press release

The Contessa Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of an exclusive exhibition of works by many of the leading artists of the avant-garde era of the 20th century, encompassing the Abstract, Metaphysical, and Surrealist movements. Within these movements, some of the most famous and provocative artists of the 20th century redefined the parameters of art, including Wassily Kandinsky, Giorgio de Chirico, Hans Bellmer, Leonor Fini, and Salvador Dali, whose works will be on view and available for acquisition.

Many movements within the avant-garde era arose from artists’ response to the changes they saw in the world and, above all, the changes that they desired to see. Art was viewed by these artistic visionaries as a means to achieve these changes and therefore encouraged social reform, economic reconstruction, and cultural unity. These progressive artists sought emancipation from established artistic taste and values, thereby developing an innovative expressive vocabulary. The result was a loosening of formal technique and subsequently art that challenged tradition and logic. Their aesthetic was not bound by a rigid interpretation of what art should be, but rather, what art could be.

To the avant-gardes, tradition and conventional thinking were obsolete; radicalism and ingenuity were the prevailing forces behind artistic creation. Wassily Kandinsky emphasized the authenticity of emotion and spirituality, giving the experience of feeling the most importance through simplified abstract forms and dominating colors. In his works, he sought to evoke an emotion rather than depict one and attempted to bring about a process of spiritual regeneration. Giorgio de Chirico is known for the haunting, brooding moods evoked by his works. His dream-like paintings of desolate cities, as well as casual juxtapositions of objects, represent a visionary world beyond physical reality which identifies most immediately with the unconscious mind. De Chirico’s metaphysical paintings thus provided significant impetus for the development of Surrealism. Evidence of Hans Bellmer’s former career as a doll-maker is present in many of his works, which employ seemingly realistic imagery of the female form in presumably impossible situations. Leonor Fini depicted women oftentimes in ceremonial or provocative situations. Salvador Dali, the most celebrated of the Surrealists and one of the most notorious artists in the history of art, had a fascination with the subconscious mind. This virtuoso visually examined the uncharted territory of man’s repressed thoughts and emotions and presented them using a paradigmatic iconography all his own. The gallery will also be featuring stunning Aubusson tapestries, the ancient French craft that dates back many centuries. The tapestries are of the highest quality and depict some of Dali’s most famous images. Dali decided to produce his work in tapestry, because he wanted to create art in a very large format to decorate the enormous walls of the castle he built as his museum. There are only 13 different images created in editions of 6 with very few proofs that exist.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Christine Argillet, internationally noted Dali expert, Curator of Musee du Surrealisme, Melun, France, and the daughter of Dali’s long-term publisher Pierre Argillet, will be our guest at the opening receptions and give a lecture on the art of the avant-garde.

Works by these experimental artists are represented in most major museums in the world. This exhibition will appeal to serious collectors as well as anybody who is interested in this unsurpassed, pivotal era of art history.

Kandinsky to Dali: The Art of the Avant-Gardes

Künstler: Wassily Kandinsky, Giorgio De Chirico, Hans Bellmer, Leonor Fini, Salvador Dalí ...