Pippo Rizzo

Paintings by Pippo Rizzo

Born in Corleone, Sicily, in 1897, Pippo Rizzo was an artist whose style was strongly influenced by Cubism, the Bauhaus, Art Deco and other movements which marked the early decades of the twentieth century. His oil paintings, graphics and design work, involving fashion and furniture, combined such mainstream styles with Sicilian folk art to produce something truly unique, transcending the Socialist art that typified the Fascist era.

Rizzo was quite versatile in his use of media. He often ventured from the primitive to the stylised to the abstract. Compared to the art of many of his Italian contemporaries, Rizzo’s was rarely overtly political or politicised. In stark contrast to masters such as Picasso, Rizzo was not a philosophical revolutionary. His statements were altogether more universal.

With his wife, Maria, Rizzo founded a futurist art gallery in Palermo in 1925. His visionary side, though never as developed as that of a surrealist painter or science fiction illustrator, was remarkable for 1930s Italy. However, it did not challenge the aesthetic ideas of Fascism in the way that Vitaliano Brancati’s writings sometimes did.

As a young man, Pippo Rizzo studied in Rome and exhibited in Berlin and Buenos Aires. Over the years, he designed posters for the Venice carnivals. Rizzo taught art in Rome and, from 1936 to 1960, in Palermo. Rizzo then returned to Rome as dean of an art institute until retiring in 1962. He died in Palermo two years later.

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