Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi

Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi, “Subway Exit, 1946, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 66 cm, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University

Born in April of 1906 in Cairo, Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi was an American painter. He was the only son of Talmiro Guglielmi, a violinist and viola player with Arturo Toscanini’s orchestra, and Dometilla Secchi Guglielmi, who returned to her native Milan shortly after her son’s birth. Talmiro Guglielmi toured with Toscanini’s orchestra throughout Australia, Europe and the Americas. After a tour through Canada, Brazil and North America with Russian ballerina Anna Pavolova, he brought his family to New York City where the settled in the largely Italian immigrant community of East Harlem.

At a young age, Louis Guglielmi pursued an interest in sculpture and worked in a local bronze casting facility in the city. During his high school years,.he began in 1920 evening art classes at the National Academy of Design and studied sculpture at Manhattan’s Beaux Arts Institute. In 1923, Guglielmi  left high school to concentrate full-time on courses at the National Academy. At his life drawing class, Guglielmi met fellow student Gregorio Prestopino, who is known for his  social realist scenes of the urban working-class executed  in the style of the Ashcan School . Through their college years, the two men shared a studio space in the city. 

After his graduation in 1926, Guglielmi struggled financially for six years and took various inadequately-paid jobs to support his painting. In 1927 at the age of twenty-one, he was granted citizenship in the United States. Guglielmi relocated in 1932 to the New England area and, once again, began a serious period of intense painting. With the aid of a fellowship, he was able to spend eleven summers at the prestigious MacDowell Art Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The solitude of the scenery surrounding the colony and Guglielmi’s interactions with his fellow artists inspired him and focused a new  direction to his work: the plight of humanity caught in the midst of the Great Depression.

During the early 1930s as the Depression settled on the country, Louis Guglielmi applied for relief from the government. In 1934, he managed to secure meager wages as a painter for the Works Project Administration, the federal New Deal program the employed jobseekers, mostly men and not formally educated, for public works projects. This program subsidized many artists and craftsmen in the 1930s. Guglielmi worked with the WPA for five years during which time he traveled and painted both easel work and murals.

Having seen Guglielmi’s work for the WPA, prominent art dealer Edith Gregor Halpert invited him in 1936 to join the group of artists at her Downtown Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village. In 1938, Guglielmi showcased his paintings in his first solo exhibition which was held at Halpert’s gallery to major critical acclaim. On May 22nd in 1939, he married Anne Di Maggio, who seven years later gave birth to a son.

Louis Guglielmi’s work just before the Second World War were often bleak images of suffering. He spent 1943 through 1945 in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, a time in which he did not produce any paintings. Guglielmi’s existing work, though, was in included in the 1943 “American Realists and Magic Realists” exhibition held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. After his experiences in the war, Guglielmi’s work changed in style and content; he became more concerned with the formal issues of society: poverty, the living and working conditions of the poor, and the political issues of the time.

Guglielmi became influenced at this time by the work of Fauvist painters Joan Miró and Henri Matisse, and the bold, colorful paintings of his friend Stuart Davis. His paintings lightened in spirit and communicated to the viewer a sense of energy and optimism. Guglielmi’s body of work contains aspects of all the various movements of his time: surrealism, cubism, geometric abstraction, regionalism and social realism. His experiments with form, a major component of his work, set him apart from the prevailing American style of Abstract Expressionism, which in effect marginalized his status as a contemporary painter.

Louis Guglielmi was an instructor of art at Manhattan’s New School of Social Research from 1950 to 1951. Beginning in June of 1950, he taught at Louisiana State University, first as a visiting artist and later in the position of an associate professor which he held until 1953. In 1952, Guglielmi was presented a Temple Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Academy in recognition of his work.

With the intention of remaining in Europe for the summer, Guglielmi  traveled to Italy in the spring of 1956. However, after four days in Italy, he returned back to the United States. That summer, Guglielmi took his wife and ten-year old son to their new home in Amagansett, a small town located on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York. On September 3rd of 1956, Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi died of a sudden heart attack. A retrospective of his work, entitled “O. Louis Guglielmi” The Complete Precisionist”, was held in February of 1961 at New York’s distinguished Nordness Gallery. 

Note: In January of 2014, Guglielmi’s works, including his 1946 “Subway Exit”, were presented as part of the Georgia Museum of Art’s exhibition “Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy”. This show was a historical reproduction of the 1946 traveling exhibition “Advancing American Art” that was sponsored by LeRoy Davidson of the U.S. State Department. The  2014 “Art Interrupted” show reunited all the paintings of the original exhibition and scrutinized the U.S. State Department’s use of fine art as a tool in the Cold War. Works in the exhibition included paintings by such artists as Georgia O’Keefe, Edward Hopper, Marsden Hartley, Ben Shahn, and Stuart Davis.

