There is something about Arte Povera...

There is something about Arte Povera...

51 years have passed since the birth of Arte Povera, and today this art movement appears more actual than ever. Be it the limitless fascination that the artworks of those years still arouse today, or the affinity between our time and the years when the art movement was first invented, but today Arte Povera is more than ever a synonym for Contemporary Art, with capital A. It is worthy of mention that the context in which the protagonists of Arte Povera began working was that of the 1960s, years characterized by social and political events that affected deeply the success and diffusion of the art movement at international level. The artists, reinventing the language of visual arts, knew exactly how to move in order to face the issues of that period, and today their works and ideas create a historical parallelism proving that art is not a mere mirror reflecting society, but an actual image that inspires to the future.


Birth of a revolutionary movement

You cannot speak about Arte Povera without mentioning its upholder: Germano Celant. The term Arte Povera comes from the then-young art critic himself, who by “poor” meant unconventional, taking inspiration from the poor theater of the Polish film director Jerzy Grotowski. Arte Povera meant thus getting rid of the excess, reducing everything to its minimal essence. In artistic terms, the creative experience was generated by simple gestures to become a fully primordial experience. Only cheap, industrial, and organic materials were employed. Artists used anything, from fabrics to paper, from elemental materials like carbon and steel to anything that is spontaneously created by nature. Many artists hailing from different cultural environments are in some way connected to the name of Germano Celant, tracing an evolutionary pathway through a series of exhibitions and events that took place in various Italian cities. The fundamental nucleus of these artists was based in Turin, where Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Piero Gilardi, Mario and Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Michelangero Pistoletto, Giuseppe Penone, and Gilberto Zorio exhibited their works at the gallery of Gian Lorenzo Sperone, and in Rome, the heart of a vibrant artistic scene, where Jannis Kounellis and Pino Pascali exhibited their works at galleries such as La Tartaruga di Plinio de Martiis and L’Attico di Fabio Sargentini.


Why does the art market keep going crazy for Arte Povera?

Except for a few apices of sale in the 70s, over the years the artworks of this movement have drawn the attention of only a small part of collectors, mostly from Italy. It is in 2010 that the echo of these artists reached overseas, generating an actual Italian artistic wave as soon as the most important museums in the USA began dedicating significant retrospectives to Merz, Penone, and Zorio. In 2017 in New York, the collectors Nancy Olnick and George Spanu opened “Magazzino”, a space dedicated exclusively to the works by artists of the Arte Povera movement, and today the latest trends of Italian art show a sudden increase of the auction prices for the works of Germano Celant’s artists. Worthy of mention is the artwork “Lovers” by Michelangelo Pistoletto, sold for 2.9 million euros, as well as the tapestry titled “Addition” by Alighiero Boetti, sold for more than 2 million euros.

It is thus a favorable moment for Arte Povera, probably the most sought-after Italian movement at international level. As expected, the positive wave carried away also the whole art market, and, in spite of its name, Arte Povera has become the protagonist of gold businesses.
We are only at the beginning of an important phenomenon of interest in Arte Povera by international (and especially American) collectors” the sales manager at Sotheby’s in Italy, Beatrice Botte, asserts. “In the future we expect a substantial growth in this direction, and we are ready to uphold it.

The events and the exhibitions to attend

In occasion of the 50th anniversary of the birth of Arte Povera, if last year many different exhibitions were organized at the most famous international museums and galleries, 2018 seems proceeding in the same direction. One of the most iconic art movements of the last century, with all its major exponents, is in the spotlight this year.
57 artworks and installations, coming mainly from the collections of the Rivoli Castle, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the GAM in Turin, celebrate Arte Povera at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, until 16 August 2018, with the exhibition “Arte Povera: a creative revolution”. At the Bisaccioni Palace of Jesi in the city of Ancona, the exhibition “Dentro il cielo compare un’isola. Le Arti Povere in Italia fra disegno e fotografia (1963 – 1980)”, curated by Andrea Bruciati, can be visited until 4 November 2018. Next fall, the Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in Milan will exhibit the greatest retrospective ever realized for the works of Mario Merz: 50 years after the artist realized his first igloo, the Hangar will offer 5,500 squared meters of space to more than 30 installations of the artist. And if you are planning on going to the UK soon, do not miss the retrospective that the Yorkshire Sculpture Park will dedicate to Giuseppe Penone, a journey through the whole artistic path of the sculptor, on show until April 2019.

Below you can find a wide variety of Arte Povera artworks available for purchase on