Salvo - New Now Hong Kong Friday, March 29, 2024 | Phillips
  • “For me painting soon acquired a relation with reality, though always filtered by memory ... At the same time it’s as though everything I paint now were a self-portrait, as though it contained me, my history, my body, and so there is no longer any need to depict myself directly.”
    — Salvo


    In the present lot Agosto, Salvo once again transports us into the essence of the Italian landscape, a subject that he cherished and returned to throughout his career. This piece encapsulates the perpetual interaction of light and shadow, colour and form, that defines Salvo's later works. Drawing from the well of his Sicilian roots, the painting presents a scene distilled from the August warmth, a month deeply engrained in the Mediterranean soul. In this work, the interplay of light and shadow is not just a depiction of a specific time of day but a broader meditation on time itself. The painting, much like others named after seasons or times, captures the ephemeral nature of memory. The rich, warm hues that dominate the canvas evoke the languid heat of an Italian August, a time when the sun seems to stretch moments into infinity.


    Detail of the present lot


    Agosto stands as a testament to Salvo's unique position in the art world of his time. The painting's stylised trees and house, heavy with colour, betray a conceptual depth that belies their apparent simplicity. His work channels the surreal landscapes of Giorgio de Chirico, the dynamism of Carlo Carrà, and even the spatial narratives of the Renaissance master Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Yet, Salvo's voice remains distinct, carving out a place that neither fully adheres to nor completely rejects the movements that swirled around him.


    Born Salvatore Mangione in Leonforte, Salvo's early encounters with Arte Povera and the conceptual giants of Turin—Sol LeWitt, Robert Barry and Joseph Kosuth—imbued in him a profound understanding of artistic philosophy that would underpin his entire body of work. Yet, it was in 1973 that Salvo's journey took a decisive turn, as he re-embraced painting with a new fervour. This return did not signify a departure from his conceptual roots, but rather an evolution, as he wove the threads of avant-garde thought into the rich tapestry of his painterly expression.


    The era from 1980 to 2011 saw Salvo refining his visual language, creating landscapes that were at once vibrant and contemplative. The hyper-saturated colours and rounded shapes, as seen in the present lot are hallmarks of his style, which stood in contrast to the prevailing aesthetics of the 1980s. Salvo's landscapes are more than mere representations; they are nuanced explorations of place and time, where imagined spaces become as real as any physical location.


    “Painting has to remember all the sunsets of a life and all the sunsets of the world.”
    — Salvo


    Salvo's landscapes invite the viewer to step into a world where time slows, where the psychological landscape is as important as the physical. In this work, the absence of human figures is noteworthy, a characteristic feature of Salvo's work that allows the place itself to become the central protagonist. The landscape speaks of the quietude and introspection that August bestows upon the land, an atmosphere that is almost palpable in the thick, textured application of paint.


    Through Agosto, Salvo continues to engage us in a dialogue that transcends time and place. The painting is a window into Salvo's enduring muse: the Italian landscape, ever-changing yet timeless, a canvas on which the artist masterfully plays with the concepts of memory and the passage of time. Salvo's work remains an intimate invitation into the depths of introspection, a journey into the infinite landscapes of the heart and mind.

    • Provenance

      Private Collection, Milan
      Dep Art Gallery, Milan
      Acquired from the above by the present owner



signed and titled '"Agosto" Salvo' on the reverse
oil on canvas
70.8 x 50.6 cm. (27 7/8 x 19 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2009, this work is registered in the Archivio Salvo under the number S2009-81 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Archivio Salvo, Turin.

Full Cataloguing

HK$400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for HK$1,079,500

Contact Specialist

Angela Tian
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
20th Century & Contemporary Art, Hong Kong
+852 2318 2058

New Now

Hong Kong Auction 29 March 2024