José Pedro Costigliolo (1902 - 1985)

Palacio de la música (1929)
The Music Palace

Acrylic on card
height: 20cm
width: 14cm

Donated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro 1994


This work is ESCALA's earliest example of Costigliolo's work and was produced in 1929, four years after he graduated from Montevideo's Círculo de Bellas Artes. At this time Costigliolo was employed as an advertising graphic designer but was also painting in a post-cubist or purist style. The image makes use of four layers of colour paint, cleverly using 'negative' white shapes as a fifth colour. It is possible that this small work was a trial for a larger poster.

The hard edges of the instrument, musical notes and text form the basis of an iconography common to both graphic printing and the hard-edge figurative painting that Costigliolo was experimenting with at the time. A number of aspects of this small work were to inform his later paintings. While he explored figurative elements in painting for another 20 years his nascent interest in harmonising blocks of strong geometric colour was to influence his later completely non-figurative constructivist paintings. His mature works also frequently make use of play between positive and negative shapes such as the negative white notes seen in this work. These later works would also draw on the aesthetic of non-expressive, flat paint, disguising the man-made as a product of the machine age.

Rebecca Wills, 2008

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