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Mimmo Rotella (Italian, 1918–2006)
LOT ID: 87768
Untitled (Marilyn), 2004

Screenprint, on polished steel
59.1 х 15.7 in. (150.11 x 39.88 cm.)
Signed, and numbered by the artist
Edition of 99
Lot description
Executed two years before the artist's death, this silkscreen on steel work by Mimmo Rotella features a fragmented composition centered on the image of Marilyn Monroe, a recurring motif in Rotella's famed "décollages"-- reverse collages, in which pieces of an image are cut away to reveal what is beneath. Evoking both the glamour and the ephemerality inherent to Hollywood culture, the work displays the dispassionate Pop sensibility that informs so much of Rotella's acclaimed body of work. "Untitled" belongs to an edition of 99, and is signed and numbered in the artist's hand. It measures 59.1 x 15.7 inches (150.1 x 39.9 cm), and is framed in wood.

Mimmo Rotella (Italian, 1918- 2006) was a visual artist and poet associated with the Nouveau Réalisme movement. His work across various media, which ranged from collage to painting to mixed media assemblages, demonstrated the clear influences of both Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. After graduating from high school and serving in the armed forces, Rotella enrolled in the Naples Art Academy, from which he received his diploma in 1944. The next year, he moved to Rome and began experimenting with a number of different artistic styles. He participated in various exhibitions and had his first solo exhibition in 1951 at the Galleria Chiurazzi in Rome. Soon thereafter, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States, at the University of Kansas City. Upon his return to Italy, he began elaborating the “décollage” technique for which he is best known. Fascinated and disturbed by the advent of mass advertising and what he perceived to be the increasingly derivative nature of painting, Rotella started using promotional posters as a source of inspiration. He would rip posters from outdoor walls and take them back to his studio, where he proceeded to glue them to canvas and tear off small pieces to form artful designs. Later, he would apply his décollages to more unconventional substrates such as polyurethane and steel. In 1960, the prominent French art critic Pierre Restany solicited Rotella’s participation in the Nouveau Réalisme movement, alongside artists such as Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, Christo, and Arman. In 1964, Rotella represented Italy at the Venice Biennale. He subsequently relocated to Paris, where he lived throughout the 1960s and 1970s; by 1980 he had moved back to Italy, settling in Milan. He continued to experiment with new artistic techniques throughout his life, although the mass media remained his primary ideological focus: his “Blanks” series featured commercial posters covered in white paper, and his “overpaintings” (“sovrapitture”) featured graffiti-inspired interventions placed over a canvas covered in torn posters. In 1992, he was made an Officiel des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. During his lifetime, Rotella’s work was exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
  • Untitled (Marilyn) by Mimmo Rotella
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