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Lot No. 120


Arturo Martini-EN


(Treviso 1889–1947 Milan)
Pietà, 1941, signed, Carrara marble, 65 x 57 x 30 cm

Provenance:
Scarpa Collection, Venice
European Private Collection

Exhibited:
Treviso, Arturo Martini, Ex Tempio di Santa Caterina, 10 September -
12 November 1967, exh. cat. no. 169
Venice, Arturo Martini. Opere degli anni Quaranta, Galleria della Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa, 10 June - 5 August 1989, no. 12, pp. 66 and 140 with ill.
Carrara, IX Biennale Internazionale di Scultura Città di Carrara, 25 July -
27 September 1998, exh. cat. no. 12, pp. 62 and 64 with ill.

Literature:
G. Perocco, Arturo Martini. Catalogo delle sculture e delle ceramiche, Treviso 1966, no. 479
A. Martini, Le Lettere 1909–1947, 1967, pp. 345–346 and 1992, p. 209
M. Apa, Arturo Martini per il Centenario della nascita 1889–1989, in “Informazioni UCAI”, 16 May 1990, p. 12
N. Stringa, Arturo Martini e Carrara. Pensieri nel marmo, in E. Crispolti,
LM. Barbero, IX Biennale..., 1998, p. 39
G. Vianello, N. Stringa, C. Gian Ferrari, Arturo Martini. Catalogo ragionato delle sculture, Neri Pozza, Vicenza 1998, p. 354, no. 528 with ill. b/w ill.

Note:
The work is in Italy and does not have an export licence.

Over the course of his brief life (he died in 1947 at 58 years old), Arturo Martini was recognised by many artists and writers, as well as by some critics, as the most important, if not the only true Italian sculptor of the era. However, due to a combination of historical and personal circumstances, he was unable to establish himself beyond the borders of his homeland.
In 1941 the sculptor developed an important epistolary relationship with Monsignor Giovanni Fallani, and right away an opportunity emerged to place a Deposition in a church in Rome. This did not come to pass, but Martini was encouraged to linger on both the relationship between art and religion, to which he dedicated a series of theoretical reflections, as well as the specific subject, which from that moment reoccurred regularly in his work. The present work in marble is possibly his first piece on the subject: executed at Carrara in 1941-1942, it is decisively inspired by Primitivism. The marble appears as if sculpted by an axe, in an attempt to technically recall “depositions” in mediaeval wood carvings.

“Martini is a classical man, he cannot conceive of form without a human purpose. He narrates because he sees man as a story: love, maternalism, sex, madness, heroism, suffering, dreams or happiness. He is unable to even see or develop even one of these aspects, creating a style that would become his signature, as did Lehmbruck and Giacometti in different epochs. It is this classicism, anchored in the figurative experience of typically Italian art such as sculpture which renders Martini a unique phenomenon and almost anachronistic within the art of this century. His rejection of the “originality” of the avant-garde is a conscious rejection, and his final achievement of surrealist, non-figurative forms emerges only from the dramatic personal experience of one who has explored every avenue of expression”.
Paolo Baldacci

Martini was not the only one to struggle with the human and religious tension which, chisel-stroke by chisel-stroke, he would free from the block of marble in which he felt it was imprisoned: the most obvious and illustrious influence can be found in the chisel of Michelangelo Buonarroti, an innovator as much driven towards Renaissance modernity as tied to the past, and held up as the most important source of inspiration. The Italian iconography of the Pietà is likely borrowed from an ingenious blend of the iconographical representations of the Lament – of Byzantine origin – and of the Madonna of Humility. However it is in Germany, at the start of the fourteenth century, that this scheme of composition materialises in sculpture for the first time. After Florence, the next most important source of Renaissance appropriation of the Vesperbild is Venice, which has always been open to Northern influences and presence, and which, centuries later, was the place of Vicenza native Arturo Martini’s training.
Martini’s work is almost anachronistic in its modernity; the clear, ascetic scheme constructed along lines of elemental force betrays his deep understanding of Northern mediaeval art, in which the quality of the work is directly comparable to the final, devoted obsession of the dying Michelangelo: his third Pietà, the Rondanini Pietà, was called into question by the sculptor, and re-hewn over and over again during the most desperate days of his life.

The creative exuberance, the need to preserve everything that is spontaneous, natural, and primitive, the child’s charm and the game which lend the work the “ease” that renders it classical, represent both the quality and the difficulty inherent in Martini’s art.

