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Mino Argento

Mino Argento
Born (1927-01-05) January 5, 1927
Rome, Italy
Nationality Italian, American
Known for Painter, Architect
Movement Abstract Expressionist, Lyrical abstraction, Geometric abstraction, Minimal art, Impressionism, collages, Monochrome painting

Mino Argento (born January 5, 1927) is an Italian artist, whose works comprise abstract paintings on canvas and paper.


  • Life and work 1
    • Artistic style 1.1
    • Rome 1.2
    • New York 1.3
    • Los Angeles 1.4
    • Forty Years of Italian Art 1.5
    • Fourteen Painters 1.6
    • Friuli Art and Monuments (FRIAM) 1.7
  • Exhibitions 2
    • Solo 2.1
    • Group 2.2
  • List of works 3
    • Late 1950s and early 1960s 3.1
    • Late 1960s and early 1970s 3.2
    • 1980s and afterward 3.3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
    • Additional Reference 5.1
  • External links 6

Life and work

Mino Argento was born in Rome, Italy in 1927. He worked in architecture as a young man. His career as an artist began in Italy including a 1968 exhibition at Gallery Astrolobio in Rome presented by Marcello Venturoli the famous Italian writer, poet, and art critic.

Until his arrival in 1969 in New York City Argento was a figurative painter. He left Italy because of his unwillingness to continue painting in a figurative manner, which he felt was expected in Europe. America, it seemed to him, offered other possibilities.

Upon moving to New York, Argento presented one of his first one man exhibitions at the Livingston-Learmonth Gallery in 1974. Argento was the gallery’s opening artist. He was also represented in London, England, by Shusaku Arakawa. Later, in 1983 his work would become part of one of the last (if not the last) shows at the Betty Parsons Gallery after her death in 1982.

Artistic style

In the 1960s Argento worked in oil and canvas collage. Later in the 1970s and 1980s he began to apply an acrylic gesso to prepared canvas, sometimes so thinly brushed that it seemed barely to cover the grayish surface of the canvas. He dealt with the ambiguous subleties of the interplay of positive-negative space. Argento enjoyed contrasting the hardness and the aridity of penciled lines with sensuous layers of oil. He would build up the white gesso, at times adding oil paint, until it could almost be mistaken for collage. He varied the thickness of drawn lines creating an unusual sensitivity for the weight of various forms. Argento meticulously built up his delicate surfaces, so fragile that every gesture was critical, with layer upon transparent layer of gesso, carefully balancing the tone values of the medium against the intensity of his pencil line. Using oil, acrylic and occasionally graphite in conjunction with the gesso, these high-key paintings are not about "being white" but are essentially concerned with the absence color. His background in architecture pervades his paintings through a sense of geometry.


In 1968, Marcello Venturoli said:

And one that reaches far greater results pictorial Impressionism Liberty, now going with a realistic, where love and female sovereign, now with a look more amused than ever to the beloved models, but the implications to the environment, rich the decorative details of backgrounds, collages, compartments, which resemble those of Leonardo Cremonini. But while the figure Cremonini and absorbed from the environment and how indiversificata-a conspiracy that do things on people-here in the most bitter but vital Argento, the figure remains sovereign, it is decorated, is complicated in a dressing gown, in drapery, becomes a goddess of rest and relaxation in a situation so composed and lonely, as alluding to the presence of man.[1]

New York

Mino Argento, New York, 1973

In 1974, John Gruen said:

These are geometric abstractions that could be called “White on White” with their delicate, yet boldly differentiated forms and textures. One can see Argento’s mind and hand attempting something different within the geometric genre. At times he succeeds, at others, he merely echoes the deja-vu syndromes of shape within shape and closed-hued tonality. Still, one is in the presence of a genuine artist, one who has a most felicitous affinity for making the most out of self-imposed limitations of form and color. If at the moment elegance overrides depth.[2]

In 1975, Ellen Lubell said in Arts Magazine:

OK Harris Gallery previously provided a refreshing change of pace. Mino Argento’s four white-on-white paintings were variations on the gridded, rectangle-on-rectangle themes, but were enlivened with differences in rhythm and conception. One composition included grayed grids and vertical rectangles in several, more opaque whites, clustered centrally. The keen sense of proportion, the sense of angularity abut the rectangles, and the cracked paint within one of them that looked like a natural grid contributed to make this painting a finely tuned, complex example of the genre.[3]

