Catalogue of the first international retrospective dedicated to Brazilian-Italian painter Alfredo Volpi: a thorough exploration in words and images of the painter's peculiar life and career—from the bounds and relationships with the Brazilian art community, to his special link to the city of São Paulo and his adopted country, leading to the development of his unique artistic language.
The Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM) presents the very first retrospective in a public institution outside Brazil of Alfredo Volpi: a major Brazilian artist born in Lucca (Italy) in 1896 and who moved to São Paulo's Cambuci Italian neighborhood in 1898. Alfredo Volpi died in 1988 in São Paulo.
The aim of the exhibition is to retrace Volpi's career, starting from his early oil paintings in the '40s—mostly landscapes and “cityscapes”—to the works of the '50s, '60s and '70s, in which the same subjects are metamorphosed into colorful geometric compositions, oneiric archetypes of the façades of buildings and festive banners, and a humble and poetic “algorithm” that gives Volpi the chance to make infinite color variations on the same subject.
The exhibition features more than 70 works retracing the history of this independent and self-taught painter, whose fascination for the Italian early Renaissance, for Matisse, Morandi and the sphere of popular culture led him to win the Best National Prize at the 2nd São Paolo Biennale with “Di Cavalcanti”, and intrigued the celebrated English critic Herbert Read, who described him as an artist “… aware of the general movement, but who created something contemporary with an indigenous theme: the shapes and colors of Brazilian modern architecture.”
Published following the eponymous exhibition, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, from February 9 to May 20, 2018.
Alfredo Volpi (1896-1988) is a post-war colorist painter, one of the most respected artistic figure in Brazil.