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Photographic reproduction on masonite panel mounted on a stretcher

26 x 19 cm

Signed and dated on the verso on a white paper square: "Giulio Paolini 1963"

Fondazione Giulio e Anna Paolini, Turin

Gift of the artist, 25 October 2012, archive no. GPO-0041

A colour reproduction of Bronzino’s Eleanor of Toledo (ca. 1560) by Alessandro Allori1 is mounted on a masonite support with adhesives on the back so that it protrudes from the stretcher that is just slightly wider. On the verso, an image cut out of a geometric drawing handbook depicts a close-knit grid in which the letter “E” is legible in the central square of the first column to the left.
This work is part of a group of works (from GPO-0028 to GPO-0049) whose common denominator is the presence of an intervention on both the recto and the verso of the painting. Surfaces of various types take turns appearing on the recto (painted paper, graph paper, photographic reproductions, shaped
wooden panels), while on the verso (hidden from view) we find the details of images and printed words taken from magazines or from books. The title, when specified, refers to a textual element present on the verso. The artist explains that: “Just as on the surface various elements alternate among themselves, but always remain ‘blind’, in the sense that they tend not to supply an image, but are there for their own sake, occupying that given space, so the title itself is absolutely autonomous with respect to the surface [...], constituted by a fragment of words and, at times, images, following the signature and the date, on a white paper square on the back of the picture” (1972).2
E, just as in two other works from the same year (GPO-0042, GPO-0043), an image appears in its own right for the first time. The choice of subjects does not follow any logical criterion; the image is first of all involved as such: the "iconography is random, almost involuntary", says the artist; "the image is as though it were the image of the image, almost as if to justify the very existence of the painting".3
Along with the variant of Van Dyck's
Portrait of a Lady (GPO-0042), the work is also the first "citation" of an old master painting.

1 For a long time, the authorship of this painting was unclear owing to the soubriquet for Alessandro Allori, who was often referred to as “Bronzino”, like his master, Agnolo di Cosimo, notoriously known as "il Bronzino".
2 G. Paolini in G. Celant, Giulio Paolini (New York: Sonnabend Press, 1972), p. 34; republished in Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, edited by G. Celant (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2003), p. 122 (revised translation); reprint (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2019), p. 34. Cf. also the artist's remarks in C. Lonzi, Autoritratto (Bari: De Donato Editore, 1969), p. 367; reprint (Milan: Et al./Edizioni, 2010), p. 280; English edition (Brussels-London: Divided Publiishing, 2021), p. 320..
3 G. Paolini in G. Celant, Giulio Paolini, op. cit. (New York: 1972), p. 33; republished in Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, op. cit. (Milan: 2003), p. 110 (revised translation).

Alessandro Allori, Ritratto di Eleonora di Toledo, c. 1560, oil on wood, 52 x 42 cm, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.

