This is a substantial original oil painting by Mino Argento – a famous Italian/American painter. Framed in a light green solid wood frame, measuring 135cm x 64cm.
Mino Argento is an interesting painter as his career spans two sharply opposite styles of painting – Italian period and American period.
He was born in 1927 in Rome and until reaching 40 years of age was a figurative painter. Then in the 1960s he started experimenting and by the time of his departure to the United States in 1969 his figurative methods were gone completely in favour of a new geometrical colourful style. Without knowing, you’d never tell the Italian pieces and the American pieces were painted by the same artist.
He studied as an architect and worked in the profession for quite some time. His first solo exhibition happened in 1968 just one year before his departure at Gallery Astrolobio in Rome. It was organised by Marcello Venturoli who is one of the most famous and prolific art patrons in Italy. During his lifetime he created a collection of 5,000 artworks – amongst the biggest private art collections in the whole world.
The Mino Argento oil painting on sale is probably early 1960s judging by the confident spiky lines. His 1950s works are more vague and don’t display the same definition and boldness, however, I should say that this Mino Argento oil painting is not dated so I’m making an educated guess at 1960s. Either way, this original painting was done before 1969 because Mino Argento never returned to figurative style again.
You can’t say for certain but it looks as if his figurative paintings already had some signs of things to come. The spikes and large geometrical surfaces of houses and quayside seem to play on the same philosophy that Mino Argento would develop in his American period. On a superficial inspection it’s just squares and triangles and you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just the architect trying to express himself on canvas, however, there is much more to this.
Mino Argento uses interplay of positive and negative space but more importantly, he has always been fascinated by Pythagorean geometry. In a similar way that Renaissance artists were big proponents of Pythagorean philosophy – only they had different artistic techniques to express themselves. Mino Argento’s art interpretation was geometrical shapes. And this is something that is interwoven in all his artwork, regardless of whether you’re looking at his fisherman paintings or his later abstract shapes.
Although Mino Argento is still alive, in his 90s, and residing in Manhattan, New York, his artwork is scarce. He’s never taken part in exhibitions after 1988 – the year when his painting output seemed to halt to a complete standstill.
His early figurative paintings surface from time to time, however, this original oil painting depicting a typical Italian quay scene, is the biggest Mino Argento oil painting that I’ve ever seen. It is truly magnificent and has an amazing presence on any wall.
The painting was framed later – probably around 1970s. Although the frame has some signs of wear, its light green hue suits the painting beautifully.