Project Description

Antonio Sanfilippo

Partanna (Trapani), 1923 - Rome, 1980



After graduating from the artistic high school in Palermo, he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo. The artist’s debut takes place in 1945-1946 and shows the influence of Picasso and neo-Cubism. In 1947, however, together with Carla Accardi (they will marry in 1949), he is one of the founders of the “Forma 1” group. He exhibited his works at the XXIV Venice Biennale in 1948 (he will also be in Venice in 1954 and 1964, and in 1966 with a personal room). In the same year he participates in the V Quadriennale in Rome (his work will also be exhibited at the VII Quadriennale, in 1955).

Thanks to the long periods spent in Paris, he approaches above all to the work of Magnelli, and subsequently to that of Hartung and Kandinskij, thus developing his very particular sign painting, similar to Tapié’s “Art Autre”. From 1950 onwards he moved away from concrete and cubist art and developed his own personal poetics based on the sign and informal art. In 1953-1954 the notion of sign becomes crucial for his work: “I only use graphic signs that I place on the surface with great immediacy and speed”.

Equally important for the artist is the concept of space, a space “to be filled, populated, thickened: with a horror vacui which is above all love for the original form”. His research continues and is expressed in galaxies of signs (mainly monochrome until 1963, and subsequently multicolored, with very bright tones). Although these “galaxies” are initially dense, it will become internationally known for the following ones, with more diffuse and rarefied signs. Since 1971 the artist has considerably limited his pictorial production and exhibition activity, devoting himself mainly to the creation of works on paper: pen, pencil and ink drawings. He died in a car accident in Rome on January 31, 1980, shortly before an important retrospective of his work at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome.