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Jannis Kounellis (Greek, b.1936)
LOT ID: 72735
Untitled, 1985

Charcoal, on paper.
15.35 х 11.42 in. (38.99 x 29.01 cm.)
Signed, inscribed, other, and dated lower front right of work. Original gallery stamps and inscriptions on the verso of the framed work.
Lot description
"Untitled" (1985) is a charcoal work on paper that is an important and dynamic example of the intense abstract black-based works on paper by famed post-Modern artist and famous "Arte Povera" artist Jannis Kounellis (Greek, b. 1936). Curator Germano Celant coined the term Arte Povera to refer to the humble materials, such as charcoal, sometimes described as detritus, which Kounellis and others were employing at the time to make their elemental, anti-elitist art. This work is an important example of Kounelli's use of charcoal in such a humble manner, applied in a dynamic linear yet spatial manner grounded by heavy overlapping vertical and arched marks. His attention to line and the relationship of the composition to the paper and to negative space makes this work an important abstract charcoal on paper by Kounellis to come to auction. Most of the artist's works on paper that reach the secondary market are mixed media, (pastel and oil stick), which makes this oil painting on paper both rare and highly desirable. This work measures 15.35 x 11.42 inches (39 x 29 cm) and measures larger in its original frame and is in perfect condition.

Jannis Kounellis was born in 1936 in Greece. In 1956, Kounellis moved to Rome and enrolled in the Accademia di Belle Arti. While still a student, he had his first solo show, titled L’alfabeto di Kounellis, at the Galleria la Tartaruga, Rome, in 1960. Influenced by Alberto Burri, Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline as well as Lucio Fontana, Kounellis is famous for being one of the pioneers to push painting into new directions. Kounellis is also famous for the use of live animals in his art; one of his best-known works included eleven horses installed in the gallery, questioning the 'sancity' of the gallery space with such performances. Additional materials have included bed frames, doorways, windows, coat racks and even people. These diverse mediums and materials employed by Kounellis speak to his rich and diverse general cultural history.

The artist's important group exhibitions included the 1967 show "Arte povera e IM spazio" at the Galleria La Bertesca, Genoa. with his first US show in 1972 at Sonnabend Gallery. Hi work was shown in many exhibitions throughout his long career including several museums in Europe, including the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Obra Social, Caja de Pensiones, Madrid; the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; and the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, The Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux, as well as The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Kounellis has recently been honored with major exhibitions at Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome (2002), Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina in Naples (2006), and Neue National Galerie in Berlin (2008), among others. The artist lives and works in Rome.
Untitled by Jannis Kounellis
  • Untitled by Jannis Kounellis
  • Untitled by Jannis Kounellis
  • Untitled by Jannis Kounellis
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