Tancredi (Italian, 1927-1964) Untitled  1954

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Lot 31AR
Tancredi
(Italian, 1927-1964)
Untitled
1954

£ 45,000 - 65,000
US$ 62,000 - 89,000
Tancredi (Italian, 1927-1964)
Untitled
1954

signed
oil and tempera on board

67 by 100 cm.
26 3/8 by 39 3/8 in.

This work was executed in 1954.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Galleria L'Elefante, Treviso
    Private Collection, Reggio Emilia
    Studio Mirabello, Milan
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner

    Literature
    Marisa Dalai Emiliani, Tancredi. I dipinti e gli scritti, Turin 1997, vol. 2, n.p., no. 571, illustrated in black and white



    Although Italian born and bred, Tancredi Parmeggiani, better known simply as Tancredi, was an artist who quickly developed an international reputation. His studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice led to close links with the city, and also a close friendship with fellow Italian modern master Emilio Vedova. He spent some time in Paris in 1946-47, soaking up its creative atmosphere, but soon returned to his native land.
    His first solo show took place at the Galleria Sandri in Venice in 1949, when the artist was just twenty-two years of age. Following a two year sojourn in Rome, Tancredi was drawn back to Venice for a four year period which was perhaps to be the most important for his artistic development; for it was during this time that he met Peggy Guggenheim, one of the most influential collectors and taste-makers of the day. The effect of this meeting of minds on both his reputation and his art was to be immense.
    Guggenheim, much taken with the young artist's ideas, set Tancredi up in a studio in her stately Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an eighteenth-century palace which had ultimately remained unfinished. The Palazzo's classical exterior belied a distinctly modernist interior filled with creativity and hung with works from Guggenheim's ever growing collection. It was here that Tancredi came in to contact with works from across the Atlantic: revolutionary canvases by Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, Mark Tobey that were to inform his own evolution. The next three years would bring success after success for the Italian; in 1952 he won the Grand Prize for painting at the Venice Biennale, his solo shows in Milan and Venice in 1953 were met with acclaim, and in 1954 his work was not only exhibited at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, but also included in a significant exhibition entitled Tendances actuelles (Contemporary Trends) at the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland. Here his paintings were placed in context with other emerging names from around the globe; Georges Mathieu, Jackson Pollock, Wols, Sam Francis, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Mark Tobey. Tancredi's reputation as a crucial figure in the success of modern abstraction was assured.

    Untitled, 1954 offers a fascinating glimpse of the intensity of this period of Tancredi's eventful life. With its extraordinarily effusive brushwork overlaid with a delicate tracery of dots, scratches and hatches, this painting is buzzing with energy. It is hard not to see images of outer space here, with colourful asteroid-like forms whizzing through a cavernous void, the clusters of white dashes forming an intricate constellation of tiny stars. With its sharp contrasts of light and dark, its melange of mysterious shapes and objects both solid and ephemeral, this is a picture which seems to reverberate with a pulsating dynamism.
    That it was created in a burst of enthusiasm is clear, but as with all of Tancredi's best works, the end result is not just audacious, but also unescapably beautiful. Ultimately, the intensity of the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni was to prove too much for Tancredi. He left in 1954, heading off to further successes, further relationships and further inspirations; although his career was cut short only a decade later by his tragic death aged just 37, his artistic stature has continued to grow, and today his work is held in many of the world's most prestigious collections, including those of MoMA and the Guggenheim in New York, and the Museo del Novecento, Milan. As a man, this atmosphere of Venetian passion, both creative and spiritual, may have been overwhelming; as an artist, Untitled of 1954 reveals that it was nothing less than inspirational.
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