Elementos de fachada (Dec. 1960), 1960
signed verso A. Volpi
gouache on canvas
33 7/8 x 23 5/8 in. (86 x 60 cm.)
to speak with an
expert or to request a viewing
Galeria Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro.
Private Collection, Rio de Janeiro.
Self-taught Alfredo Volpi was born in Lucca, Italy, but spent the majority of his life and career in Brazil. In the 1930s, he helped to establish the Grupo Santa Helena in partnership with artists including Francisco Rebolo, Mario Zanini, Fulvio Pennacchi and others. This collective of mainly Italian immigrants served as informal society of humble artisans and laborers – among them, an auto mechanic, a football player and a railroad worker – who enjoyed painting during leisure hours but worked outside the restrictions of a formal academic education. Despite the prejudice that existed against these ‘outsiders’, they began exhibiting publically in 1937. Volpi, who had in his early years painted in an Expressionist-inflected manner, moved away from representation to geometric abstraction and abandoned oils in favor of tempera as a medium, reflecting an awareness of Italian Renaissance painters. Volpi won the Grand Prix for Brazilian painting at the second São Paulo Bienal in 1953.