The informal art

In the Fifties an art tendency focused on going beyond the figurative art in favour of an expressive research linked to the gesture and the sign, developed. The material became the primary element for this poetic trend and Leoncillo and Fontana firstly were the creators of a new expressivity. The informal research was also connected to the contemporary existentialist philosophy, characterized in some cases by anarchic attitudes aiming at establishing the artist’s own conscience, denouncing the aberrations of the war, refusing a technocratic society presaging the nuclear war drift. Different creative attitudes characterized the painting and the sculpture: all of them showed the tendency to the gestural art, and extremely focused on materials, including the painting. Even if the peak of informal art was in the Sixties, frequent models characterised also the following years (until nowadays), as testified by the works by Valentini and the young Cerone.


Leoncillo Leonardi


cm 40x60x16.5

Leoncillo was the real great protagonist and innovator of the Italian ceramic sculpture in the Post War period. He was active in the new Artistic Italian Secession movement. He faced a neo-cubist sculpture in the Fourties and later a free modelling of the clay, integrate to the informal art. He was heir of Fontana in considering the material as a magmatic transforming surface. This work represents the artist’s “informal” period. 

War prisoners

Marcello Fantoni

Glazed earthenware

Height cm 73 diameter 26


Giacinto Cerone


cm 74x26x28

“sui generis” heir of Fontana and Valentini’s poetics, Cerone was a great interpreter of contemporary sculpture where he joined different materials following a continuous experimentation focused on harmonizing their differences. The artist carefully read the past tradition and adapted the clay to a new state with sometimes amazing results which gave a new material dimension of the sculpture.