In 1977, Noel Frackman said in Arts Magazine:

No lines or forms are extraneous; the application of the paint itself, the juxtapositions of elements all work towards a tense, euclidean harmony. The varying thickness of drawn lines and an unusual sensitivity for the weight of various forms lift these paintings out of the realm of simple geometric constructions into the area of the theoretical. In a sense, these white paintings are philosophical musings on the nature of geometry as pure idea.[4]

In 1977, Michael Florescu said in Arts Magazine:

Is this his rendering of a far distant race-memory, the way in which, for instance, the pyramids came to be built, where the raw material of the structure evolved into the mechanics by which similar enterprises came about in the future? Or are we, at this point in time, to interpret the physical effect of mistiness the deliberate fragmentation and obscuring of the image (elsewhere a seemingly endless vista of virgin grid) as representing no less that visible breath of a concerned Creator![5]
Mino Argento, New York, 1973 #2

In 1977, Nina Ffrench-Frazier said in ARTnews.

Argento deals with the ambiguous subleties of the interplay of positive-negative space. There is more than the mind at first can grasp in these monotone paintings of squares, triangles, grids, and rectangular. Apparently involved with Pythagorean geometry, Argento-much in the same tradition as Filippo Brunelleschi, Bramante and other Renaissance men-is in reality fascinated by the intensely spiritual beauty of Pythagorean philosophy, with which he so marvelously infuses all of his paintings.[6]

In 1980, Michael Florescu said in Arts Magazine.

Is his essay “Vicissitudes of the Square,” Harold Rosenberg Noted, “Painting squares is now no different from painting trees or clowns; the question of the feeling they convey becomes all-important,” Argento conveys feeling by means of his play with perspectives, with units of measurement, with directional symbols, with modes of calculation, and with ventors of suggested light, He creates illusions of refraction, causing the spectator to look at his squares. Argento dramatizes distance by the recognition of affirmations and denials within the same picture plane. This particular effect was identified by Theodor Adorno, when he wrote that "distance is not a safety zone, but a field of tension. It is manifested not in relaxing the claim of ideas to truth, but in delicacy and fragility of thinking." This characteristic may be best appreciated if Argento's paintings are considered for what I believe they are: a valid contemporary form of the traditional still life.[7]

Los Angeles

In 1988, Cathy Curtis said in Los Angeles Times.

Mino Argento's checkerboard-strewn abstractions are an '80s version of the lightweight sensibility of those School of Paris painters who embroidered on the big guys' themes. He specializes in geometric shapes with cloudy edges, expanses of industrial gray touched up with bright-and-airy candy-colored backgrounds. There's a slight bow in the chic direction of architecture (mitered-frame shapes, graph-ruled passages and even the suggestion of a facade or two). It all works best when the shapes are crisp, smartly patterned and manageably small. (Los Angeles premiere exhibition 1988, April Sgro-Riddle Gallery.)[8][9]

