Giuseppe Capogrossi Rome 1899-1972

Giuseppe Capogrossi Signature
Giuseppe Capogrossi Signature

Important Italian painter of the 20th Century, the golden age of the international artistic avant-gardes.

As most of his colleagues, he lives in Paris between 1927 and 1933.

As you know Paris in those years was like Rome in 1700s: to be a great artist, you had to make the Grand Tour…
Back in Rome, he joins the movement of the Roman School; we recall some names of that mythical current: Corrado Cagli (Ancona 1910 – Rome 1976), Emanuele Cavalli (Lucera 1904 – Florence 1981) e Fausto Pirandello (Rome 1899 – 1975) son of Luigi the great writer.

Biographies Giuseppe Capogrossi
Giuseppe Capogrossi and Henry Moore

To this movement, often some art critics, associates the famous Scuola di via Cavour, which takes its name from the first home of two great artists   Mario Mafai (Rome 1902 – 1965) and his partner Antonietta Raphaël Mafai (Kaunas 1895 – Rome 1975).

Biographies Giuseppe Capogrossi
Capogrossi and Antonietta Raphaël Mafai

Antonietta Raphael Mafai (Kaunas 1895-Roma 1975).

Returning to our Giuseppe Capogrossi, his first paintings, despite figuratives, were greatly affected by the atmospheres of the Avant-gardes; however, an artist cannot stay in Paris in the 1930s without being deeply influenced.

The environment frequented by our artist was animated by giants like Pablo Picasso (Malaga 1881 – Mougins 1973), George Braque (Argenteuil 1882 – Paris 1963) and Amedeo Modigliani (Livorno 1884 – Paris 1920).

Capogrossi’s first portraits are strongly influenced by the atmosphere of Cubism, instead his dancers and the nudes of the beginning are strongly affected by the movement called Constructivism.

But a talented artist, like Capogrossi was, is capable of developing his own poetic language.

Biographies Giuseppe Capogrossi
Giuseppe Capogrossi
Portrait 1932

Starting from 1945, he elaborated his own style with still life and portrait with great psychological introspection.

By 1950 his style was already defined; his works, are inspired by the collaboration with Corrado Cagli and his “cellular motifs”.

His signs were already conceived as a language, a private code,  but accessible to everybody.

Is in this period that Giuseppe Capogrossi elaborates the form that has become an icon of international modern art: abstract figures facing each other, magnetizing themselves to form almost a magical oval.

You can see the painting called Superficies 28, year 1952 in  Léo Castelli Gallery, Ney York.

In this years he actively participates in the creation of the Origine group in collaboration with the artists Mario Ballocco  (Milan 1913 – 2008), Alberto Burri (Città di Castello 1915 – Nice 1995) and Ettore Colla (Parma 1896 – Rome 1968).

Biographies Giuseppe Capogrossi
Giuseppe Capogrossi and Alberto Burri 

Inevitably, his international consecration arrives: in 1950 he was invited by Tapie to the Véhémences Confrontées exhibition at the Nina Dausset gallery in Paris, with artists who today represent the top of the world of art like

Biographies Giuseppe Capogrossi
Giuseppe Capogrossi and Jackson Pollock in Paris

Jackson Pollock (Cody 1912 – Long Island 1956) and Willem De Kooning (Rotterdam 1904 – New York 1997).

A few years later he joined the Milanese Spatial Movement together with, among others, Lucio Fontana (Rosario 1899 – Comabbio 1968), Agostino Bonalumi (Vimercate 1935 – Desio 2013) and Roberto Crippa Monza 1921 – Bresso 1972)

Biographies Giuseppe Capogrossi
Capogrossi e Bonalumi
Spatial Movement

At the heart of his artistic work, in some of his paintings he manages to obtain an optical effect where, between the white and black mark, a red stripe emerges as the true radiant focus of the image.

In the 60’s he produced some very rare works called Rilievi  “Relieves”; one of the most important was presented in Venice in 1966 at the Cavallino Gallery.

Through a precious work of superimposing various materials, including cork, he managed to give to these masterpieces a poetic two-dimensionality.

Today we celebrate this great Roman artist of the 1900s.