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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Milan (acquired directly from the artist)
    Thence by descent to the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Milan, Galleria del Naviglio, Paolo Scheggi, 9 - 28 January 1974 (illustrated)
    Bergamo, Galleria Elleni, Paolo Scheggi, May 1990

  • Literature

    Paolo Scheggi: La breve e intensa stagione di Paolo Scheggi, exh. cat., Galleria d’Arte Niccoli, Parma, 2002, p. 146 (illustrated)
    Luca Massimo Barbero, Paolo Scheggi, Catalogue raisonné, Milan, 2016, no. 63 T 12, p. 230 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Executed in 1963, Per una situazione is exemplary of Paolo Scheggi’s progressive multidisciplinary experimentations with spatiality and tonality. Belonging to the artist’s Per una situazione series, the creation of the present work directly follows a key year in Scheggi’s oeuvre, namely 1962 in which the artist firmly established his monotonal palette and held his pinnacle exhibition at Galleria Il Cancello, Milan, which was accompanied by a catalogue text written by his contemporary, Lucio Fontana, whom the artist had met earlier that year. With its overlapping black planes and graceful elliptical curves, Per una situazione marks a turning point in the artist’s body of work, the title aptly translating to ‘For a situation’. Inviting the viewer to explore the complex shadow play of the shaped layers, Scheggi’s deepening and extending of the two-dimensional picture plane suspends the viewer in a sublime moment of meditative reflection.

    Concerned with interweaving the viewer’s sensory experience with the curvilinear apertures which punctuate the surface of the canvas, Scheggi’s Per una situazione is charged with rhythmic dynamism and vitality. Masterfully superimposing three formed canvases into a single object, the artist creates a series of ovoid reliefs, casting light and shadow, stasis and movement throughout. Elegantly traversing traditional notions of painting and sculpture, Scheggi sought to question the polarisation of artwork and viewer, bringing both together in a hypnotic moment of vital engagement. Whereas Fontana’s slashed canvasses broke through the tense surface quality of his pristine canvasses, in the present work Scheggi’s geometric exploration results in a fleeting moment of natural phenomena, where the viewer is invited to explore the charcoal, black and grey tones cast through the curved formal relationships between the various stratums, which shift through the passing of light and perceptual movement. Influenced by the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre and the artworks of Piet Mondrian and Jean Arp, Per una situazione is imbued with an existential poetry, whereby the artist has looked to the celestial and organic shapes of nature and space to transport the viewer to a higher realm.

    A key member of the Italian Avant-Garde, Scheggi’s artistic practice shares key concerns with the innovative movement of Spatialism, whereby tone, dimensionality, form, light and time converge to create a new and progressive artistic dialogue. As seen in the work of his contemporaries, such as Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Enrico Castellani and Agostino Bonalumi, Scheggi creates a spatial spectacle where amorphous forms recede and protract from the two-dimensionality of the canvas. In Per una situazione, Scheggi’s application of a single black tonality creates a contemplative realm where the artist’s manipulation of dark and light are brought to the fore. Exhibited at Galleria del Naviglio, Milan, in 1974, the present work is an outstanding example of not only Scheggi’s artistic production, but also a culmination of the literary, architectural and philosophical context of post-war Europe, serving as a microcosm of a society rebuilding itself after the turmoil of the Second World War.


Per una situazione

signed, titled and dated 'Paolo Scheggi Merlini "Per una situazione" nero '63' on the reverse
black acrylic on three superimposed canvases
60 x 50 x 6.7 cm (23 5/8 x 19 5/8 x 2 5/8 in.)
Executed in 1963, this work is registered with the Associazione Paolo Scheggi, Milan, under number APSM 103/0006.

£120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for £125,000

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061 [email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2018