Forty Years of Italian Art

Group show of

  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: Exhibition Files: Betty Parsons Gallery Records. Group-Exhibition December 12-December 30, 1978-Photographs. Ruth Vollmer, Mino Argento, Cleve Gray, Calvert Coggeshall, Richard Tuttle. (among others).
  • Archives of America Art Betty Parsons Gallery: Exhibition Files: Exhibition Schedules, 1977–1983 (Mino Argento, Richard Tuttle, Cleve Gray, Richard Tuttle. Minoru Kawabata. (among others).
  • Archives of America Art. Betty Parsons Gallery: General Exhibition Files: Group Exhibition Price Lists, 1980–1983 Mino Argento. (Among other artist).
  • Betty Parsons Gallery Guest Books: Exhibition of Mino Argento, Fanny Brennan (Box 20, Folder 31-. Nov 27- Dec 15 1979 ) -1980
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: Betty Parsons Gallery (Box 28, Folder 32).: Record of Sales/ Mino Argento. (Folder 6) Sep 18, 1980
  • Betty Parsons Gallery Log, 1977–1978. ( Mino Argento Sept 27- Oct 15 1977. Price list) (Box 24, Folder 25, N.2, 130, 133, 162)
  • The Collections Search Center of Smithsonian Institution: Mino Argento, 1927- Folder
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art Records of Betty Parsons Gallery Collection of painting by Mino Argento from 1976, 1977 and 1978. (Box 28, Folder 63 N.2)
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: Sales and Inventory Records: Sales and Purchases. Sales Invoices by Mino Argento (1978, 1979, 1980. Atlantic Richfield Co (Arco).
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: Exhibition Files: Guest Book, 1979–1980 (Mino Argento).
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: Exhibition Files. Exhibition, Mino Argento, 1977–1983. (among others)
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: General Exhibition Files. Lists of Gallery Artists, 1947–1983. Mino Argento. (among others)
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: Exhibition Files: Parsons Galley. General Exhibition Files. Lists of Artists Represented, circa 1947–1983. (Mino Argento)
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: Exhibition Files: Group Exhibitions. Painting (1983), 1983. Mino Argento, Jack Youngerman, David Budd, Calvert Coggshall, Cleve Gray, Lee Hall, Minoru Kawabata, Richard Pousette-Dart, Leon Polk Smith, Hedda Sterne, Ed Zutrau and Sari Dienes (among others)
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: Exhibition Files: Betty Parsons Gallery. Group Exhibitions. Group Exhibition (1978), Photographs, 1978. Ruth Vollmer, Mino Argento, Cleve Gray, Calvert Caggeshall. (among others)
  • Smithsonian Archives of America Art: Betty Parsons Gallery and Warehouse Inventory, Collection. Mino Argento's Paintings from 1979.
  • Getty Union List of Artist Names (Research at the Getty)
  • Mino Argento, Art Appraisal, Artist Paintings
  • Museum of Modern Art Library, Mino Argento file (Los Angeles, Media Release, 1987
  • Henry Allen Moe Papers. Livingstone-Learmonth Gallery. Letter to Henry Allen Moe. Exhibition in 1974 (Mino Argento)
  • Mino Argento : Roma, 24 maggio-15 giugno 1968 presentazione di Marcello Venturoli
  • Yale University Library. Mino Argento Artist file
  • John Gruen A prominent music, dance and art critic
  • Photograph (1979) Betty Parsons in her Gallery in New York with works by artists whom she represents. to the left of Parsons is Ruth Vollmer wooden sculpture, behind her; two pieces by Stephen Porter. On the wall is a Painting by Mino Argento. Risa's Brightly painting construction is to the right, and Michael Malpass metal sculpture is on the table.

External links

Hall, Lee (1991). Betty Parsons: artist, dealer, collector. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated. From cover: Betty Parsons at her gallery, 1979. Work by artists she represent. Painting by Mino Argento, Ruth Vollmer wooden sculpture. (Among others). Photograph by Lisl Steiner. Ruth Vollmer 1961–1978 Thinking The Line, Nadja Rottner and Peter Weibel, editors. p. 220,

