A Large Mid 20thC Italian School Geometric Abstract Painting

Origin: Italian
Period: Mid 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1950-60 – the frame c.1860
In Frame:
Height: 37.5”
Width: 32”
Depth: 3.5”

The large abstract geometric painting, hailing from the fifties, painted in the monochrome non-primary colours of grey, white and black, consisting of sections of painted card applied to board and mounted in a good quality English nineteenth century gilt gesso frame, the work signed on the reverse for M. Manchelli (?), the work a study in Concetto spaziale (Spatial concept) and surviving in good original condition.

The picture itself remains in original unrestored condition with no losses or restoration. The signature is hard to decipher but further research may prove fruitful.  The frame has losses as photographed and is of very good quality, being three and half inches thick, the moulding cast well.

Geometric abstract art has had many different stages and facets across the history of art starting from the early XX century and expanding towards the present day. Geometric abstraction arrived after many decades of figurative painting where sensitive images of detailed landscapes, and portraits of pompous characters where featured in many paintings. This fundamental change consisted in the use of simple geometric figures (squares, circles, triangles) combined inside subjective compositions that lived inside surreal spaces. There was no reference to the real world, only fictional, utopic scenarios as if the goal was to say that painting is something that simply one does. It was born as a reaction towards the excess of subjectivity of the visual artists of previous movements in an attempt to distance themselves from the purely emotional. Abstract geometrical art tried to be precise, sticking to the rules of nature and science.  

Abstraction for many of the Italian painters in this period was not far removed from the day-to-day — industrial design, typography and architecture — which aligned them in their aesthetic and utopianism to their counterparts at the Bauhaus.

The exploration of dynamic space in the De Stijl movement, for example, whereby the principles that dominated artistic creation were always absolute abstraction, had no reference to reality and the language was restricted to lines and right angles, the three primary colours (blue, yellow and red) and the three non-primary colours, grey, white and black.

A wonderful juxtaposition of craftsmanship that is a century apart, the art very much electrifying in its simplicity and the frame wonderfully redolent of the decayed country house.