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Abstraction In 20th Century

Italian Photography

November 2017–January 2018

Elio Luxardo, F.T. Marinetti, ​1930. Abstract portrait featuring a man with a mustache in a tuxedo and a distortion with concentric circles.

1. Elio Luxardo, F.T. Marinetti, 1930

Italo Bertoglio, Le case di fronte, c. 1937. Diagonally composed rows of soldiers in helmets photographed from behind.

2. Italo Bertoglio, Le case di frontec. 1937

Luigi Veronesi, Fotogramma, 1936/1977. Abstract composition featuring two overlapping sets of concentric circles and two straight lines.

3. Luigi Veronesi, Fotogramma1936/1977

Luciano d'Alessandro, Mauthausen: Il Dormitorio, ​c. 1960. A dark hall with windows along the left casting light onto the floor on the right.

4. Luciano d'Alessandro, Mauthausen: Il Dormitorioc. 1960

Alberto Galducci, Untitled, ​1952. Detail of an arched bridge and its reflection on a still body of water.

5. Alberto Galducci, Untitled, 1952

Aldo Spadoni, La Bianca Parete, ​1954. A young child in profile stands in the lower left of the frame. A man looks over a balcony on the upper left.

6. Aldo Spadoni, La Bianca Parete1954

Vittorio Ronconi, Camogli - Le sue case, ​c. 1960. Dark scene looking up at columns of windows of an apartment building. A laundry line hangs across the upper right holding white fabric.

7. Vittorio Ronconi, Camogli - Le sue casec. 1960

Franco Grignani, Ritmi, ​1967. Abstract composition of overlapping sets of concentric white rings on a black background.

8. Franco Grignani, Ritmi1967

Giuseppe Goffis, Messaggio Per Ursula (Bussana Vecchia), ​1961. Detail of an abstractly painted wall with a note tacked in the upper left of the composition that reads "To Ursula J. (If she should come...)"

9. Giuseppe Goffis, Messaggio Per Ursula (Bussana Vecchia)1961

Ezio Quiresi, Parigi - Canne Fumarie, ​1965. Abstract composition featuring vertical bent black lines and various rectangle shapes.

10. Ezio Quiresi, Parigi - Canne Fumarie1965

Vittorio Ronconi, Migrazione, ​c. 1960. Abstract dark composition filled with backlit hooded figures.

11. Vittorio Ronconi, Migrazionec. 1960

Ulisse Bezzi, In Preghiera, ​1970. Dark abstract profile of a hooded figure holding a small book.

12. Ulisse Bezzi, In Preghiera1970

Ferruccio Ferroni, Vapori Cromatici, ​1953. Detail of cracked earth.

13. Ferruccio Ferroni, Valori Cromatici1953

Tullio Stravisi, Il Temporale, ​1953. Reeds floating on a still body of water reflecting trees.

14. Tullio Stravisi, Il Temporale1953

Mario Giacomelli, On Being Aware of Nature, ​1954–2000. Abstract farmland landscape with linear patterns.

15. Mario Giacomelli, On Being Aware of Nature, 1954–2000

Augusto Cantamessa, Breve Orizzonte, ​c. 1955. Forced perspective with thin upward stalks in the foreground and two cyclists in the distance so that they appear miniature.

16. Augusto Cantamessa, Breve Orizzontec. 1955

Mario Giacomelli, Presa di conscienza sulla natura, 1976/1990. Abstract landscape divided into three sections: a striped triangle in the upper left, a white triangle in the lower left, and a black square section in the lower right.

17. Mario Giacomelli, Presa di conscienza sulla natura1976/1990

Emilio Sommariva, Untitled, ​n.d. Dark seascape with a cloudy sky. Sea is lower third of the frame, sky is upper two thirds.

18. Emilio Sommariva, Untitled, n.d.

Carlo Mantovani, Tricromia dalla Cavana, ​n.d. Abstract composition divided horizontally into thirds: Black, white, and gray sections with jagged edges.

19. Carlo Mantovani, Tricromia dalla Cavanan.d.

Stanislao Farri, Estate, ​1959. A woman smiles with eyes closed and one hand above her as water pours down onto her head.

20. Stanislao Farri, Estate1959

Stanislao Farri, Reggio Emilia, ​1959. Abstract silhouette of a humanoid figure blurred with motion against a white background.

21. Stanislao Farri, Reggio Emilia1959

Nino Migliori, Untitled, ​1954. A figure is reflected in the lower right on a frosty pane of glass.

