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Alfredo Volpi Show all photos
Alfredo Volpi Show all photos
Alfredo Volpi Show all photos
Alfredo Volpi Show all photos
Alfredo Volpi Show all photos
Alfredo Volpi Show all photos
Alfredo Volpi Show all photos
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Alfredo Volpi:

Lucca-São Paulo, 1896-1988

From 16 March to 9 June 2024

Pecci Centre

Pecci Centre

Viale della Repubblica, 277, Prato

Closed today: open tomorrow at 10:00

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The Luigi Pecci Center for Contemporary Art presents the first Alfredo Volpi retrospective in an Italian institution. The exhibition reconstructs the long and prolific production of the Brazilian modernist painter, born in Lucca in 1896, presenting a vast selection of his pictorial repertoire together with a series of documents that attest to his artistic career and the central role he had in twentieth-century Brazilian art .

The exhibition Alfredo Volpi (Lucca-São Paulo , 1896-1988) presents for the first time in Italy more than 70 works that testify to the salient moments of the artist's career, from the first tempera paintings of the 1940s to the best-known works of the 1970s . During his life Volpi presented his paintings in Italy several times: in 1963 the Brazilian Embassy in Rome hosted a solo exhibition of his, followed the following year by inclusion in the Venice Biennale. Alfredo Volpi: Lucca-São Paulo, 1896-1988 is the first retrospective dedicated by an Italian institution to one of the protagonists of Brazilian and international art of the last century. The exhibition, curated by Cristiano Raimondi with the assistance of Daniel Donato Ribeiro , takes place on the 150th anniversary of the beginning of Italian immigration to Brazil , in the same region where Alfredo Volpi was born and was forced to leave.


In 1898 Alfredo Volpi (1896-1988) emigrated with his family from Tuscany to São Paulo. In the same period, between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, almost three million Italian immigrants arrived in Brazil. In the 1910s Volpi began working as a decorative painter for private commissions, an occupation he maintained until the mid-1930s. At the same time, he began to self-taught paint his first oil canvases, an activity which he continued until the end of his career in the mid-1980s. His first plein-air paintings already show a careful observation of daily life in the suburbs of São Paulo, a continuous source of inspiration for their popular culture, natural landscapes and urban views. Despite the great success achieved in the last three decades of his life, Volpi remained reserved and focused on his work.

Starting from the 1940s, he began to experiment with the tempera technique, increasingly making the movement of the brushstroke a visible and constitutive element of the painting. His treatment of the flat surface became more structured: the volumes flattened, the color spread in thin and transparent layers took on absolute value. Despite his self-taught training, Volpi revealed that he had absorbed the lessons of the Italian twentieth century and international research: among his references, Carlo Carrà, Giorgio Morandi, Henri Matisse and Paul Cèzanne. Then, in 1950, during a trip to Italy, Volpi discovered the works of Margheritone d'Arezzo, Giotto and Paolo Uccello, which inspired him to have suspended and crystalline spatial solutions, as if devoid of gravity. Particularly during his "concrete" phase at the end of the 1950s, Volpi transformed the urban views typical of his production into geometric syntax, developing throughout the 1960s and 1970s a unique synthesis between tradition, modernity and popular motifs. His famous flags, festive banners of the popular neighborhoods of São Paulo, thus become a pure geometric motif that allows Volpi to create infinite chromatic and compositional variations on the same subject.

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