Alfredo Volpi (Italy/Brazil, 1896 - 1988) tempera on paper depicting four different building facades in bright colors. Signed lower right "A Volpi", & verso lower right "A.Volpi '70", unframed, & measuring 21-1/2" in height with width of 17-1/2". Comes complete with certificate of authenticity (see photographs). In overall good condition with toning to back of paper due probably to previous acidic backing & pinholes to corners from previous mount. Provenance: from a prominent Texas collector.
Alfredo Volpi was born in Lucca, Italy on April 14, 1896 but less than two years later migrated to Brazil where he became a Brazilian citizen & lived for the majority of his life. He was one of the most important artists of the so-called Grupo Santa Helena, formed in the 1930s with Francisco Rebolo, Clovis Graciano, Mario Zanini, Rossir Osir e Bonadei, Fulvio Pennachi, & others. He was a prominent painter of the artistic & cultural Brazilian Modernist Movement, even though he was self-taught. Volpi started painting façades of houses in a highly stylized and colorful manner (these paintings were later named the "historical façades" by art critics) and this recurrent theme became pervasive all through the 1950s, after a brief "concretist" period (even though the artist himself never acknowledged being part of the concretist movement as such). The 1960s witnessed the development of his trademark "bandeirinhas" (small flags) for which Volpi became famous and which originated from Brazilian folklore (small flags are a regular fixture of the popular festa junina, held every year during the month of June): the artist would use the small-flag pattern to show an increasing sense of color combination and balanced composition which would eventually place him among the major Brazilian artists of his time. The painter gained national renown with his participation at the second São Paulo Art Biennial, winning the Grand Prix for Brazilian painting, an award he shared with Di Cavalcanti. Di Cavalcanti publicly dismissed Volpi's art as being that of a "flag painter". Soon he became known as one of the most important 20th century painters in Brazil. More recent exhibitions (MAM São Paulo 2006, Curitiba 2007) have shown how Volpi, far from being the isolated self-made artist he was once thought to be, actually absorbed various influences during his career, especially that of Josef Albers. His use of the ancient tempera technique also shows a knowledge of the Italian Renaissance painters. He died April 28, 1988 at age 92 in Brazil.