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Untitled is one of the earliest and most distinctive examples of Nivola’s playful and imaginative visual iconography. Comprising hybrid figures, such as what appear to be animals’ heads on abstracted human bodies in the three characters starting from the left-hand side of the work, and a color palette consisting primarily of pastel green, orange, yellow, and cream, this sandcast plaster is full of narrative potential. There is a clear interest in scale, as the artist included a range of differently proportioned figures in this landscape. There are also several instances in which the artist incorporates iconography specific to his native Sardinia, such as the goat-like figure that stands on top of the light-yellow base in the center of the panel, suckling her kid. The strong graphic outline of the design recalls the artist’s plaster sgraffito works, made by scratching into plaster before it dried. This lively work serves as a reminder of what characterized this early moment in Nivola’s artistic career: experimentation, exploration, and whimsical fun.

Details

  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: Costantino Nivola
  • Creator Lifespan: 1911/1988
  • Date Created: 1952, 1952/1953
  • Physical Dimensions: 36 x 66 in.
  • Rights: Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY, gift of Sarah J. Lewis in memory of William B. Lewis
  • Medium: Polychromed sandcast plaster (positive relief)

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