The Alphabet of Art & Antiques – Italian style! M is for…

The 2023 San Francisco Fall Show will celebrate La Dolce Vita – the quintessentially Italian approach to the “good life”. We will indulge in the pure pleasure of appreciating and collecting art, antiques and design. From Botticelli to Bertoia, from Fellini to Fornasetti, from Schiaparelli to Sottsass, La Dolce Vita is all about poetic beauty, breathtaking art, groundbreaking design, exuberant colors and refined materials. We’re breaking it down alphabetically… M is for:

Carlo Mollino (1905 – 1973)

Carlo Mollino was a prolific and enigmatic Italian architect, designer, and photographer, whose work left an indelible mark on the fields of architecture and design in the 20th century. Known for his innovative and avant-garde designs, Mollino’s creations were a unique blend of functionality and artistic expression. He defied convention, pushing the boundaries of design with his eclectic and imaginative approach. Mollino’s furniture designs, characterized by their sensual and sculptural forms, have become iconic pieces of mid-century modern design. Beyond his design work, Mollino was a passionate skier, race car driver, and photographer, showcasing his multifaceted talents.

Tea Table by Carlo Mollino, circa 1949. Image via The Brooklyn Museum.

Marisa Merz (1926 – 2019)

Marisa Merz was an Italian artist celebrated for her pioneering contributions to the Arte Povera movement and her influential role in the realm of contemporary art. As one of the few female artists associated with Arte Povera, Merz challenged traditional gender roles in the art world and made an indelible mark with her innovative and poetic creations. She was renowned for her use of unconventional materials like copper wire and aluminum, crafting delicate and intricate sculptures that blurred the lines between fine art and craft. Merz’s work often explored themes of domesticity, femininity, and personal introspection, inviting viewers to contemplate the intersection of art and life. Her ethereal and evocative installations continue to captivate audiences, reflecting her enduring impact on the art world and her commitment to pushing artistic boundaries.

1975 sculpture by Marisa Merz. Photograph: Renato Ghiazza/Fondazione Merz.

Michelangelo (1475 – 1564)

Michelangelo Buonarroti often referred to simply as Michelangelo, stands as one of the greatest artists in history. A true Renaissance polymath, he excelled not only as a sculptor but also as a painter, architect, and poet. His masterpieces include the renowned statue of David, the awe-inspiring frescoes in the Sistine Chapel ceiling (below), and the design for St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome in Vatican City. Michelangelo’s work is characterized by its exceptional skill, meticulous attention to detail, and a profound sense of human anatomy and emotion. His artistic genius reshaped the course of Western art, influencing generations of artists and leaving an enduring legacy that continues to inspire and captivate art enthusiasts worldwide.

Giorgio Morandi (1890 – 1964)

Giorgio Morandi was an Italian painter and. His work is renowned for its subtle, contemplative nature, focusing on simple objects like bottles, vases, and everyday items. Morandi’s mastery lay in his ability to imbue these ordinary subjects with profound depth and a sense of timelessness through his meticulous attention to composition, color, and light. His unique artistic vision, marked by a limited and subdued color palette, created a serene and meditative atmosphere in his paintings. Morandi’s oeuvre reflects a dedication to the pursuit of artistic purity and a deep fascination with the interplay between form and space.

Still Life by Giorgio Morandi, 1942. Photo: FONDAZIONE MAGNANI-ROCCA ©DACS 2022

Amedeo Modigliani (1884 – 1920)

Known for his elegant and elongated portraits, painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani’s work is characterized by sensuous, stylized figures with elongated necks and almond-shaped eyes, reflecting influences from African and ancient art. His bohemian lifestyle in early 20th-century Paris, where he associated with prominent artists and writers, added to the allure of his enigmatic persona. Despite a short and tumultuous life marked by poverty and health issues, Modigliani’s contributions to art are celebrated for their timeless elegance and unique portrayal of the human form.