Ralph Rumney

An International Guest at Boschi Di Stefano House Museum

By Boschi Di Stefano House Museum

Ralph Rumney, Harry Shunk, 1950/1965, From the collection of: Boschi Di Stefano House Museum
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Rumney was one of the main members of the Situationist International (S.I.), a group that at the end of the 1950s has contributed to breaking the rules of art.

Composition (1957) by Ralph RumneyBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

He was born in Newcastle in 1934 and his art education began as a refugee in Cornwall, where he had the opportunity to join a small community of artists.

He meets Guy Debord in Paris and joins his International Lettrism group. The study of the European cultural world continues with a trip to Italy through Florence, Rome, Positano, Sicily and Venice.

Cover of "Other Voices" n.1, 1955, From the collection of: Boschi Di Stefano House Museum
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When he came back to London he decided to found the weekly magazine "Other Voices" that allowed artists to voice themselves freely and tell the reality of the fifties without censorship.

Corso Buenos Aires (Milano) in the 1950s, 1950s, From the collection of: Boschi Di Stefano House Museum
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The young Ralph Rumney arrived in Italy in 1951 and a few years later he moved to Milan.

External View of the Bar Jamaica, 1958/1970, From the collection of: Boschi Di Stefano House Museum
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Here he attends the most popular meeting places of artists, such as the Bar Jamaica, where he meets personalities like Enrico Baj, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and some important gallery owners.

Antiaesthetic Poster (1956) by Ralph Rumney, Mario Bionda, Costantino GuenziBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

In the city, other than organizing various exhibitions, in 1956 he signed the Antiaestethic Manifesto with the painters Mario Bionda and Costantino Guenzi: they announced the end of traditional art in favour of a more experiential and emotional vision of making art.

Composition (1957) by Ralph RumneyBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

In 1957 Marieda and Antonio Boschi Di Stefano bought four of his paintings. The presence of these canvases in the collection shows the attention to the novelties of the Boschi couple, who were true patrons for the young artist

The artworks show the maturation of his pictorial style open to experimental techniques that involve the use of newspaper on canvas, a tangible and material sign of contemporary society.

The group of Situationist International, 1957, From the collection of: Boschi Di Stefano House Museum
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One of the most significant events of Rumney's presence in Italy was his participation in the foundation of the Situationist International movement on 28 July 1957 in Cosio di Arroscia.

Pegeen Guggenheim while painting, 1957/1967, From the collection of: Boschi Di Stefano House Museum
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In the same year he meets Pegeen Guggenheim, daughter of the famous gallery owner Peggy Guggenheim, at an exhibition by Francis Bacon at the Hannover Gallery in London. She will become his wife in 1958.

Country of Birds (1957) by Ralph RumneyBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

The experience in the S.I. ended shortly after, when Guy Debord, with the release of the first issue of the official magazine of the group, announced the failure of his psychogeographical project in Venice..

Ralph Rumney with his Wife Pegeen Guggenheim, Harry Shunk, 1957/1967, From the collection of: Boschi Di Stefano House Museum
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After the 1960s, he was disenchanted with the art industry and began planning an institute to promote the interaction of artists with new discoveries in science and technology. This project was about to be realized when Pegeen killed herself in 1967.

Composition (1957) by Ralph RumneyBoschi Di Stefano House Museum

In the early 1970s Ralph Rumney married Guy Debord's ex-wife, Michèle Bernstein, and although they got divorced very soon, they remained very close by a strong friendship.

Ralph Rumney in the 1980s, 1980s, From the collection of: Boschi Di Stefano House Museum
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He is remembered as the "most alive and passionate" of the Situationists, and embodies that inflexible artistic action and intellectual curiosity that tries to go further than the traditional concept of art.
He died in Provence on March 6, 2002.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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