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Magnelli’s Lyrical Explosion Soars to New Heights

On 26 March 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

A work by Alberto Magnelli is a veritable burst of fireworks, with a final result to match.

Magnelli’s Lyrical Explosion Soars to New Heights

Alberto Magnelli (1888-1971), Explosions lyrique n°1 (Lyrical Explosion No. 1), oil on canvas, 1918, 130.5 x 130.2 cm (51.18 x 51.18 in).
Result: €1,036,800

this colorful 1918 painting by Alberto Magnelli (1888-1971) fetched a richly deserved and much-to-be-celebrated €1,036,800: the third-highest price for the artist and a French record for him to boot (source: Artnet). lyrical Explosion No. 1 vibrates with an intense chromaticism. the year was 1918. An unspeakably cruel war had just ended. Somber tones and ashes were in the past. Magnelli’s lyrical Explosions series expressed his joy at the return of peace and his tenfold increase in energy. This was the first in the 25-work series, all painted in Florence, his hometown, after several stays in paris between 1918 and 1919.

lyrical Explosion No. 1 firmly set the tone for what followed. bodies and landscapes fuse in a burst of colors. Here Magnelli merged three major early 20th-century art movements: fauvism, cubism and futurism. He independently found his way between abstract and figurative art and discovered the dynamically juxtaposed tonal planes they opened up to him. But he never sacrificed either fluidity and vivacity.

Enchanting as they are, these paintings were just an interlude. In 1920 Magnelli returned to figuration, until a 1932 visit to the Carrara marble quarries closed that chapter for good. His work then became completely abstract, featuring extremely simplified forms and objects and rigorously constructed compositions nuanced by harmonious colors.

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