Selections from the Sonnabend Collection
Wallach Art Gallery, 2001
8 x 10 1/2", 55 pp., 36 illus., 9 in color
ISBN 1-884919-11-1, Paper, $20
This catalogue shows important Arte Povera works from the Collection Sonnabend that have rarely been exhibited in New York before. It includes one work of each of the Arte Povera artists in the Sonnabend collection. The essay of Claire Gilman reexamines the Italian movement that Ileana Sonnabend was instrumental in bringing to the world's attention.
Ileana Sonnabend's pioneering efforts in the promotion and dissemination art have long been celebrated. Less known is Sonnabend's early and unceasing dedication to European art of the sixities and senventies, particularly to the art of Italy.
Late in 1962 Michael and Ileana Sonnabend opened the Galerie Ileana Sonnabend in Paris, where they exhibited the work of American artists but also the work of several young Italians, beginning with Mario Schifano (1963) and Michelangelo Pistoletto (1964). In addition to Pistoletto, Ileana Sonnabend showed the work of Giovanni Anselmo, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Giulio Paolini and Gilberto Zorio, both in Paris and in the New York gallery that she had opened in 1970. In this way, Sonnabend played a seminal role not only in introducing American art to Europe but also in bringing contemporary European art to America.
The "Arte Povera" was a group of twelve artists: Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Guiseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gilberto Zorio. They produced one of the most authentic and independent European artistic interventions of the late 1960s. Pitted in certain ways against the hegemony of American art, specifically that of minimalist sculpture, it was also an artistic movement that recuperated the contradictory legacy of Italian avant&garde culture from the beginning of the century as defined in the dialectics of Futurism and Giorgio De Chirico's Pittura Metafisica.