationship between the figure and the background is contrasted by the geometrical synthesis of the figure and the vertical and horizontal planes of the background. The recurrent conceptual and visual tensions are resolved in dynamic images that result in a seeming state of stillness and stability.
El Flautista Ciego II, is part a series of paintings Pettoruti executed in 1920 inspired by street musicians: El Guitarrista, El Acordeonista, El Vionchelista and La Cantante. There is another version of the Flautista, in a Chilean collection, although it is not certain which version was painted first. In Pettoruti’s oeuvre, it was his common practice to paint more than one version of the same composition. A good example of this practice are the series of paintings which explore a still life composition comprised of with a guitar and sheet music, placed on a table in front of an open window. In the 1940’s Pettoruti explored at least eight variants on this still life composition. Works in this still life series have titles such as La Guitarre, La Guitarre II, Concierto,Concierto II, Interior, El Mantel Blanco I & II or Hoja de música. Another example of this practice are the many known versions seen in his famous Arlequín series.
El Flautista Ciego II is executed on wooden board, the verso of which sports an unfinished painting of a still life on a table in the interior of Pettoruti’s Milan studio. The practice of re-using materials is typical of many painters early in their careers, when, for economic reasons, when their funds were low, re-used old works as the supports for new works. Many paintings by Joaquín Torres-García have unfished works on their versos, as do cubist works by Diego Rivera and early works on canvas by Fernando Botero. El Flautista Ciego II originally formed part of the collection of early Pettoruti collector and friend, Enrique Eduardo García. (another Pettoruti from Garcia’s collection, La Canción del Pueblo, 1927, is currently in the collection of MALBA in Buenos Aires). In the early 1930’s, Enrique Eduardo García gave El Flautista Ciego II as a wedding gift to his doctor, the eminent pediatrician Abraham Minujín, and the painting has descended through the family to the present day.