Berenson Fine Art

Exhibition: MARCO SASSONE: Body Of Work

Dates: April 18 – May 5, 2024

Opening reception: Thursday, April 18 – 6-9 pm

 Berenson Fine Art is pleased to announce the exhibition Marco Sassone: Body of Work from April 18 to May 5, 2024. The show will feature 16 works from various periods of the artist’s career. The inclusion of new pieces created especially for this exhibition will allow visitors to explore the artist’s powerful research into the relationship between images and reality and the connection between his personal life and our collective history. Marco Sassone has enjoyed international acclaim as a painter for over forty years. He was born in Florence and today lives and works in Toronto. The most poignant and enduring of his influences can be traced back to his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence in the 1960s with painter Silvio Loffredo, himself a student of the Austrian master Oscar Kokoschka. His teachers’ agitated brushstrokes and vibrant colours appealed to Sassone, offering the artist a foundation that has remained constant throughout his career. Writing for the exhibition catalogue Master and Pupil (San Francisco: Museo Italo Americano, 2001), art historian Peter Selz, former curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, had this comment:

“…done with an agitated brush, [Sassone’s paintings] elicit a fervent emotion, comparable to the sensations evoked by the canvasses of Kokoschka himself. He found the homeless a compelling subject for very powerful paintings in which a fascinating effect is achieved by the contrast of the misery of the motif and the eloquence of his vigorous brushwork.”

Marco Sassone gained international recognition for his groundbreaking exhibition Home on the Streets that opened in San Francisco and travelled to Los Angeles, Florence and Toronto. His body of work encompasses a wide spectrum of subjects, including urban landscapes, portraits and natural environments.  His current series of railroad track paintings lead the artist further into a dramatic engagement with his past, yet also offer the prospect of moving forward in his current life and on into the future.“My purpose,” Sassone notes, “is to paint images that capture an emotional state common to humanity, a state conveyed to the audience in a way to tap the ‘truth’—our shared truth—the condition of being awake to the perplexing significance of our existence today.” In an interview with the artist for NY ARTS in May 2001, Francis Mill observed: “Sassone began his journey towards assimilation, not of culture but of the human spirit.”

The artist’s work is deeply indebted to the history of European painting and portraiture, with a particular emphasis on the status of power, reconnecting with the archetypes of centuries-old conventions of representation. More at ease with his brushes than with theory, Marco Sassone has continued to employ the figurative style he learned in his youth in Florence. In an era of mass reproduction and the digital exploitation of imagery, his subjects express the tension between conventional forms and contemporary relevance, thus inviting interpretation in a classical as well as a modern perspective.

The artist’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions, at the National Academy of Design, New York (1977); Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (1988); Berheim-Jeune, Paris (1988); Cloisters of Santa Croce, Florence (1997); Pietrasanta Museum, Pietrasanta, Italy (2003); San Angelo Museum of Fine Art, San Angelo, Texas (2014); Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto (2016); Columbus Centre, Toronto (2019). Significant among the numerous books and catalogues that have been published about Sassone’s work is the monograph “Sassone” (1979) by art historian Donelson Hoopes, one-time senior curator of American Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Sassone’s autobiography, American Journey: My Life in Art was released in March 2023.

Marco Sassone was knighted into the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic by President Sandro Pertini in 1982.

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