Sassu, horse and sphinx, cm 50x75
Lot 26
Aligi Sassu (Italian, 1912-1941) Il Cavallo e la Sfinge
Sold for £12,250 (US$ 20,568) inc. premium
Lot Details
Aligi Sassu (Italian, 1912-1941)
Il Cavallo e la Sfinge
signed 'SASSU' (lower right); signed twice, titled and dated 'Aligi Sassu/ 1959/ Il Cavallo e la Sfinge/ SASSU' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
50 x 59cm (19 11/16 x 23 1/4in).
Painted in 1959


    Studio A - Ente Fiuggi - A.T.A., Fiuggi.
    Galleria d'Arte Tosetti, Prato.
    Galleria del Girasole, Udine.

    Fiuggi, Studio A - Ente Fiuggi - A.T.A., I rassegna internazionale di Pittura contemporanea, 1 August - 10 September 1964, no.37.

    The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by the Archivio Aligi Sassu.

    Sassu's interest in mythology becomes apparent in his pictorial vocabulary from the early 1930s. However, his referencing of mythological imagery was always tempered by a connection with reality and lived human experience. This dynamic was paralleled in the artist's general approach since, despite his mythological interests, he was an active participant in politics and the artistic debates of the day, including the Futurist movement with its preoccupation with the dynamism of the modern world.

    According to ancient Greek tradition, the sphinx was a demon with the body of a lion, the head of a woman, the wings of a bird and the tail of a snake, set to guard the entrance of the city of Thebes. In Il Cavallo e la Sfinge, Sassu depicts this ominous creature as a counterpoint to the powerful and vigorous wild horse which challenges the demon on behalf of the petrified man lying prone at her feet. The motif of the horse is used repeatedly by Sassu, and often appears in his paintings as a protagonist representing raw human spirit unfettered by social and historical constraints.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the artist's dates should read 1912-2000.
  1. William O'Reilly
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