"Italian Art Nouveau and Conceptual Art: A Distance Dialogue" on view at Ottocento Art Gallery

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"Italian Art Nouveau and Conceptual Art: A Distance Dialogue" on view at Ottocento Art Gallery
Giulio Aristide Sartorio (Rome 1860 – 1932), Games by the sea. Oil on canvas cm 38 x 60 signed and dated Terracina MCMXXI (1921) lower right. © Ottocento Art Gallery.

ROME.- Ottocento Art Gallery is offering important masterpieces coming from several private collections gathered in the usual monthly exhibition aimed to the sale. The selection starts from an oil on canvas, made by Giulio Aristide Sartorio. His period of greatest renown came at the beginning of the century, when he produced decorative friezes for the 5th Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte of Venice (1903), the Mostra Nazionale of Fine Arts (Milan, Parco Sempione, 1906) and Palazzo Montecitorio in Rome (1908–12). Wounded during World War I, he travelled extensively in the Middle East, Japan and Latin America during the 1920s and became a member of the Italian Royal Academy. Ottocento Art Gallery presents his Games by the sea (1921) which definitely stands out for the brightness of his Symbolist palette.

The further important artwork offered by Ottocento Art Gallery is a remarkable bronze sculpted by Amleto Cataldi, an artist close to Duilio Cambellotti into the finding an Italian way to the European Art was one of the most celebrated sculptors of his generation. His career was occupied with exhibitions and continual commissions for monuments and portrait busts of Roman nobility. Today his legacy is left in Rome in sculptures such as Woman with amphora in the Pincio Garden, Victory on the Victor Emanuel Bridge, the memorial to the Guardia della Finanza who died in World War I in Viale XXI Aprile, as well as the only other two versions of the present model in the National Gallery of Modern Art and the courtyard of the former Ministry of Civil Protection. Cataldi’s style was inspired by the antique: the classical mastery of beauty and idealised form were integral to Cataldi’s working principles. He developed a particular interest in the nude female form and incorporated into his compositions the classical ideals of balance and harmony as results evident in the bronze offered by Ottocento Art Gallery.

The selection of the proposal displayed by Ottocento Art Gallery continues with a wonderful Orientalist portrait depicted by Natale Schiavoni. He was peripatetic, traveling in 1800 to Trieste, and in 1810 to Milan, where he painted Eugene Beauharnais and the royal family. In Milan, he was able to frequent the studios of Appiani, Longhi, and Sabatelli. In 1816, Schiavoni was invited by the Austrian emperor to Vienna, to become the official portraitist for the court. From there, he returned to Venice in 1821, where he became professor at the Academy of Fine Arts. He resided in the Palazzo Giustinian on the Grand Canal. He was awarded a gold medal at an exhibition in Brussels. Among his works are a Penitent Magdalene (1852); a painting on the same subject at the Vienna Museum; a Bacchante, displayed at the Stadel Gallery in Frankfort; and an Adoration of Shepherds, displayed at the British Museum, London. Ottocento Art Gallery offers one of his most beautiful portraits: Young woman with turban.

Others important paintings complete the exhibition, such as a view of Venice depicted by Emma Ciardi. She was born in Venice and received her artistic training from her father Guglielmo Ciardi; her brother Beppe was also an artist. All three specialised in Impressionistic views of Venice, in a style reminiscent of the Macchiaioli artists who pioneered plein air painting in Italy in the 19th Century.

The selection of 20th century artworks closes the exhibition, with artworks by Corrado Cagli, Sergio Lombardo and Sol Lewitt. In particular, Lewitt was a central figure in both Conceptual Art and Minimalism. His ideas about art practice, as much as actual art production, are considered catalysts for the transition from the modern to postmodern eras. Believing that an idea could be as much a work of art as a corporeal piece, such as painting or sculpture, helped revolutionize contemporary notions of what art is. Because of the highly intellectual and conceptual nature of his practice, he was able to move between, and effectively utilize, many mediums, including sculpture, painting, drawing, and incorporeal projects that exist only within the process of creation.

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