Skip to Content

New Directions in the Second Half of the 20th Century

In the last part of the artistic period between the two wars there was increasing evidence of movements that not only reject the “autarkical” cultural lines of Novecentism but departs from them ever more radically.
The scope of the cultural references stretches beyond the central line of modern French art and beyond the, albeit original, expressions rooted, as was the case for the Roman School, in local realities and moods. They now include experiences of international abstract art ¿ especially in Milan ¿ of Cubism, above all in the version of Pablo Picasso, and of German expressionism and realism of the 1920s and 1930s.
A decisive role in creating the cultural openings that would powerfully mark the postwar artistic context is played by artists born in the 1910s, who took their quests in every direction. They include Afro, Guttuso and Turcato, who precociously put themselves forward to animate the postwar context with their lively contrasts, together with some of the artists who were already present in the previous period and now contributed new proposals.
In this period Afo reveals an acute sensitivity to colour that is not without echoes of the Venetian tradition, while Guttuso reveals his vocation for a highly dramatic expression; Turcato gives his pictorial image an intense and essential structure, while Burri starts out on his precocious informal solutions.
From Clerici to Tamburi to Gentilini, other proposals variously mould surreal, Cézannesque and expressionist suggestions and indicate how the range of artistic choices broadens in this period.
The last part of this period sees the emergence of the artists born in the early 1920s, some of whom exhibit features that would characterize their mature phases: from Vespignani to Sughi, who revive a form of realism marked by a critical view of society, and to Sadun and Scialoja, who ¿ especially the latter ¿ proceed with a quest for abstract forms loaded with existential tension.
Since, already during the war, “informal” tendencies are present in European art, in the first place the German Wols, who worked in France, it is understandable why not only an artist born in the 1910s, such as Burri, but also some younger Italian artists with different orientations (e.g. Vespignani and Scialoja) precociously reveal aspects of informal art.
Albeit within the limits of a collection that is enlarged with new works and new expressions of the artistic debate whenever opportunities arise, the present tour also offers a diversified view of a promising moment for Italian art. A moment that acquires substance in a period of our history ¿ we are now towards the end of the 1930s and in the first dramatic years of the Second World War ¿ to which the artists respond with a high level of expressive tension.

Antonio Del Guercio