The understandable genius.

Cool late summer mornings are really ideal for a ride on a motorcycle, before the long winter break that will inevitably see it parked in the garage. A good excuse, in short, for a half-hour drive to Giaveno, where master Antonio Nunziante works in the historic center of the town in Val Sangone. His is certainly not a buen retiro, but an intelligent logistical choice: he conceived his studio as a real company in which thirteen people work, from painters' assistants to those who deal with the web, so that his site is always updated and the Facebook page functions as a real window to the world. There are those who dedicate themselves to the organization (paintings to be transported, exhibitions to be curated), while the young wife Raffaella oversees over almost everything and welcomes you with a bright smile. Nunziante is a truly unique artist. His painting could be projected backwards, nostalgically anchored to a past far away from us, yet his attitude is that of a man of our time, intrigued by every technological innovation and aware that the present offers many chances to make the work turn all over the world.

Cultured and aware of his own doing, he sometimes likes to argue a bit, perhaps citing Mario Vargas Llosa or Robert Hughes against the excess of contemporaneity that invests an art that is too mental and incomprehensible. Nunziante has collected important satisfactions in his career by 'doing everything on his own', he specifies. And perhaps precisely because of this spontaneous success, not planned at the table, the system has relegated him to those artists who are too 'commercial'. Actually, this is a truly myopic and limited vision, which finds fertile ground in art and much less in other languages: Nunziante stands out not so much for the pleasantness of his subjects, which are often enigmatic and strongly symbolic, but for the quality of the painting, where he never stops experimenting with techniques and looking for new solutions. 'I am 56 years old - he says maliciously - and I hope in the next 10 to become a good painter'.

His curriculum boasts exhibitions in important public spaces (the "Chiostro del Bramante" in Rome, the "Palazzo Ducale" in Genoa, etc.), but this year his career really seems to have reached a turning point. At the end of 2012 Nunziante lands in New York, with a personal exhibition organized at the 32 Fine Arts Gallery, in the "Soho District". The success is surprising, especially the American public, who did not know him, discovered a painter of sensitivity and talent, capable of translating the classic image into something of contemporary taste. Many VIP guests were present at the vernissage, including Ultra Violet, the former muse of Andy Warhol. The consensus continued during the subsequent 'one man show' at the Italian consulate, where he was awarded together with Renzo Arbore and former New York governor Mario Cuomo. But the surprise is yet to come. An expert from Sotheby's Contemporary Art Department, visiting the exhibition, is struck by the quality of some paintings and chooses one, 'Project for a still possible journey', 100 × 120 cm, for the New York auction on March 3. And it's record price: $ 62,500. A good shot, more than doubled the price you normally pay in Italy. Collectors who have invested in Nunziante in recent years were happy.

 

While writing, another auction is announced, on 25 September, again at Sotheby's with 'Atelier sul mare', valued at 40-60 thousand dollars. Not a flash in the pan, then. Meanwhile, in November, Nunziante will hold his first personal show in Dubai, at the Capital Club: an exclusive building that houses several galleries. 'I strongly believe in these new emerging markets, destined to give life to a sector that is suffering from the crisis. In a global world, limiting oneself to his's own territory no longer works and therefore one has to move within an international perspective. 'In the new paintings Nunziante has developed a poetics that is new to him. More synthesis, a work that favors spaces - he calls them 'silences' - instead of figures. The atmospheres are suspended, essential, the pictorial palette decidedly lowered, deliberately impoverished. And in fact the result is very fascinating and contemporary.

 

Today Nunziante can compete with the great international figurative painting. 'In recent years I have reduced production by about half and try to work on quality'. It would seem to be a successful bet, starting with the successes at the auction, but not only: the growth affects above all the beauty of his canvases, which make him a true artist, much loved by the Turin public as well.

Luca Beatrice

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