28.11.2018 - 17:00

Estimate:
EUR 250,000.- to EUR 350,000.-

Arturo Martini-EN


(Treviso 1889–1947 Milan)
Pietà, 1941, signed, Carrara marble, 65 x 57 x 30 cm

Provenance:
Scarpa Collection, Venice
European Private Collection

Exhibited:
Treviso, Arturo Martini, Ex Tempio di Santa Caterina, 10 September -
12 November 1967, exh. cat. no. 169
Venice, Arturo Martini. Opere degli anni Quaranta, Galleria della Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa, 10 June - 5 August 1989, no. 12, pp. 66 and 140 with ill.
Carrara, IX Biennale Internazionale di Scultura Città di Carrara, 25 July -
27 September 1998, exh. cat. no. 12, pp. 62 and 64 with ill.

Literature:
G. Perocco, Arturo Martini. Catalogo delle sculture e delle ceramiche, Treviso 1966, no. 479
A. Martini, Le Lettere 1909–1947, 1967, pp. 345–346 and 1992, p. 209
M. Apa, Arturo Martini per il Centenario della nascita 1889–1989, in “Informazioni UCAI”, 16 May 1990, p. 12
N. Stringa, Arturo Martini e Carrara. Pensieri nel marmo, in E. Crispolti,
LM. Barbero, IX Biennale..., 1998, p. 39
G. Vianello, N. Stringa, C. Gian Ferrari, Arturo Martini. Catalogo ragionato delle sculture, Neri Pozza, Vicenza 1998, p. 354, no. 528 with ill. b/w ill.

Note:
The work is in Italy and does not have an export licence.

Over the course of his brief life (he died in 1947 at 58 years old), Arturo Martini was recognised by many artists and writers, as well as by some critics, as the most important, if not the only true Italian sculptor of the era. However, due to a combination of historical and personal circumstances, he was unable to establish himself beyond the borders of his homeland.
In 1941 the sculptor developed an important epistolary relationship with Monsignor Giovanni Fallani, and right away an opportunity emerged to place a Deposition in a church in Rome. This did not come to pass, but Martini was encouraged to linger on both the relationship between art and religion, to which he dedicated a series of theoretical reflections, as well as the specific subject, which from that moment reoccurred regularly in his work. The present work in marble is possibly his first piece on the subject: executed at Carrara in 1941-1942, it is decisively inspired by Primitivism. The marble appears as if sculpted by an axe, in an attempt to technically recall “depositions” in mediaeval wood carvings.

“Martini is a classical man, he cannot conceive of form without a human purpose. He narrates because he sees man as a story: love, maternalism, sex, madness, heroism, suffering, dreams or happiness. He is unable to even see or develop even one of these aspects, creating a style that would become his signature, as did Lehmbruck and Giacometti in different epochs. It is this classicism, anchored in the figurative experience of typically Italian art such as sculpture which renders Martini a unique phenomenon and almost anachronistic within the art of this century. His rejection of the “originality” of the avant-garde is a conscious rejection, and his final achievement of surrealist, non-figurative forms emerges only from the dramatic personal experience of one who has explored every avenue of expression”.
Paolo Baldacci

Martini was not the only one to struggle with the human and religious tension which, chisel-stroke by chisel-stroke, he would free from the block of marble in which he felt it was imprisoned: the most obvious and illustrious influence can be found in the chisel of Michelangelo Buonarroti, an innovator as much driven towards Renaissance modernity as tied to the past, and held up as the most important source of inspiration. The Italian iconography of the Pietà is likely borrowed from an ingenious blend of the iconographical representations of the Lament – of Byzantine origin – and of the Madonna of Humility. However it is in Germany, at the start of the fourteenth century, that this scheme of composition materialises in sculpture for the first time. After Florence, the next most important source of Renaissance appropriation of the Vesperbild is Venice, which has always been open to Northern influences and presence, and which, centuries later, was the place of Vicenza native Arturo Martini’s training.
Martini’s work is almost anachronistic in its modernity; the clear, ascetic scheme constructed along lines of elemental force betrays his deep understanding of Northern mediaeval art, in which the quality of the work is directly comparable to the final, devoted obsession of the dying Michelangelo: his third Pietà, the Rondanini Pietà, was called into question by the sculptor, and re-hewn over and over again during the most desperate days of his life.

The creative exuberance, the need to preserve everything that is spontaneous, natural, and primitive, the child’s charm and the game which lend the work the “ease” that renders it classical, represent both the quality and the difficulty inherent in Martini’s art.


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Auction: Modern Art
Date: 28.11.2018 - 17:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 17.11. - 28.11.2018