Additional Reference

  1. ^ "Mino Argento" presentazione di Marcello Venturoli Roma, 24 maggio -15 giugno 1968. From Biblioteca Di Archeologia E Storia Dell'Arte.
  2. ^ John Gruen "Renoir, Bailey, Argento, Whinnie, MacCoy & Solomon. The SoHo Weekly News, 1974 p. 18
  3. ^ Ellen Lubell, "Group show" Art Magazine, p.11 October 1975
  4. ^ "Mino Argento" by Noel Frackman (Arts Mgazine. P.19 December 1977)
  5. ^ Michael Florescu. "Mino Argento" Arts Magazine V.52 p. 13 November 1977)
  6. ^ "Mino Argento" by Nina Ffrench-Frazier (ARTnews. p.261,262 November, 1977)
  7. ^ "Mino Argento" by Michael Florescu (Arts Magazine. v.54 p.26 February 1980)
  8. ^ Mino Argento's...He specializes in geometric shapes. by Cathy Curtis. Los Angeles Times newspaper, Part VI/ Friday, January 22, 1988 P.16.
  9. ^ CATHY CURTIS (1988-01-22). "Wilshire Center". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  10. ^ "Forty Years of Italian art" by Margaret Betz. Art News, P.174 February,1979 (Nardin Gallery New York.)
  11. ^ From Catalog exhibition. (14) 7 artistes americains, 7 artistes europeens 2-10 Septembre Galeria Doree, Deauville, France 1978
  12. ^ Angelo Candolini Mayor of Udine. (Arte americana contemporanea. Catalogo a cura di Elettra Quargnal, Autore. Volpi Orlandini Marisa. Fagagna(UD), 1980. Mostra Udinese, Set.-Nov. 1980 testo Ital.- Ingl.
  13. ^ Arte americana contemporanea: Udine, Sala Ajace, 20 settembre-16 novembre 1980 : catalogo stituto per l'Enciclopedia del Friuli Venezia Giulia, 1980 - Art - 172 pages (Introduzione di Marisa Volpi Orlandini)
  14. ^ From: Henry Allen Moe Papers(Mss. B. M722), Guggenheim Foundation, at the American Philosophical Society. Communication from Livingston-Learmonth Gallery, New York City.
  15. ^ Ellen Lubell."Group Show" Art Magazine, p.11 October 1975
  16. ^ Book: Ruth Vollmer 1961–1978 Thinking The Line, Nadja Rottner and Peter Weibel, editors. P.220, ISBN 978-3-7757-1786-1
  17. ^ a b The Archives of American Art, Smithsonian, Betty Parsons Gallery Papers, Reel 4087-4089: Exhibition Records, Reel 4108: Artists Files, last names A-B.
  18. ^ Untitled. 1978, (1,27 × 1,02.m). Exhibition Catalog: Casino de Deauville hall et Galerie Doree, 1978.
  19. ^ "7 Artistes Americains, 7 Artistes Europeans". Exhibition Catalog: Casino de Deauville hall et Galerie Doree, 2-10 Septembre, 1978.
  20. ^ Book: Ruth Vollmer 1961–1978 Thinking The Line, Nadja Rottner and Peter Weibel, editors. P.220, ISBN 978-3-7757-1786-1
  21. ^ Margaret Betz. "Forty Years of Italian Art" Art news, p. 174, February, 1979
  22. ^ Archives of American Art. Betty Parsons Gallery Records: General Exhibition Files: Group Exhibition Price Lists, 1980–1983 (Box 19, Folder 10.
  23. ^ Archives of America Art. Betty Parsons Gallery: General Exhibition Files: Group Exhibition Price Lists, 1980–1983 (Box 19, Folder 12.
  24. ^ Archives of American Art. "Detailed description of the Betty Parsons Gallery records and personal papers, circa 1920-1991, bulk 1946-1983 - Digitized Collection | Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution". Retrieved 2014-03-21. 
  25. ^ Marcello Venturoli "Mino Argento" (Catalogo Bolaffi D'arte Moderna. p.20 p.56, 1970)
  26. ^ "Mino Argento" Presentazione di Marcello Venturoli, Roma, 24 Maggio-15 Giugno 1968 Galleria Astrolabio Arte-Roma
  27. ^ Estratto dalla presentazione fatta da Marcello Venturoli per la personale del pittore Mino Argento, tunuta alla Galleria Astrolabio nel giugno 1968:
  28. ^ Civici musei e gallerie di storia e arte (Group Exhibition) "Arte Americana Contemporanea". Sep-Nov, 1980
  29. ^ Livingstone-Learmonth Gallery, New York, 1974 (Mino Argento first exhibition)
  30. ^ "14" 7 Artistes Americains - 7 Artistes Europeens, Exhibition Casino de Deauville hall et Galerie Doree. 2-10 Septembre 1978
  31. ^ (Group Show) Small Room. Betty Parsons Gallery New York. June 2–20, 1981. Box 19, Folder 58 N.12
  32. ^ Group Show december 18. 1979 to January, 1980 Betty Parsons Gallery New York.Box 19, Folder 58 N.1,4,7,10
  33. ^ Arts Magazine Nov, 1979 V.54 N.3 P.61 "Argento" Betty Parsons Gallery
  34. ^ Art News, May 1987. V.86 N.5 P.28. J.P. Natkin Gallery New York "Mino Argento" exhibition May 14- June 13, 1987.


See also

  • Untitled, 1986, Oil on canvas, 36" × 60".[34]
  • Inquietudine Geometria, 1987, Oil on Canvas, 52" × 47".

