Mario Schifano: Monocromi

2 October - 23 November 2018

M&L Fine Art is delighted to present an exhibition dedicated to the artist Mario Schifano, with a special focus on the artist’s ‘Monochromes’: a series of paintings realized by the Roman artist between 1960 and 1962.


Schifano’s Monochromes works were executed by using enamel on canvas paper sheets, which were subsequently laid on irregular stretchers, and are characterized by a uniform coat of one or more colors.

These are therefore not traditional Monochrome, but works in which the compositional spaces are reduced to the minimum and are simply laid next to one another, without the intention to create any sense of depth.


The spontaneous flow of colour in Schifano’s works is sometimes interrupted by numbers and letters, apparently with no particular meaning, that seem to emerge from the surface like casual signs.

Ar critics has often considered these works by Schifano as a reaction to diffusion the informal style, which in between the late 50’s and early 60’s has started to be criticised by some of the most interested art critics of the time.


Already in 1958 conceptual artist Piero Manzoni, Italian equivalent of Yves Klein, focused on the complete reset of the pictorial surface and worked towards a rigorous monochrome unit in his works.

In the same years in Rome, artists of the group of Piazza del Popolo, such as Schifano, Angeli, Festa, Uncini and Lo Savio, re-elaborated the attitude of the Milan group of Manzoni and Castellani, who in exhibited in Rome in 1960). The roman artists in fact aim to reach the beauty and sensuality of color, by applying it on the canvas with large brush stroked and let it drip freely on the surface.


The gallerist Sonia Sonnabend soon became aware of the originality of Schifano’s Monochromes and asked him to sign a contract to exhibit his works in her gallery in Paris. It is worth noticing that during those years a direct contact between Rome and NY was established that resulted in a mutual exchange of artists between the two cities.