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Italo Scanga
Abstract Geometric Cubist Painted Wood Sculpture Head Italian Neo Figurative Art




This painted wood assemblage sculpture by Italo Scanga, epitomizes the characteristics of his oeuvre. Polychrome head portrait bust. This was signed on a brass or bronze plaque but that has gone missing. It is unsigned. I believe there might be a studio stamp on the bottom. Italo Scanga (June 6, 1932 - July 7, 2001), an Italian-born American artist, was known for his sculptures, prints and, paintings, mostly created from found objects. In his youth in Calabria, Italy he worked as a cabinetmaker's apprentice and studies sculpture with a man who carved statues of saints. Italo Scanga was an innovative neo Dada, neo-Expressionist, and neo-Cubist multimedia artist who made assemblage, collage, sculptures of ordinary objects and created prints, glass, and ceramic works. Modern Italian abstract geometric folk art. Scanga's materials included natural objects like branches and seashells, as well as kitsch figurines, castoff musical instruments and decorative trinkets salvaged from flea markets and thrift shops. He combined these ingredients into free-standing assemblages, which he then painted. Although visually ebullient, the results sometimes referred to gruesome episodes from Greek mythology or the lives and deaths of martyred saints. He considered his artistic influences to be sweepingly pan-cultural, from African sculpture to Giorgio de Chirico. He often collaborated with the sculptor Dale Chihuly, who was a close friend. Constructed of wood and glass, found objects or fabric, his ensembles reflect a trio of activities—working, eating, and praying. These activities dominate the lives of those who live close to the land, but they are also activities that are idealized by many who contemplate, romantically, a simpler, bucolic life. Italo graduated from Michigan State University where he befriended fellow artists Richard Merkin and David Pease. He studied under Lindsey Decker who introduces him to welding and sculpture after his initial interest in photography. Also studies with Charles Pollock, the brother of Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock. His first teaching job was at University of Wisconsin (through 1964). where he met Harvey Littleton, a fellow instructor. He later moves to Providence, Rhode Island,I to teach at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Is colleagues with artists Richard Merkin and Hardu Keck. Starts a correspondence with HC Westermann. Spends summers teaching at Brown University; colleague of Hugh Townley. Moves to State College, PA, and teaches at Pennsylvania State University for one year. Meets artists Juris Ubans, Harry Anderson, Richard Frankel, and Richard Calabro, who remain friends throughout his career. 1967: David Pease helps him get a tenure track position at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA, . Artists he works closely with include Ernest Silva, Lee Jaffe, Donald Gill, and William Schwedler. Meets graduate student Dale Chihuly while lecturing at RISD and develops a lifelong friendship. 1969: One person exhibition, Baylor Art Gallery, Baylor University, Waco, TX. Works very closely with students Larry Becker and Heidi Nivling (who later run a gallery in Philadelphia, PA), and Harry Anderson. Welcomes many artists into his home including Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman (a former student), Vito Acconci, Ree Morton and Rafael Ferrer. 1973: "Saints Glass" at 112 Greene Street Gallery, NYC. Installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Meets Gordon Matta Clark and contributes to an artist cookbook. Goes to Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA, founded by Dale Chihuly, as a visiting artist. He continues to work there annually through 2001. Works over the years with Pilchuck artists Richard Royal, Seaver Leslie, Jamie Carpenter, Joey Kirkpatrick, Flora Mace, Robbie Miller, Billy Morris, Buster Simpson, Toots Zynsky, Howard Ben Tre, and Therman Statom. 1978: Moves permanently to La Jolla to teach at UCSD with Newton and Helen Harrison, David and Eleanor Antin, Manny Farber, Patricia Patterson, and Allan Kaprow. The Dale Chihuly "Macchia" series was named by Italo Scanga, only after Dale Chihuly's mother Viola Chihuly called the series of glass the "Uglies". 1982: Exhibits at Charles Cowles Gallery, NYC. Creates woodcuts with Chip Elwell. 1983: Marries Stephanie Smedley. Included in the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC. Exhibits "Archimedes Troubles: Sculptures and Drawings" at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, "Italo Scanga Heads" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and "Italo Scanga: Sculptures" as titled at the Delahunty Gallery, NYC. "Animal in Danger" and "Montecassino" series made. Working with studio assistants Ryk Williams and Dan Britton. 1984: Constructs "Figure Holding Fire", with his son Joe, at Santa Barbara Museo, Mammola, Italy, his first public commission. Joe and he continue doing the public commissions together through the years. Included in "Primitivism in 20th Century Art" at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC. Has his first one-person show in Florida at the Bruce Helander Gallery. 1986: His first retrospective, "Italo Scanga: Recent Sculpture and Drawings" at the Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA. Shows at John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CA; the Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia, PA; and Bette Stoler, NYC. 1988: Purchases 961 Turquoise Street studio, San Diego, CA. Exhibits at Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy; Anders Tornberg Gallery, Lund, Sweden; Dorothy Goldeen Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Larry Becker Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; and Germans Van Eck Gallery, NYC. Commission for the City of San Jose, CA, "Figure Holding the Sun."


  • Creator
    Italo Scanga (1932, American, Italian)
  • Creation Year
  • Dimensions
    Height: 24.5 in. (62.23 cm)Width: 18 in. (45.72 cm)Depth: 14 in. (35.56 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
    good. minor wear. please see photos.
  • Gallery Location
    Bal Harbour, FL
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU3826399412

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    $125 Standard Parcel Shipping
    to United States 0, arrives in 7-11 days.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Bal Harbour, FL
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    A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.

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4.9 / 5
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