1980s and afterward

  • Senza titolo, 1973 (Untitled, 1973) Acrilico su tela, 127×127[28]
  • New York, 1973, Oil Acrylic and Gesso, Grids, Square Pencil Lines. White on White. 50" × 50"[29]
  • New York, 1973 #2 Oil, acrylic and gesso, three squares, pencil on canvas. White on White. 50" × 50"
  • Untitled, 1976, Acrylic on Canvas, 48" × 60"
  • "Untitled", 1977, 48" × 59".
  • Untitled, 1977, Acrylic on Canvas, 3512"X 50"
  • "Untitled", 1977, 48"x 59".
  • Untitled or (New York), 1977, Acrylic on Canvas, 25" × 70".
  • "Untitled", 1977, Acrylic/Pencil on Canvas 30"x 30"
  • "Untitled", 1978, 14"x 13.3/4"
  • Untitled', 1978, 1,27 × 1,02 m.[30]
  • Labyrinthus II, 1978, 52"x 68" Oil on Acrylic on Canvas.
  • "Untitled", 1979, 49"x 40", Oil on Acrylic on Canvas.[31]
  • Fragments of a Paradox, 1979, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 57" × 48".
  • Untitled, 1979, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 48"x 40".
  • Janus Two Headed, 1979.
  • Spectrum at 90o, 1979, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 49"x 40".[32]
  • Construction of Three Alternatives, 1979, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 57" × 48".[33]

Late 1960s and early 1970s

  • La Tigre, (The Tiger) Oil e Collage su Tela, 60x 70 cm, 1968.[25]
  • Donna col Drappo Giallo, (Woman with Yellow Drape) 1968. Oil e Collage su Tela.
  • Bagnanti, (Bathers) 1968. Oil e Collage su Tela.
  • Sul Tappeto Giallo, (The Yellow Carpet) 1968. Oil e Collage su Tela.
  • Ragazza Sul Letto, (Girl On Bed) 1968. Oil e Collage su Tela.
  • Nudo,(Naked) 1968.
  • Figura Giacente, (Lying Figure) 1968. Oil e Collage su Tela.
  • Donna Accovacciata, (Woman Squatting) 1968. Private Collection[26]
  • Beauty Salon, (Beauty Salon) 1968. Oil e Collage su Tela.
  • Donna e Macchina, (Woman and Machine) 1968.
  • Donna e Frutta, (Woman and Fruit) 1968.
  • Natura Morta, (Still life) 1968.
  • Pupazza, (Puppet) 1968. Oil e Collage su Tela.
  • Melanzane, (Eggplant) 1968.
  • Il Foglio Bianco, (The white paper) 1968, Oil e Collage su Tela.
  • Scena di Caccia, (Hunting Scenes)1968.
  • Toro al Mattatoio, (Toro at Slaughterhouse) 1968.
  • La Monta, (The Mount) 1968.
  • Piccolo Toro n.1, (Small Toro No.1) 1968.
  • Piccolo Toro n.2, (Little Bull No .2) 1968.
  • La grande Bestia, (The Great Beast) 1968. Oil e Collage su Tela.[27]
  • Paesaggio, (Landscape) 1968. Oil e Collage su Tela.

Late 1950s and early 1960s

List of works




After the 1976 Friuli earthquake, Argento participated with a large group of American artists in donating a large collection of paintings, sculpture, and graphics as a gesture of international solidarity. The creation of the "Friuli Art and Monuments" (FRIAM) committee promoted the collection of the works (Project Rebuild).[12] This exhibit offers an important contribution toward the strengthening of Italian-American relations. The works, donated by over a hundred "American Artist to the Earthquake-struck towns of Friuli", are destined to cohabit in a permanent collection.[13]

Friuli Art and Monuments (FRIAM)

In the words of Theodor Adorno: "All thought has its moment of universality anything well thought out will inevitably be thought of elsewhere by someone else".[11]

The omission stems from a past failure to relate the work of two groups of artists working on opposite sides of rather than of form. The simultaneous development of these studies on both sides of the Atlantic unknown even to the painters involved is the best evidence of their necessity as if the Mondernism of pictoral space was ceasing to be found in reference to flatness, to become an exploration of its own intensities.

Fourteen Painters


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