- Ida Cadorin Barbarigo born 1925
- Oil paint on canvas
- Support: 1467 × 967 mm
Frame: 1506 × 1011 × 60 mm
- Presented by the artist 2017
Promenade 1963 is an oil painting composed of a number of overlapping lines that have an organic, calligraphic appearance, over a plain background. The overall tone of the painting is muted, with the dark marks standing out against the lighter ground. Seen within the context of the title and Barbarigo’s earlier paintings which depict empty tables and chairs (see for example and Chairs 1954 [Tate T14955] and Tables and Chairs II 1954 [T14956]), the subject in Promenade reveals itself as a number of loosely depicted circular tables of the type set up outside pavement cafés in European cities with empty chairs set around them. The view is a high one, giving the impression of looking down on the scene, and the brushstrokes depicting the outlines of the chairs and tables are fluid, reminiscent of the painterly surfaces of art informel. The composition is asymmetrical, seemingly cut off by the frame at the top right and at the bottom of the canvas. This choice enhances the ambiguity of the image, as the signs composing it appear suspended between abstraction and the representation of an observed scene.
After an early figurative phase, Barbarigo developed an abstract style loosely based on direct observation, particularly of life in the streets of Venice and Paris, where she lived. She would take long walks through these cities, taking notes and making sketches in her notebooks, repeatedly drawing the chairs laid out on the pavements outside every café and bistro. These would then serve as the basis and inspiration for her abstracted painterly compositions, in which carefully arranged lines and colour fields intersect over a neutral background. This geometric style would give way to the more organic abstraction of Barbarigo’s work of the 1960s, as seen in paintings such as Promenade and Open Game 1961 (Tate T15019).
The empty chair can be seen as a signifier of human presence and at the same time of absence, an everyday but archetypal object that has long fascinated Barbarigo and which she has described as: ‘Something you are accustomed to seeing every day, which all of a sudden appears eternal, inexpressible. A continuous alteration of refracting forms, the chairs and their shadows appear closed off from the space that accentuates their forms but leaves them in negative.’ (Ida Barbarigo, quoted in online press release for the exhibition Unity in the Depth at Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp, April–June 2013, http://www.axel-vervoordt.com/en/gallery/exhibitions/ida-barbarigo-unity-in-the-depth, accessed June 2016.)
Ida Cadorin Barbarigo was born in Venice into a family of artists. She studied at the Fine Arts Academy of Venice in 1946, where she attended classes under her father Guido Cadorin (1892–1976) and the sculptor Arturo Martini (1889–1947). During that time, she met Giorgio de Chirico (1888–1978) and Filippo de Pisis (1896–1956). In 1949 she married the artist Zoran Mušič (1909–2005) and together they settled in Paris in 1952. From then, Barbarigo divided her time between Paris and Venice where she kept her studio.
Jean Bouret, Jacques Lassaigne et al., Ida Barbarigo, Paris 1976.
Giovanna Dal Bon, Double Portrait: Zoran Music, Ida Barbarigo, Monza, Italy 2009.
Giovanna Dal Bon, Ida Barbarigo, exhibition catalogue, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp 2013.
Juliette Rizzi and Valentina Ravaglia
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