Jun 06, 2024 - Sale 2671

Sale 2671 - Lot 25

Price Realized: $ 16,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 8,000
Un po'Primordiale (A Little Primordial).

Paper collage and ink on canvas, 1959-60. 850x850 mm; 33½x33½ inches. Signed, titled (in both Italian and English), inscribed "collage" and dated in ink, verso.

Exhibited: "Rotella," Galleria La Salita, Rome, March 1961.

Published: Restany, Rotella: Dal Decollage alla Nuova Immagine, Milan, 1963, number 25 (with the dimensions 58x62 cm., illustrated); Celant, Mimmo Rotella Catalogo ragionato, Milan, 2016, volume I, page 664, number 1959-132 (with the dimensions 58x62 cm., illustrated).

Provenance: Galleria La Salita, Rome; Giorgio Crisafi, Rome; acquired at Bertha Schaefer Gallery, New York; private collection, New York; thence by descent to the current owners, private collection, Hew Haven, Connecticut.

Domenico "Mimmo" Rotella (1918-2006) was an important Italian post-war artist, best known for his work in collage and psychogeographics, made from torn advertising posters. He was associated with the Ultra-Lettrists, an offshoot of Lettrism, and later was a member of the Nouveau Réalisme, founded in 1960 by the art critic Pierre Restany. In 1951, he exhibited for the first time in Paris at the Salon des Nouvelles Réalités. Then, between 1951 and 1952, he traveled to the United States on a Fulbright Foundation scholarship, and was an artist in residence at the University of Kansas City. In New York he met and was influenced by artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Cy Twombly and Jackson Pollock.

In 1953, on his return to Europe, he began to create collage works from torn bits of paper and advertising posters he found on the streets. He based his collage work on the early 20th century Cubist foundation and infused it with a Dadaist array of ready-made art and found objects. During the 1950s his abstract collage work gained increasing prominence both in Rome, where he worked, and throughout Italy and France. In 1960, he joined the Nouveau Réalisme movement (though he was not a signer of the manifesto) and began to associate and exhibit with Yves Klein, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, César, Arman and Christo, and into the early 1960s also interacted with the Italian abstract artists Lucio Fontana and Alberto Burri. In 1964, Rotella was invited to the Venice Biennale and, in 1965, to the IX Quadrennial of Rome.

Rotella is considered among the most important Italian post-war artists and a master of abstract collage. Early collage work by Rotella, like the current work, from the late 1950s / early 1960s, is currently held in public collections including the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., The Menil Collection, Houston, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Tate Modern, London and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.