Dipinti e disegni, tra figura e astrazione. 12 Dec-6 Feb 2005. Father of the actor of the same name, De Niro senior was an abstract expressionist artist known for his dynamic, richly-coloured works, 45 of which are on show here.
Robert De Niro Sr 1922-1993. Dipinti e disegni, tra figura e astrazione. Until 6 Feb.
This glowing near-abstraction is brooding at the edges. Houses, mountains, still life, lush sitting women and people in conversation set a swirly painterly dance into motion. There are live planes of sun yellows, and thick pinks dotted with rose-red blobs, stains of violets and deep blues. All ensnared by lashes of charcoal black "Bobs glamorous Matissey line," as one of his dealers once put it.
In the 1950s this pugnacious, tough painter, so gentle and lyrical underneath, was so esteemed in downtown New York that the poets and critics of the moment vied with each other to get an assignment to write about him.
He was married to Virginia Admiral, a completely abstract painter picked up early by Peggy Guggenheim. To their consternation their son Bobbie became a Hollywood actor. In the days before Pop Art, California was despised by intellectuals and painters and you looked at movies only as secret lowbrow, corny, entertainment.
To the knowledgeable it is irksome that here in Rome Robert De Niro is suddenly discovered and made to appear as a seventh day wonder, an odd cute phenomenon, the father of a pugnacious movie star.
Robert, or "Bob", as we called him, lived a rich life from 1922 to 1993. He wrote poems and he wrote essays on other painters, Watteau, Bonnard, Degas, etc. His work is not clean and it is not easy. Above all it is not minor. It is of a peculiar New York elegance, both resolute and grudging. The blooms of ardent paint outlined by a wonderfully live line are of a blazing mystery. Edith Schloss