May 12, 2022 - Sale 2604

Sale 2604 - Lot 120

Price Realized: $ 8,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000

Particle board relief, circa 1950s. 400x515 mm; 15 3/4x20 1/4 inches. Signed in ink, lower right recto (faded).

Provenance: With the artist and shown at Marlborough Gallery, New York; acquired directly from the artist, by Galeria Carl Van der Voort, Ibiza; thence to the current owner, private collection, New Mexico, 1960s.

Marca-Relli (1913-2000) was born in Boston to Italian immigrants and spent his youth traveling between Europe and the United States while his father worked as a journalist. When his family settled in the United States, he studied art briefly at the Cooper Union, New York at age 18 and then worked for the Works Progress Administration from 1935-38. It was through the WPA that he met Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, pioneers of the Abstract Expressionist movement. After serving in the army in World War II, he moved back to New York and had his first solo exhibition in 1947 at the Niveau Gallery. During this time he helped found "The Artist's Club", a group of avant-garde artists who met to discuss art and participated in the first "Ninth Street Show" in 1951.

Although he was immersed in the New York School of Abstract Expressionism at the time, he remained interested in architecture and urban landscapes, and sought inspiration from the Italian Renaissance. He differed from his contemporaries in that he didn't seek spontaneity and movement in his compositions, but had a controlled approach in depicting static interlocking forms even as he moved towards more abstract compositions. He became known for these wooden and metal sculptural reliefs as well as large collage works of overlapping canvases, which he started to produce in the 1950s. In 1996, he returned to Italy, settling in Parma where he remained for the rest of his life.