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Francesco Clemente
Semen: large scale expressionist nude male figure portrait, floating in pink

1987

About the Item

This large scale, ethereal portrait depicts a tranquil male nude figure floating in pink and blue. Based on a tempera painting, an expressionist, emotive piece to bring dramatic impact to the bedroom or living room. Paper 54 x 90.5 in. / 137 x 230 cm Image 40.75 x 66.25 in. / 103.2 x 168.6 cm Etching, aquatint, dry point and soft ground in colors, with collage in silver, on Fabriano Rosaspina paper. Edition 55 with 15 artist's proofs: this impression 28/55. Signed and numbered by the artist, and stamped 2RC. Based on Clemente's 1983-84 tempera painting of the same name. Published by 2RC Edizioni d’Arte – Rome. One of Francesco Clemente's most ambitious, graphic, and reproduced works, Semen features a simple foreshortened dark brown outline of the naked artist, on an expanse of pinkish-red. A white line attached to an arrowhead defines the side of his head. Soft expanses of yellow and rose fill in the lines of his body, and his lips are tinted red. The composition is bounded by a striking cobalt blue frame. Clemente's painterly, soft mark-making infuses even his most esoteric and erotic subjects with warmth and meaning. The artist has said "Fluidity is the source of the work. Fluidity is the goal of the work." Here this fluidity is literal; he floats towards the viewer as if suspended in a post-coital haze, or perhaps in amniotic fluid. Clemente positions his own body as both creator and created, a duality that the artist frequently employs: symbols of mortality and eternity, femininity and masculinity, fertility and death, positioned side by side. A prodigious producer of paintings, drawing, and prints, Clemente frequently depicts the nude human form, including intimate self-portraits and couples in erotic embrace. Clemente’s visual language combines art-historical reference and ancient mythology with images of nature, imbuing figurative scenes with a dreamy spirituality. Sex, violence, death and birth provide equal inspiration for Clemente’s nomadic soul-searching. Clemente was born in Naples, Italy, and raised surrounded by the images of Greco-Roman myth and the art of Italian masters. At the age of 21, Clemente travelled to India, where he would later move, immersing himself in the cultural and spiritual traditions of Madras. A fixture of the New York art scene since the 1980’s, he has collaborated with authors such as Allen Ginsberg and Alberto Savinio (the brother of Giorgio de Chirico) to produce numerous books, including The Departure of the Argonaut. Clemente divides his time between New York, Rome and India. He has exhibited at Blain Southern Gallery, London and Berlin; James Cohan Shanghai, Daniel Templon, Paris; and Mary Boone, New York. This etching is in the collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Tate, London; and the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas.
  • Creator:
    Francesco Clemente (1952, Italian)
  • Creation Year:
    1987
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 54 in (137.16 cm)Width: 90.5 in (229.87 cm)
  • Medium:
  • Movement & Style:
  • Period:
  • Condition:
    This print was acquired from the publisher in 1986 on publication and has been stored in a flat file since that time.
  • Gallery Location:
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU121125283432

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