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Leonardo DELFINO (1928-2022) - Sculpture in black-tinted resin H : 44 cm Leonardo DELFINO Leonardo Delfino was born in Turin in 1928 into a traditional Italian family. His father was an artist himself, and his childhood was marked by the Mussolini era and the economic difficulties that forced the family to emigrate to Argentina in 1936. He was as brilliant as he was dissipated. Expelled from school at the age of 14, he prepared to enter the Buenos Aires School of Fine Arts on his own, graduating with flying colors... only to leave after a few months. Art interested him from an early age, and he was only 17 when he discovered a drawing by the Surrealist artist Jacques Hérold, with whom he would later work in Paris. His vocation led him to exploit his manual talents to make a living, and he built several workshops while following the teachings of an anarchist painter. Delfino was strongly influenced by realism and socialism, and found his models among street people. A self-taught artist with a passion for literature and poetry, he was a lifelong reader, admiring both the classics (Tolstoy, London, Nietzsche, Dante, etc.) and his contemporaries. His first love was drawing, and painting was his first training. His reputation grew thanks to exhibitions at the Rubbers gallery and his participation in cultural meetings with Romero Brest, the art critic who dominated Buenos Aires art life at the time. This was the time of fresco artists such as Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. He was not yet 25. His meeting with his future wife, Olga, transformed his life. Born into a Russian family, she was cultured, a music lover and a sculptor herself. They decided to marry and move to Paris. The year was 1959, and Paris was in full swing. The early days in the French capital were difficult, but like him, other young Argentine artists had made the crossing, and Delfino soon took up sculpture and experimented with a new creative language, focusing his interest on metal, "scrap metal", which he salvaged and worked with screws. Between 1961 and 1963, as part of the Biennale des Jeunes: "Thirty Argentines of the New Generation", he held his first exhibition with Pablo Curatella Manes at the Galerie Creuze, as well as with Alicia Penalba and Guzman. His work in steel and his taste for large format attracted the attention of a young American gallery owner, Darthea Speyer, and marked the beginning of a long collaboration between them. Between 1970 and 1999, they organized 8 exhibitions together, making Speyer Delfino's gallery owner. The Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris holds two of the artist's works from this period. Right from his earliest sculptures, the central question of the organic and the "reality masked by the exterior" arises. Raoul Jean Moulin marveled at these "knotted forms, tumultuous in order to blossom", and the volutes that transfigure the poverty of the material. He also exhibited at the Salons de Mai (from 1966 to 1980) and in the gardens of the American Cultural Center with Albert Féraud on the theme of "Sept propositions pour le métal" ("Seven proposals for metal"). Like Féraud and other "metallo-poets" such as Guino, César and Hiquily, he revisited assembly and welding techniques, exploiting all the possibilities offered by metal to create a new language. His works are characterized by rhythm, sinuous linearity and suppleness, underlining the artist's perfect technical mastery of the material. He found his first Parisian studio with the German sculptor Colas Geissler, on rue de Clignancourt, and divided it in two to share with the painter Corneille. On his advice, the owner of the premises (initially a carpenter's workshop) transformed the space, enabling Peter Klasen and Breyten Breytenbach to move in too. Very open-minded, Delfino and his wife were in contact with many artists, including Edouardo Jonquieres, also from Argentina (whose paintings are reminiscent of Vasarely's) and Julio Cortazar. Around 1965, he abandoned steel and returned to more classical clay modelling, fixing his plaster casts with laminated epoxy resin, which required meticulous finishing work. This resin became his preferred material. Highly resistant, easy to mold and lightweight, it requires numerous stages before the finished material is given a bronze sheen that accentuates the bewitching aspect of her distinctive sculptures. His anatomical works enthralled his contemporaries in Lausanne.

Estim. 200 - 300 EUR