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Midcentury Abstract Expressionist Watercolor Painting, Salvatore Grippi, Blue



This ink and watercolor figurative abstract expressionist piece on paper is signed by its creator, noted New York School artist Salvatore Grippi. Though undated, the piece is fits in the group of sketches dated to 1952-4. The piece measures approximately 11.75" x 9". One of the original members of the Abstract Expressionist "New York School", Salvatore Grippi (1921-2017) exhibited in two of the famous New York Painting and Sculpture Annuals (1953 and 1957) at the Stable Gallery alongside such artists as William Baziotes, Adolph Gottlieb, Willem de Kooning, Michael Goldberg, and Louise Nevelson. After spending several years in California teaching at Pomona College, Grippi was asked to start the painting department at Ithaca College in 1968 and taught there until 1991. I am honored to have a select number of masterpieces by Grippi from his personal collection. Throughout his long and storied career, Grippi oscillated between the figural and abstract. He seemed to be most comfortable and successful in that liminal space between that which is recognized and that which is felt. His early figural works, of which this ink and watercolor on paper (signed) work is an extraordinary example, are populated with multiple figures, congregating and seemingly effervescing into something completely non-figural all-together. Yes, there are early signs of gestural / abstract painting that the NYS is so known for (i.e. Jackson Pollock) but his lines and colors do hint at mass and space, however slight and overpowered by the two dimensional surface. The human bodies come together, each is barely coherent on their own, a sum of parts that is really just a part of something greater. That greater mass, however, the composition as a whole, has the poise, coherence and dare I say balance of classical architecture and prehistoric post and lintel structures. There's an effortless primitivism here that is devoid of judgment or qualification as to what the primitive is or looks like but rather how far down it goes, that connection synonymous with the primitive, that is our common human experience. This is the sort of more obvious figural work that predates compositions such as "untitled in pink" (1955) also available in my collection. Grippi's work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, among many other notable public and private collections. Salvatore Grippi died in Brewster, Massachusetts on November 30, 2017 at age 96.


  • Creator
  • Dimensions
    Height: 9 in. (22.86 cm)Width: 12 in. (30.48 cm)Depth: 1 in. (2.54 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. Good vintage condition, minor toning to paper and slight edgewear possible. Presents quite well.
  • Seller Location
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU4190312533111

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $110 Standard Shipping
    to anywhere in the world, arrives in 4-6 weeks.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Brooklyn, NY
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 1 day of delivery.

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About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in Brooklyn, NY
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Established in 2017
1stDibs seller since 2018
214 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
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