Enzo Cucchi and the Transavanguardia Movement
Article written by Eleonora Bona on October 9, 2020
Enzo Cucchi was born in 1949 in a village near Ancona. He grew up in the capital with his uncles, where he began to paint by himself, winning some painting prizes. For some time, he set aside his brushes and began writing poetry. His life took often him to Rome, where he met Sandro Chia and Francesco Clemente, which together with other young artists, they created the artistic movement of Transavanguardia.
The new artistic movement, headed by Achille Bonito Oliva, aimed to rediscover the manual skill and the joy of painting.
Also born as a kind of reaction to Conceptual Painting, extremely popular in that historical period, the Transavanguardia wanted to rediscover the local roots and folk traditions of the artists using classic canvas and brush.
All artistic works show fantastic images related to popular culture expressed in total expression’s freedom. The canvases are presented with strong colors, lively, scratching.
Enzo Cucchi decided to embrace these themes and also took part in this movement. He began to put all his interiority in the canvas, drawing inspiration from a poetic world which echoes the traditions of his homeland. With the invasiveness of the creative gesture he was able to enclose in the canvas forms, concepts, materials; everything that pervaded the artist’s mind (images, memories, thoughts) creating an alternative universe that captures the gaze of the observer leaving him suspended with a thousand thoughts, questions, doubts.
Enzo Cucchi’s canvases, like his fellow painters of the Transavanguardia, also have vivid colors, thickened and then stretched, put on the canvas with a violent gesture and then hinted through the use of more pictorial techniques.
Enzo Cucchi has made numerous solo and group exhibitions, exhibiting in the largest Italian and foreign exhibition spaces such as Kunsthalle in Basel (1980), Guggenheim Museum, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1982), the Tate Gallery in London (1983), the Museum Würth in Künzelsau (Germany, 1998), the XXXIX Venice Biennale, the XI Paris Biennale (1980), Westkunst in Cologne (1981), the IV Sydney Biennale, Documenta 7 in Kassel and Zeitgeist in Berlin (1982).
Enzo Cucchi, Untitled, 2014, https://www.pinterest.it/
He collaborates with many important galleries, particularly with Bruno Bischofberger in Zurich (since 1981), the Mary Boone-Michael Werner in New York (1984), Bernd Klüser in Munich (1985-1992), Daniel Templon in Paris (1985), Marlborough Gallery in New York (1988), Akira Ikeda Gallery in Tokyo (1984 and 1989), Blum Helman in New York (1994), Galerie Raab in Berlin, Pièce Unique in Paris (1995), Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York (1997).
Several prestigious museums dedicate to him, personal exhibitions, including the Kunsthaus in Zurich (1982 and 1988), the Caja de Pensiones in Madrid (1985), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (1986), the Lenbachhaus in Munich (1987), the Vienna Secession (1988), the Luigi Pecci Center in Prato (1989) and the Civic Gallery in Modena (1990), the Kunsthalle in Hamburg, the Fundaciò Joan Mirò in Barcelona and the Carrè d'Art in Nîmes (1991).
The Transavanguardia is a movement recognized and appreciated all over the world, especially in Italy (birthplace of the movement) and in the United States.
Unfortunately, the art market brought these unlucky artists only in 1999 and 2002.
On November 18, 1999, Sotheby’s auctioned a private collection of Contemporary European artists. 17 lots auctioned off were by Transavanguardia artists, Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia and Enzo Cucchi. These works were a great success, generating a total of over $1million and a work by Francesco Clemente, Experience of Love, auctioned for $310,500 after being estimated at $70,000-$90,000. For 10 years, the three major artists of this current were forgotten by the auction market.
In 2002, there was the second wave of price rise, especially in America; works by Sandro Chia, Amria Palu and Francesco Clemente in an Italian auction of Chistie’s at 18 dicember 2006. In that auction, works of Mimmo Paladino as drown light, were auctioned betweem $30,000-$40,000, Discovered of the fire to 27 years (Scoperta del Fuoco a 27 anni) of Enzo Cucchi auctione with an estimated between $1,000-1,5000.
As for Enzo Cucchi the situation is slightly different. This Transavanguardia artist, unlike his fellow artists, had a totally different turnover. According to Artprice.net, the artist boomed between 2006 ($ 2,215.218) and 2008 ($1,349.745).
This first twenty-year period of the 21st century, 42% of Enzo Cucchi’s works were sold in Italy, charging $4,189,058, in Britain 46% billed $4,557,863, and in the remaining 12%, the artist billed $1,206,410.
Distribution by price segment (by Artprice)
The most part of works were sold in the range of $100,000-$500,000. In 2006, the work sold at the highest allotment price. It was sold on June 22, 2006 at Chistie’s auction, the work sold was titled Quadro Santo (1980) and reached $92,225-$129,115.
Enzo Cucchi, Quadro Santo, 1980, by Artprice
On 11 October, the Italian auction house Meeting art will auction Offerta, a painting from 2003 measuring 20x30cm with an auction base of € 8,000.