Art cannot be divided from life

Ettore Spalletti’s niece on the painter's generous art and legacy

Exhibition views from the Ettore Spalletti exhibition “Ombre d’azur, transparence” at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco - Villa Paloma. Image credits: Werner Hannapel, VG-Bildkunst Bonn, 2019.

Exhibition views from the Ettore Spalletti exhibition “Ombre d’azur, transparence” at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco - Villa Paloma. Image credits: Werner Hannapel, VG-Bildkunst Bonn, 2019.

Exhibition views from the Ettore Spalletti exhibition “Ombre d’azur, transparence” at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco - Villa Paloma. Image credits: Werner Hannapel, VG-Bildkunst Bonn, 2019.

Exhibition views from the Ettore Spalletti exhibition “Ombre d’azur, transparence” at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco - Villa Paloma. Image credits: Werner Hannapel, VG-Bildkunst Bonn, 2019.

“When they describe my work as monochromatic, I often say that I’m actually a figurative painter.”

Challenging preconceptions and expectations comes in many forms and shapes. Especially so in the contemplative work of 79 year-old Ettore Spalletti and his “Ombre d’azur, transparence,” a new project especially conceived for Nouveau Musée de Monaco, of which UBS is Main Partner. The UBS Art Collection also features splendid examples of his work.

Spalletti’s art can be described as generous in its ability to take the viewer in, offering an unexpected and soothing experience. The artist’s humanity, attachment to family values and legacy have also been a model for his niece Benedetta.

Benedetta Spalletti embraced art as a career thanks to her parents’ love and support for the artistic scene in Pescara, Italy, as well as Ettore’s devotion to art as a way of living. Since 2001, she has been the director of internationally renowned Vistamare art gallery and, together with Lodovica Busiri Vici, Vistamarestudio in Milan, which opened in 2018. She described her relation to her uncle as “special,” reminiscing of her walks with him to his studio in the countryside.

Her uncle’s mentorship and legacy are described in sincere terms: “What he shared with me was an open-minded model of life, and that art cannot be divided from life. As a woman and a business owner, I’ve used this sensibility as a value."

This sensibility is transparently conveyed by uncle Ettore’s own words. When asked what it means to be an artist, his reply strikes as crystalline: “To live and work in the present. Actual life.” 

An actual life that, in the artist’s case, is steeped in the pale blue and pink sunrises of his native land and place of work, Abruzzo, Italy. Those landscapes have informed his work since the early 70’s, when he started developing his unique brand of minimalism. His paintings and sculptures are the result of weeks of pigment layering and surface treatment, bringing out a myriad shades of color.

Facing them requires a complete shift in perspective. It is an experience that invites the viewer to slow down, to linger and wander. You can almost feel yourself living, experiencing color as a metaphor for universal feelings and emotions.

“Ombre d’azur, transparence” will be on view at Nouveau Musée de Monaco – Villa Paloma until November 3, 2019.

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