Enrico Cervelli (1927-1961), Africano N1,Roma 1961

1 800


What I like

I like this watercolor and oil on paper by Enrico Cervelli, for its extremely balanced construction, both by the arrangement of masses of color in relation to each other, and by these colors themselves: the muted red rose, the very powerful ocher, stand out against the white background of the sheet of paper and form an architecture where blacks and whites have a large place. Each area of ​​color bears the mark of the artist’s hand: the pink and white watercolor background is slightly uneven, the spots of color with oil bear the visible trace of the brushstrokes that compose them.

We may find reminiscences of Africa in this choice of ocher and red-pink colors, we hear the sound of drums.

I like the harmony that emerges from this work, in this large rectangle where each element breathes by itself but also by its relationship to others.

I like having the work of a very promising artist, as evidenced by his participation in numerous exhibitions, in particular at the ICA in London in 1960, where he was surrounded by all the great names in painting of the time, alongside, as far as the Italians are concerned, Fontana, Chirico, Paolozzi…

I like also the fact that this Africano N1 was painted the year Cervelli died, at 34 only: certainly, he would have a great career if alive!

Technical description

Enrico CERVELLI (1927-1961)

Africano N1, Roma 1961

Watercolor and oil on paper signed and dated 61 at the bottom, outside the painted motif. Cervelli wrote the title, date and place and signed a second time on the reverse of his painting.

Under glass.

Dimensions and weight

Height: 61 cm – Width: 44,5 cm

Dimensions with frame: Height: 76 cm- Width: 63 cm

Weight: 5 kg

Mix & Match

This work by Enrico Cervelli is the work of an accomplished artist: its balance allows it to stand alongside paintings from different periods, from equally talented masters. On the other hand, the softness without sentimentality of its palette makes it an elegant piece, not at all garish. Because of this, of course, it can overcome quality antique furniture, as the great decorators of the 1960s and 1970s did.

I would like to see it live alongside Daniel de Linière’s tapestry “Vent d’été”, with an equally refined chromatic range and dating from the same years. I would light it with the famous Pyramid lamp by Tonello and Montagna Grillo for High Society: the twist of this chrome foot into a double pyramid is also elegant and not demonstrative.

Because our Cervelli gouache has orange ochre, I would place in the same room the pair of orange pop armchairs from the 1970s, whose light herringbone fabric has a slightly muted orange!

The soft green of the pair of Adirondack armchairs by Philippe Parent will flourish with the muted range of our painting. Similarly, the virginal white of our Orsay ensemble by Gae Aulenti could very well be spiced up with the refined chords of our work by Cervelli.

Can we not also dream that these oranges and pinks of our work rub shoulders with the more austere grays of the work “Colonnes”, by Guillaume Leunens, dating from the same 1960s?

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To know more

The painter

Enrico Cervelli, born in 1927 and died in 1961 is a non-figurative Roman artist whose production period is very short, due to his early death at 34 years old. It was exhibited very early in Italy but also in London.

Its presence at the great ICA exhibition in London in 1960 should be highlighted: the only four Italians present were Fontana, Capogrossi, De Chirico and Cervelli.

It is a meteor painter, promised the greatest recognition, broke in full maturity.

Almost all of his production is dedicated to spirituality and religious rite: in Cervelli’s works Byzantine and African iconography seem to emerge through the use of wood, cork, gold leaf and particular enamels.

1954: in issue 1 of the “Origin”foundation’s “Arti Visive – Visual Arts” magazine among the novelties Enrico Cervelli appears with the work “Cosmos” from 1952, and in issue 8-9 with the work “Limoges” from 1952

1954 Artistic director of the film “La Strada”

1955 – Galerie Numéro in Florence – personal exhibition, catalog by Emilio Villa

1955 (from March 17 to 30) – Number Gallery in – Florence – New Coordinate, New Resources in: “The Seven Painters of the Tiber” (Gruppo Tevere). A. Ceccalleri, E. Cervelli, R. Cristiano, A. Moriconi, P. Mazzetti M. Rotella, M. Samonà (Emilio Villa catalog)


1956 (from July 19) – Rome – Sala del’Incontro – ”Aurelio Ceccarelli-Enrico Cervelli”

1957 – Rome – Appia Antica Gallery – Inaugural exhibition: Bemporad, Buggiani, Brains, Glue, Mannucci, Marotta, Nuvolo, Sartoris, Uncini

1958 (from June 30) – London – Gallery One: 5 painters from Rome. Ceccarelli, Brain, Novelli, Nuvolo, Samonà

1959 – O’Hana Gallery – London – Enrico Cervelli

1959 – In the first issue of the magazine ” APPIA ANTICA ”, two works by Enrico Cervelli are highlighted: “Dead Sea” and “Cathedral”

1959 (from November 12 to 24) – Schneider Gallery – Rome – Enrico Cervelli

1960 Galerie Sauvage – Magic Letters: Enrico Cervelli (reviewed by Michel Strauss)

1960 (from October 23 to December 3) London – ICA Institute of contemporary arts – The mysterious sign (Jean ARP, Julius BISSIER, Peter BLAKE, Enrico CERVELLI, Avinash CHANDRA, Giorgio DE CHIRICO, Alan DAVIE, Jean DUBUFFET, Lucio FONTANA, Adolph GOTTLIEB, Brion GYSIN, Hans HARTUNG, Al HELD, Jasper JOHNS, Wassily KANDINSKY, Lilly KELLER, Ellsworth KELLY, Franz KLINE, Paul KLEE, Willem DE KOONING, Elisson LISSIRITZ, George MASS, MATTA, Henri MICHAUX, Joan MIRO, Robert MOTHERWELL, Eduardo PAOLOZZI, Pablo PICASSO, Jackson POLLOCK, Man RAY, Kurt SCHWITTERS, Hassel SMITH, Pierre SOULAGES, Antonio TAPIES, Mark TOBEY, Bradley Walker TORQUINOMLIN, John TOMBULL, WOLS, TERUKO YOKO)

1961 (from November 18 to December 5) – Pogliani Gallery – Enrico Cervelli (texts by Giovanno Carandente)

A beautiful authentic 1960 painting at a fair price

This work on paper by Enrico Cervelli has been carefully selected for its aesthetic qualities, its originality and its fair price. Our choice favors above all the acuity of the composition and the beauty of the realization, guarantee of a valorization of your new acquisition in your interior and of an ability to dialogue with your furniture, to agree and to mix for create a unique decoration.

Buying works of art from the 1960s is surely a reasonable investment, so great is the appetite for this period and the quality of this work by a very talented Italian artist, to be rediscovered!

Additional information
Weight 5 kg
Dimensions 76 × 63 cm


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Dominique de Paillerets is passionate about objects and art. He likes to combine Design furniture from the 70s and the 18th century, in the spirit Combining refinement and the spirit of the seventies

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