LeRoy Davidson’s intent for the 1946 traveling collection was to exhibit the diversity of American art, demonstrate the power of democracy, and promote good will among the United States, Europe and Latin America. The exhibition, however, received intense criticism from the press. Provoked by the press, members of the U.S. Congress and President Harry Truman deemed the art in the show un-American. By 1948, all seventy-nine works in the show were auctioned off. Davidson was forced to resign, his position in the State Department was abolished, and the entire project ridiculed in the press.

Second Insert Image: O. Louis Guglielmi, “The Amrican Dream”, 1935, Oil on Masonite, 54.6 x 76.2 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: o. Louis Guglielmi, “One Third of a Nation”, 1939, Oil and Tempera on Wood, 76.2 x 61 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Fifth Insert Image: Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi, “View in Chambers Street”, 1936, Oil on Canvas, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: O. Louis Guglielmi, “Relief Blues”, circa 1938, Tempera on Fibreboard, 61.1 x 76.2 cm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC

 

Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

The Artwork of Amadeo de Souza Cardoso

Born in November of 1887 in the town of Manhule, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso was one of the first generation of Portuguese modernist painters. Known for the exceptional quality of his work, his short career covered all the historical avant-garde movements of the early twentieth=century. 

The son of a wealthy landowner and vintner, Amadeo, at the age of eighteen, traveled to Lisbon and entered the Superior School of Fine Arts where he developed his skills as a designer and caricaturist. In November of 1906, he traveled to Paris with his friend and painter Francisco Smith and lived in an apartment on the Boulevard de Montparnasse. After a caricature he had drawn during a dinner was published  in Portugal’s “O Primerro de Jameiro” newspaper, Amadeo decided to devote himself to painting. 

In 1908, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso established himself at a studio located at 14 Cité Falguière , which became a social gathering place for Portuguese artists including Manuel Bentes, Eduardo Viana, and Domingos Rebelo, among others. At this time, Amadeo began to attend the ateliers of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and the Académie Viti, where he studied under the Spanish painter Angalada Camarasa, whose use of intense coloring presaged the arrival of Fauvism. 

In 1911, Amadeo exhibited his work in the Salon des Indépendents and soon became close friends with writers and artists such as Gertrude Stein, Amedeo Modigliani, Alexander Archipenko, Robert Delaunay, and the Italian Futurists Umberto Boccioni and Gino Severini.  In 1912, Amadeo published his album, “XX Dessuab”, containing twenty drawings with a forward written by author Jerome Doucet, and republished Gustave Flaubert’s “La Légende de Saint Julien to l’Hospitalier” in a calligraphic manuscript with illustrations. Amadeo de Souza Cardoso participated in two important exhibitions in 1913: the Armory Show in the United States that traveled to New York City, Boston and Chicago, and the Erste Deutsche Herbstsalon held at the Galerie Der Strum in Berlin. These two exhibitions were the first to present the new wave of modern art to the public. Seven of the eight works Amadeo displayed at the Armory show sold; three of these were purchased by lawyer and art critic Arthur Jerome Eddy, a prominent member of the first generation of American modern art collectors.

Returning to Portugal in 1914, Amadeo began experimentation in all the new forms of artistic expression, and married Lucia Pecetto, whom he had previously met during his 1908 stay in Paris. In April of 1914, he sent three new works for an exhibition at the London Salon; however, due to the outbreak of World War I, the show was canceled. During the war years, Amadeo maintained contact with other Portuguese artists and poets and reunited with Robert and Sonia Delaunay who had relocated to Portugal. In 1916, he published his “Twelve Reproductions” through Tipografia Santos in Porto and exhibited a collection of one hundred-fourteen works at a solo exhibition in Oporto and later in Lisbon, entitled “Abstraccionism”. 

At this time, the Cubist movement had  expanded throughout Europe and was an important influence to Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s  style of analytical cubism. He continued to explore expressionism and, in his last works, experimented with many new techniques. In 1918, Amadeo was stricken with a skin disease which impeded his painting. On the 25th of October in 1918, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso died, at the age of thirty, in Espinho, Portugal, of the Spanish influenza, a pandemic which savaged the world at the end of World War I. 

After his death, Amadeo de Souza Cardoso’s work was shown in a 1925 retrospective in France which was well received by both critics and the public. Ten years later, the Souza-Cardoso Prize was established in Portugal to distinguish modern painters. Amadeo’s work remained relatively unknown until 1952, when a exhibition of his work in Portugal regained the public’s attention. Since then, only two retrospectives have been held, one in 1958 and one in 2016, both at the Grand Palais in Paris.

Tope Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, “The Hawks”, 1912, India Ink on Paper, 27 x 24.3 cm, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum

Bottom Insert Image: Amadeo de Souza Cordoso, “Self Portrait”, 1913, Graphite on Paper, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum