Alberto Magnelli was born in Florence in 1888. In 1907 he started painting and, despite lacking formal art education, by 1909 he was established enough to be included in the Venice Biennale. His initial works were in a Fauvist style. Magnelli joined the Florentine avant-garde befriending artists including Ardengo Soffici and Gino Severini. He also visited Paris where he met Guillaume Apollinaire and the Cubists including Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, and Alexander Archipenko. By 1915 he had adopted an abstract style incorporating cubist and futurist elements.
Over the next few years Magnelli returned to figurative work and drifted away from the Italian avant-garde, which was becoming more supportive of Fascism, which he opposed. By 1931 he had returned to abstraction in the form of concrete artfeaturing geometric shapes and overlapping planes. He moved to Paris, where he joined the Abstraction-Création groupand became friends with Wassily Kandinsky, Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber. Following the invasion of France by the Nazis, Magnelli and his future wife, Susi Gerson, went to live in Grasse with several other artists including the Arps. Some of the group, including Gerson, were Jewish so they were forced to hide. Despite this, the group was able to produce a number of collaborative works.
Following the Second World War, Magnelli returned to Paris which was to be his home for the rest of his life. He became a major figure in the post war concrete art movement and influenced artists suchas Victor Vasarely, Nicolas de Staël as well as the concrete artists in South America such as Hélio Oiticica. He again exhibited at the Venice Biennale, this time with a whole room. Major galleries organized retrospectives of his work.
Crayon drawing on vellum
8 x 10.5 inches
Signed and dated lower left
Untitled (Fond Noir) from L’Album de la Ferrage
Linocut on handmade paper
17.5 x 25 inches (sheet)
Publisher, XXe Siècle, Paris and Léon Ameil, New York, NY
Printer, Hidalgo Arnéra, Vallauris
Catalogue raisonné, Abadie 51
Edition of 70 (one of 20 hors commerce impressions)
Signed and numbered in pencil