Salvo - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session New York Wednesday, November 15, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Writing of Salvo for Artforum, Marco Meneguzzo describes the late artist as someone who “never wanted to belong to any movement but who could have been a leader of the Transavanguardia—gifted us with infinite landscapes, foreshortened city views, places without people, almost all small scale, more or less as big as the square backdrops used by strolling balladeers who, for a few decades more, could still be seen in Sicily where he was born in 1947.”i Salvo’s enduring muse of the Italian landscape is exemplified in Prima Primavera, 1996, and can be seen across his oeuvre with paintings that compositionally rhyme, reflecting a townscape as it gradually changes over times of day, seasons and years. 


    Originally from Leonforte in Sicily, Salvo's artistic journey was profoundly shaped by his exposure to Arte Povera and interactions with influential figures such as Sol LeWitt, Robert Barry, and Joseph Kosuth during his developmental years in Turin. The pivotal year of 1973 marked Salvo's return to painting, which saw the artist skillfully blend the avant-garde conceptualism of his early practice with a vibrant, representational painterly aesthetic. Salvo stands as a singular figure of his time: his bright, heavily stylized paintings belie their conceptual consideration, all the while referencing painters like the Surrealist Giorgio de Chirico and Futurist Carlo Carrà. His condensed representation of space, vertical compositional build and bright palette even recall the work of Italian Renaissance master Ambrogio Lorenzetti. 


    Salvo's paintings from 1980 to 2011 are characterized by hyper-saturated landscapes with globulous compositional elements. His style defied the prevailing aesthetics of the 1980s, positioning him as an outlier even amongst the decade’s painting resurgence. Salvo’s works blend real and imagined spaces in a meditation on the psychology of place and abstract concepts like time. Prima Primavera, like many of his other works named after seasons, months and times of day, exemplifies his masterful use of light and vivid colors to translate the passage of time and memory.  



    i  Marco Meneguzzo, “Salvo (1947–2015)," Artforum, December 15, 2015, online.

    • Provenance

      De Vincentiis Collection, Rome
      Galleria d'Arte La Riva, Giulianova
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Caraglio, ex Convento dei Cappuccini, Salvo, July 4–August 31, 1999, pp. 80–81, 132 (illustrated, pp. 80–81)
      Perugia, Trevi Flash Art Museum, Salvo, April 12–May 31, 2003 (illustrated)

    • Literature

      Fabio De Vincentiis: collezione privata, Rome, 2006, no. 90 (illustrated)


Prima primavera

signed and titled "Salvo PRIMA PRIMAVERA" on the reverse
oil on Masonite
27 5/8 x 43 3/8 in. (70.2 x 110.2 cm)
Painted in 1996, this work is registered in the Archivio Salvo, Turin, under the number S1996-25 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Archivio Salvo, Turin.

Full Cataloguing

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $495,300

Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig 
Specialist, Head of Sale, Afternoon Session
+1 212 940 1279 

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale, Afternoon Session

New York Auction 15 November 2023