Pierre Ambrogiani (1907-1985)
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Pierre Ambrogiani was born on the island of Corsica, and strangely, never attended art school or had art instruction of any kind. Ambrogiani would go on to exhibit his work in Marseille, Paris and New York, despite his lack of artistic instruction. Perhaps, due to never being academically exposed to Classical elements or new styles of painting, Ambrogiani became categorized as an Expressionist. However, for being a self-taught artist, Ambrogiani’s style is anything but naïve, and he became well-recognized and respected.
Known for his Mediterranean landscapes, Ambrogiani would paint them in very thick brush strokes. In many cases, the paint left on his canvas would be left to dry at nearly an inch thick.
Ambrogiani was also an engraver, but he is generally known for this wild style of painting in bright, warm tones and thick brush strokes.
In many ways, Ambrogiani could almost be mistaken as a Fauvist—a group of painters known as “wild beasts”, who painted with passionate brush strokes and saturated color. Alas, Ambrogiani’s style was similar to theirs, but he was never officially affiliated with them.
One thing to be noted about Ambrogiani is his strikingly beautiful signature. He would sometimes sign on the front of his pieces in a beautiful cursive hand, like on this lithograph “Tossing Hay.”
Because Ambrogiani is so well-known for his bold warm hues and almost strictly Mediterranean scenes, it may be hard to authenticate work outside of his normal output. This piece of Ambrogiani’s, for example, is an oil-on-board café scene of Montmartre and it is a stark contrast from his usual work. Only an authenticator can distinguish whether works like this are fakes. In truth, sometimes they are not, but are simply disregarded for a number of reasons.
By 1973, Ambrogiani became very ill and created no work from this time until his death in 1985. Therefore, most work by Ambrogiani would probably be dated from approximately the late 1920s to the early 1970s. Though not as well-known as his contemporaries, even Ambrogiani’s signed sketches bring in a high price at auction today.
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