Catalogue Raisonné of the works of Antonio Ligabue
With these two volumes that make up the Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings of Antonio Ligabue I have finally completed a project spanning thirty years concerning an artist who has been the goal of my professional life. Marzio Dall’Acqua, who has always been the most assiduous, rigorous scholar specialized in this painter, is the curator of the critical and biographical apparatus.
The collaboration of the Centro Studi & Archivio Antonio Ligabue, which I have the honour of presiding over, has been essential to my plans. The centre was founded in Parma in 1983 by art critics and people of erudition, Italy’s finest intellectuals, with the aim of delving deep into unknown aspects of Ligabue’s works and of creating an image of the artist that is scientifically credible as well as well-founded.
Some of the founders were not fortunate enough to see the publication of these two volumes, the result of their determined and rigorous efforts: Davide Lajolo, Cesare Zavattini, Franco Solmi, Italo Mussa, Luigi Serravalli, Mario De Micheli, my friend Franko Benedetti all come to mind. I also especially wish to remember someone who was a sensitive, intelligent art enthusiast, Cesare Garavelli, one of the first collectors, who firmly believed in Ligabue, supporting him both materially and morally. I dedicate this catalogue to them all. It is thanks to them, and to all the current members, that this centre is now a point of reference for anyone wishing to approach this artist, whether they are interested in selling or acquiring works. I personally see to providing the relevant information, the verified documentation on the painting or sculpture, an evaluation of its quality, with particular attention to the estimates, constantly monitoring the market trends and the increasing value of this particular artist’s works.
The paintings collected here are 868 in total, made between 1928 and 1962; although the number of paintings is modest, most of them are of the highest quality. The idea of “repetitiveness” that is often mentioned in descriptions of Ligabue’s works is clearly visible in these pages. But what it is, actually, is the indication of the artist’s relentless study and research, it is the variation on a theme, the discovery of new formal possibilities—ones that are always very rigorous, characterized by underlying constructive geometry and a choice of colours that creates the forms and the images—it is the mnemonic reconstruction of internalized, figurative elements, in which the lesson of art, experienced in all its completeness, from childhood illustrations, to paintings, cartoons, and tavern paintings, joined and was combined with what the artist had truly seen in circuses, in his everyday life, and in cinema. It is a mixture that is both existential and emotional, imaginative and inventive.
This catalogue is a work that frees Ligabue’s art from the sensational hypotheses advanced by the media. Moreover, the fact that the Italian texts are also available in English make it possible to offer Ligabue’s art to the international art world at large. It is a way of ideally connecting the artist’s collectors, those who have over the years believed in me and invested in the artist. It means providing scholars with information that is certified and sound, so that they can then continue to study the artist’s language and creations. It is a tool that can be used for work, but it is also a means of study and discovery. This general edition of the work of Antonio Ligabue is essential for the study and appraisal of the artist’s work and style. It provides an outline, a step from which one can then progress, although there is still a great deal of work to be done.
Augusto Agosta Tota
CATALOGO RAGIONATO DEI DIPINTI DI ANTONIO LIGABUE
2 vols., 30x28 cm, 300 pages each.
Box set containing 868 paintings of which 668 colour and 200 b/w
Each painting is accompanied by a historical-critical descriptive entry
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