22. Nino Migliori, Untitled, 1954

Vittorio Ronconi, Il Lancio, ​c. 1959. A group of figures on a beach, blurred with motion as they toss one figure into the air.

23. Vittorio Ronconi, Il Lancioc. 1959

Pietro Donzelli, Flood in Polesine, ​1960. Three figures on a seaside road ride bicycles from right to left across the horizontal frame.

24. Pietro Donzelli, Flood in Polesine, 1960

Mario Cresci, Untitled, ​1979. A figure's head, blurred with motion, and shoulders are in the center foreground of a small bedroom with a bed against the right wall and chairs along the left and rear walls.

25. Mario Cresci, Untitled, 1979

Pino Dal Gal, Capo Testa (Sardinia), ​1977. Abstracted nude torso photographed from behind against a stone landscape.

26. Pino Dal Gal, Capo Testa (Sardinia)1977

Mario Finazzi, Studio No. 21, ​1950. Abstract solarized nude female torso extending from the right of the frame.

27. Mario Finazzi, Studio No. 21, 1950

Mario Perotti, Untitled, ​c. 1935. Right side of a seated nude female torso.

28. Mario Perotti, Untitled, c. 1935

Luigi Ghirri, Untitled, ​1976. Color photograph of a blue wall with two concentric squares in the center. The innermost shows the left arm, upper back, and head of a nude figure facing away, reaching upward to their hair.

29. Luigi Ghirri, Untitled, 1976

Giuseppe Goffis, Mexican Fiesta, ​c. 1960. Color photograph of a female torso in traditional dress with skirt splayed out, blurred with motion from dancing.

30. Giuseppe Goffis, Mexican Fiesta, c. 1960

Riccardo Moncalvo, Alla Mostra, ​1954. Color photograph. Two figures in white heels and tea-length skirts can be seen in the lower half of the frame, their upper bodies obscured by a wall with two photographs on it.

31. Riccardo Moncalvo, Alla Mostra1954

Franco Fontana, Untitled, ​1975. Abstracted color scene divided into three rectangles: the largest, a grayish purple, fills the majority of the frame, while the lower third is divided into two color fields of deep purple and yellow.

32. Franco Fontana, Untitled, 1975

Enrico Cattaneo, Paesaggio, ​2000. Abstract color composition composed of soft blue-green horizontal strokes.

33. Enrico Cattaneo, Paesaggio2000

Alberto Galducci, Architettura, c. 1952. Detail of a building with a barred window in the lower left of the frame. Diagonal, geometric composition with dramatic light and shadow.

34. Alberto Galducci, Architetturac. 1952

Alberto Galducci, Untitled, ​n.d. Rooftop with tall, thin smokestack protruding upward to divide the frame vertically.

35. Alberto Galducci, Untitled, n.d.

Press Release

Keith de Lellis Gallery presents a group exhibition of Italian photographers that experimented with abstraction in the twentieth century. Featuring works by Mario Giacomelli, Luigi Veronesi, Pino Dal Gal, Augusto Cantamessa, and more, this exhibition explores the various ways these artists approached the creation of abstract imagery using the photographic medium.


From curving natural forms to rigid architecture, bodies in motion to static objects, the subjects of these photographs can be found in all aspects of life, whether arranged by the artist or captured as found.


These images have been manipulated to the point of abstraction physically, as with Giacomelli’s landscapes, in the darkroom, as with Veronesi’s photograms, or simply through careful composition, lighting, and timing of the exposure. In some cases, the photographic material is itself the subject, with no camera involved at all. Enrico Cattaneo created artificial landscapes on light-sensitive paper using only chemistry and light.

Featured artists: Elio Luxardo, Pino Dal Gal, Mario Cresci, Giuseppe Goffis, Mario Giacomelli, Pietro Donzelli, Vittorio Ronconi, Franco Grignani, Franco Fontana, Mario Perotti, Alberto Galducci, Carlo Mantovani, Riccardo Moncalvo, Luigi Ghirri, Nino Migliori, Luigi Veronesi, Carlo Monari, Italo Bertoglio, Emilio Sommariva, Ferruccio Ferroni, Augusto Cantamessa, Tullio Stravisi, Ulisse Bezzi, Enrico Cattaneo, Mario Finazzi, Stanislao Farri, and Aldo Spadoni.


This exhibition will be on view at the Keith de Lellis Gallery through January 13, 2018.