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Alfredo Volpi
(1896 - 1988)

Born on April 14, 1896, in Lucca, Italy, Alfredo Volpi was later brought to Brazil by his parents where they made their permanent residence. Volpi had developed profound interest in arts since the very early age. He created his first major artwork at the age of twelve, which was deemed naturalist as it applied realism and seemed divorced from artificiality and artistic conventionality. In fact, he did it all on his own by teaching himself the various forms of arts.  Others also viewed his early work as being expressionist, having a distinct distorted quality to it. The major influence on his early works was the Brazilian landscape painter Ernesto De Fiori. Besides painting multifarious subjects of his interest, Volpi also painted façades of houses in a unique fashion. These facades were perceived highly stylized and colorful and this theme seemed to encompass all his 1950s work. The art critics rightfully called his work the “historical façades”. Although he never claimed to be part of concretist movement, that artwork of his deemed influenced by concrete art form. The next decade witnessed the dawn of his trademark “banderinhas”. Those were small flags which were major part of Brazilian folklore, originated from the popular festa junina. The small-flag pattern he used displayed the saturated sense of color combination and balanced composition, which resulted in cementing Volpi’s position as one of the prominent artists of the era. In the recent years, some of the most prestigious art museums are still displaying his work almost three decades after his demise. He died on April 28, 1988, São Paulo, Brazil. MAM São Paulo displayed his body of artwork in 2006. The next year Curitiba held an exhibition showcasing his paintings. Josef Albers had known to be the major influence on his work. His work manifested a profound knowledge of Italian Renaissance painters as he made use of tempera for his paintings. Alfredo Volpi received Best National Painter award in 1953 as being the crucial part of Brazilian cultural modernist movement.

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