Capogrossi. A Retrospective

Capogrossi. A retrospective
Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero

With CAPOGROSSI. A Retrospective, curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection pays tribute to a major figure in the first generation of post war artists who, with his painting Surface 210 (1957), has been represented in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation since 1958. This exhaustive retrospective explores Capogrossi’s unique contribution to 20th-century art, tracing the evolution of his signature abstract style of grandiose orchestrations of mark and color, and its numerous variations over the subsequent decades. With his endlessly inventive deployment of his fork-like symbol, Capogrossi became synonymous with the Italian boom of the 50s and 60s, a period of optimism and rapid economic expansion.


With the collaboration of the Fondazione Archivio Capogrossi, Rome, and with the patronage of the President of the Italian Republic and of the Italian Ministry of Culture, this long overdue retrospective brings together over seventy of the artist’s paintings and drawings, covering the span of his career. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is grateful to lenders public and private who have contributed works to the exhibition, notably the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, which made available an important core of major works, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (MART) of Rovereto and Trento, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Turin and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

The exhibition is accompanied by a substantial monograph edited by Luca Massimo Barbero, and published by Marsilio Editori. Commissioned in collaboration with the Fondazione Archivio Capogrossi, eleven essays cover all aspects of his career from his beginnings in the 1930s through to his international recognition in the 50s and 60s, his exhibitions, and his relations with national and international critics.

Capogrossi catalogue The exhibition catalogue is available at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection shops at the price of 40 euros

Sole di mezzanotte   Superficie 56   Superficie 636
Giuseppe Capogrossi
Midnight Sun (Sole di mezzanotte), 1952
Oil and tempera on canvas
98,5 x 66 cm
Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia
  Giuseppe Capogrossi
Surface 56 (Superficie 56), 1950-52
Mixed media on lined paper
98 x 69 cm
T. F. collection, Rome
  Giuseppe Capogrossi
Surface 636 (Superficie 636), 1950
Oil on canvas, 100 x 70 cm
Collection the heirs of Capogrossi, Padua

capogrossi anni '50   capogrossi 1961   capogrossi 1966 circa
Giuseppe Capogrossi
late 50s
  Giuseppe Capogrossi
  Giuseppe Capogrossi
ca. 1966

Capogrossi: the Internationality of Italian Abstraction
Peggy Guggenheim Collection | September 22, 11 a.m.

Museum members have free participation; for non-members the lecture is included in the entrance ticket. For further information: 041.2405440/412

This lecture retraces the history of Italian and international art and society in the years in which Capogrossi not only invented and developed his "sign", but became one of the most representative artists of his time. A conversation between three speakers. Curator Luca Massimo Barbero opens by discussing the "Capogrossi case", the scandal of 1950, surrounding the show in which, for the first time, the artist presented the sign that would characterize his art worldwide over the next two decades. Giorgina Bertolino, art historian and scholar of 1950s abstract art movements, will discuss how the foreign critics were dazzled by the sign capogrossiano, and speak of the artist’s relation with Michel Tapié and the artists of the contemporary avant-garde in the 1950s with whom he exhibited, from Jackson Pollock to Sam Francis and Georges Mathieu. Last but not least, in a speech uniting art, costumes, fashion, and taste of the epoch, Maria Luisa Frisa, fashion historian, will speak about the forefront of fashion in the 1950s and 60s and how Capogrossi's sign became a visual, almost decorative, pattern.

Lecture made possible by Fondazione Araldi Guinetti, Vaduz.
credits: Hangar Design Group