Home Artworks Totem



Signed Dated Framed


50 x 70 cm
19.69 x 28 in







View in a Room

Oil on paper on plywood by Roberto Crippa: one of the most recurrent subject of the artist, starting from the '50.
The artwork comes with the official COA signed by the son of the artist. 

Roberto Crippa (Monza, Italy, 1921). In the early 50s, Crippa's work centered around his “Spirals”, a series of geometric and abstract paintings. With a quasi-circular (but never perfectly round) gesture, Crippa wanted to create convoluted spaces generating rays that ideally projected themselves out of the two-dimensionality of the canvas, as per the principles of the Spatialism "Manifesto".

After gaining a certain international popularity, Crippa flew to New York, where he met the surrealists Max Ernst, Victor Brauner and Yves Tanguy, and they together exhibited at the Alexander Iolas Gallery. In these recent times, his work Totem can stand for a strong, remarkable effort to face and fight our reality. 

Each week Rossella Farinotti, our curator, selects 6 interesting artworks on Kooness choosing artists from different generations, mediums, countries and approaches to contemporary art, indicating the reasons why it’s worth understanding the artwork.


1921 Monza, Italy

After starting to paint in 1945, in figurative style with cubist influences close to Picasso's style, he joined the spatial movement with Lucio Fontana, Gian Carozzi, Giorgio Kaisserlian, Beniamino Joppolo, Milena Milani, Sergio Dangelo, Carlo Cardazzo, Cesare Peverelli.

Graduated in art in 1947/1948 at the Accademia di Brera (where he met Aldo Carpi, Carlo Carrà and Achille Funi), he took part in the Venice Biennale the following year, and exhibited works at the Milan Triennale. Again in 1950, 1954 and 1956 he was present at the Biennale and again in 1950 he exhibited in Trieste during a collective exhibition entitled Spatial art.

Following his friendship with Lucio Fontana, he was one of the signatories of the third "Manifesto of Spatialism" (Proposal for a regulation) of 1950.

In 1951 he also participated in the "Space Art Manifesto".

Crippa's work in the early fifties centered around a series of paintings called Spirals, of a geometric and abstract nature: with the quasi-circular (but never perfectly round) geometric gesture Crippa created convoluted spaces, from which they were generated rays that ideally projected themselves out of the two-dimensionality of the canvas, in line with the principles of the spatial "Manifesto".

Become known abroad for his works, Crippa reached New York, where he met the surrealists Max Ernst, Victor Brauner and Yves Tanguy, and exhibited at the Alexander Iolas gallery.

The Spirals changed, becoming heavier, incisive and convoluted, interlaced with each other. These figures, developed between 1954 and 1956 are called Totems. In 1955 he moved on to the production of multi-material works, which populated a solo show at the gallery of the Naviglio in Milan. The following year the inspiration for the multi-material paintings was developed further, with the production of works in iron, bronze and steel inspired by primitive symbolism. With these works he participated in the 1958 Biennale.

The use of original materials in 1960 resulted in the production of works in asbestos, cork, newspaper and tissue paper, combined with different materials and colors. The works were exhibited in a traveling exhibition that reached Japan, the United States and Australia.

In 1962 he was the victim of a flight accident: Crippa was a fan of aerial acrobatics, so much so that in 1971 he was invited as an Italian representative at the World Aerobatic Championships. The '62 incident forced him into a wheelchair for almost a year: nevertheless, he participated with his paintings at various exhibitions in Europe and the United States.

In this phase Crippa went on to paint landscapes (Landscape), with the polymaterial technique and with the usual abstract style. Also from this period are the asbestos, non-paintings made with thin sheets of asbestos applied on an engraved board.

In 1967 the State of Rhodesia dedicated a stamp to Crippa; the following year the artist, fully recovered, took part in the Biennials of Venice and Menton.

In the seventies Roberto Crippa was also involved in postal art (mail art). A postcard of his, addressed to Eraldo Di Vita in Milan, is also published in his monograph.

In 1972, during a preparation flight to the World Championships, Crippa's plane crashed near the Bresso airport, killing the artist and his pupil Piero Crespi.

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Pisacane Arte is a contemporary and modern art gallery situated in Milan. With over 300 mq of space, the gallery organizes exhibitions, events and cultural conferences in order to encourage the encounter between artists, collectors and art lovers. The art gallery offers artworks by historicized and emerging artists, with a particular attention to pop and st...

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100 x 100 cm