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Guttuso, Renato
Algerierin mit weißem Tuch
Algerian Woman with white Cloth
© mumok
Object description Oil on canvas
Object category painting
Support: canvas
Object: oil paint
Object: oil paintings
object size: height: 127 cm, width: 100 cm, depth: 2,5 cm
frame dimension: height: 130 cm, width: 102,5 cm, depth: 3,7 cm
Year of acquisition 1966
Inventory number B 122/0
Creditline mumok - Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
Rights reference Bildrecht, Wien
Further information about the person Guttuso, Renato [GND]
Literature Guttuso. Capolavori dai Musei

“In 1960 Renato Guttuso painted a recumbent half-naked woman, her eyes wide open as if in rigor mortis, her hands cramped into a white sheet covering her hips and legs. The originally neutral title was later changed and the picture came onto the market as Algerian Woman with White Sheet, was then bought for the Museum of the 20th Century in Vienna, and today is seen as an artistic statement supporting the Algerian struggle for liberation.” This is how Werner Hofmann succinctly described this oil painting in 1987. In postwar Italy, Renato Guttuso became like a left-wing king among painters. He borrowed ideas from all directions, exploring all possible forms of historical and contemporary realism. He also saw the work of Pablo Picasso as an important source of inspiration. His works reference many different styles, and in the 1950s he was exhibited simultaneously in New York and Moscow. He won art prizes on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Beginning in 1950, he took part in the Venice Biennale several times. As a member of the Communist Party, which he joined in 1940, Guttuso always saw himself as a politically active artist. During the Algerian War of Independence, he raised his voice and ridiculed abstract painters in Paris: "What does Algeria mean for Manessier, for Dubuffet, for Bazaine? A precisely measured drop of Turkish blue on a larger drip of cobalt blue.” Guttuso‘s series of works on the Algerian War is not only an expressive portrayal of scenes of torture and misery. His paintings also raise accusations—against the behavior of the French government during this struggle for liberation that lasted from 1954 to 1962. The French exerted maximum force in their fight against militant resistant groups. French security forces used methods that amounted to massive violations of human rights. When this became publicly known, it greatly weakened France’s political standing. In 1962, France’s largest colony finally gained independence.