1976 Parma, Palazzo della Pilotta, Sala delle Scuderie, Giulio Paolini, 11 March - 21 April, repr. no. 35 (recto).
1977 Mannheim, Mannheimer Kunstverein, Giulio Paolini, 31 July - 28 August, repr. p. 21 (recto), referred to in the text by P. Maenz p. 20.
1982 Villeurbanne, Le Nouveau Musée, Une introduction à l'œuvre de Giulio Paolini 1960/70. Artiste invité de l’année, 16 September - 31 October, no catalogue.
1984 Villeurbanne, Le Nouveau Musée, Giulio Paolini, 20 January - 18 March, vol. Images/Index, repr. p. 11 (recto).
1985-86 Montreal, Musée d’art contemporain, Giulio Paolini, 7 July - 8 September, touring to: Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery, 29 November 1985 - 19 January 1986, same catalogue as for the solo exhibition in Villeurbanne e 1984.
1986 Charleroi, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Giulio Paolini, 15 February - 30 March, same catalogue as for the solo exhibition in Villeurbanne 1984.
1994-95 New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968, 7 October 1994 - 22 January 1995, touring to: Wolfsburg, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 22 April - 13 August 1995, col. repr. no. 181 (recto, cropped on all four sides).
1998-99 Siena, Palazzo delle Papesse, Centro Arte Contemporanea, Itinere. 1, 21 November 1998 - 30 January 1999, repr. in the exhibition guide n. pag. (exhibition view, in the upper image the work is visible down to the right).
2003 Milan, Fondazione Prada, Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, 29 October - 18 December, cited in the checklist of exhibited works p. 398, col. repr. pp. 70-71 (recto and verso).
G. Paolini in G. Celant, Giulio Paolini (New York: Sonnabend Press, 1972), pp. 30-31; republished in Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, edited by G. Celant (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2003), pp. 110, 122; reprint (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2019).
G. Celant, Giulio Paolini (New York: Sonnabend Press, 1972), pp. 28-31, 66, repr. no. 20 p. 31 (recto); republished in Giulio Paolini 1960-1972, edited by Id. (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2003), pp. 110, 122, 226; reprint (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2019).
G. Celant, “Image of the Image”, in Art and Artists 9, no. 98 (London), May, 1974, pp. 13, 16, repr. p. 13; republished in Id., Senza titolo 1974 (Rome: Bulzoni, 1976), pp. 259, 261, not repr.
F. Menna, La linea analitica dell’arte moderna. Le figure e le icone (Turin: Giulio Einaudi editore, 1975), repr. no. 62.
Identité Italienne. L’art en Italie depuis 1959, edited by G. Celant (Paris-Florence: Centre Georges Pompidou and Centro Di, 1981), repr. p. 546 (recto).
M. Scholz-Hänsel, “Das imaginäre Museum Giulio Paolinis”, in Giulio Paolini, exhibition catalogue, Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, 1986, vol. 2, pp. 9, 16, repr. p. 6 (recto).
F. Poli, “Note di lettura”, in Id., Giulio Paolini (Turin: Lindau, 1990), p. 33, not repr.; republished in Giulio Paolini. Von heute bis gestern / Da oggi a ieri, exhibition catalogue, Graz, Neue Galerie im Landesmuseum Joanneum (Ostfildern-Ruit: Cantz Verlag, 1998), p. 53.
Memoria del futuro. Arte Italiano desde las primeras vanguardias a la posguerra, exhibition catalogue, Madrid, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Milan: Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri, 1990), repr. p. 186 (recto).
F. Poli, “Giulio Paolini”, in Giulio Paolini al Palazzo della Ragione, exhibition catalogue, Padua, Salone del Palazzo della Ragione (Milan: Fabbri Editori, 1995), p. 32, not repr.
D. Lancioni, “Introduzione”, in Roma in mostra 1970 1979. Materiali per la documentazione di mostre azioni performance dibattiti, edited by Id. (Rome: Edizioni Joyce & Co., 1995), p. 17, not repr.
Giulio Paolini. Von heute bis gestern / Da oggi a ieri, op. cit. (Ostfildern-Ruit: 1998), col. repr. p. 198 (recto).
D. Lancioni, “Giulio Paolini”, in Oggi per domani. Cinque artisti contemporanei nella Collezione BSI, exhibition catalogue, Lugano, Museo Cantonale d’Arte (Milan: Skira editore, 2001), p. 48, repr. p. 49 (recto).
D. Lancioni, “Squadratura, quadro, quadrante”, in Giulio Paolini: Quadrante. Viaggio intorno a un’idea di esposizione, exhibition catalogue (Rome: Edizioni dell’Oca, 2002), pp. 60-61, not repr.
D. Lancioni, “Tano Festa. Da Mondrian a Michelangelo”, in Tano Festa. Da Mondrian a Michelangelo. Opere dal 1963 al 1978, exhibition catalogue, Rome, Cinecittàdue arte contemporanea, 2004, p. 35, not repr.
M. Disch, Giulio Paolini. Catalogo ragionato 1960-1999, vol. 1 (Milan: Skira editore, 2008), cat. no. 41 p. 76, col. repr. (recto and verso).
F. Boràgina, “D come disegno - Giulio Paolini”, in Boîte 01, no. 03 (Lissone), autumn, 2009, n. pag., repr. (verso).
F. Pola, “Media immateriali per materializzare il tutto. Fotografia e film nell'Arte Povera”, in Arte povera 2011, edited by G. Celant (Milan: Mondadori Electa, 2011), p. 603, not repr.
L. Meloni, Arte guarda arte (Milan: Postmedia Books, 2013), p. 25, not repr.
J. Meinhardt, Giulio Paolini. Senza titolo, 1961. In collezione 3 (Turin-Mantua: Fondazione Giulio e Anna Paolini and Corraini Edizioni, 2015), pp. 52, 64, col. repr. p. 71 (recto).
F. Pola, “L’immagine mediata”, in Imagine. Nuove immagini nell’arte italiana 1960-1969, exhibition catalogue, Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Venice: Marsilio Editori, 2016), p. 193, not repr.
C. Zambianchi, “Riflesso nel tempo. Note sul senso della storia nell’opera di Giulio Paolini”, in S. Bann et al., Il passato al presente. In tema 2 (Turin-Mantua: Fondazione Giulio e Anna Paolini and Corraini Edizioni, 2016), pp. 14, 16, 20, col. repr. pp. 8 (recto), 95 (verso).
D. Soutif, “Filigrane. Paolini, il primo quadro e la storia dell’arte”, ibid., pp. 92, 94; republished in French in Les Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne 137 (Paris), Autumn, 2016, pp. 79-80, repr. p. 90 (recto and verso).
A. Bruciati, “Dalla linea al graffio: pratiche aperte a un confronto agonistico (1959-1981)”, in Versus. La sfida dell’artista al suo modello in un secolo di fotografia e disegno, exhibition catalogue, Modena, Galleria Civica (Cinisello Balsamo: Silvana Editoriale, 2016), p. 29, not repr.
A. Tinterri, “Strumenti di ricerca. Giulio Paolini”, in #AImagazine - The Art Review 76, Summer (Parma), 2017, col. repr. p. 13 (recto).
N. Cullinan, “Towards a Poor Theater. Giulio Paolini’s Scenographies in the 1970s”, in TV70: Francesco Vezzoli guarda la RAI, exhibition catalogue, Milan, Fondazione Prada, 2017, p. 218, not repr.
C. Zambianchi, “L’’incerto esito’: note sul fotografico in Giulio Paolini e Giuseppe Penone”, in Lo specchio delle notizie differenti. Memoria, fotografia, arti visive. Studi per Marina Miraglia, edited by M.F. Bonetti, F. Faeta and M. Maffioli (Rome: Campisano Editore, [2021]), p. 212, not repr.
Entry by Maddalena Disch , 23/02/2024