98 x 64 cm
Oil on canvas
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Verein Werk Natale Sapone
Natale Domenico Antonio Sapone (born 1921 in Reggio Calabria, Italy, died 2002 in Frauenfeld, Switzerland) was an Italian-Swiss artist and a key representative of Concrete and Op Art in Switzerland. His work ranged across the media of painting, drawing, graphic art, sculpture, and design. After studying at the Istituto d’Arte “Mattia Preti” in Reggio Calabri, he completed five years of military service before working as a drawing instructor in his hometown. He then continued his training at the Accademia di belle Arti di Brera in Milan, earning a diploma in design and interior decoration. He moved to Switzerland in 1947 in search of employment and worked in a ceramics art studio in Einsiedeln. After studying under André Lhote in Paris, he settled in the Swiss city of Frauenfeld in 1951. In the 1960s, Sapone not only designed jewelry for Bucherer, the famous jewelry retailer, but also ceramic, porcelain, and glass objects for the porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal.
Sapone’s artistic career began with figurative compositions in an expressionist style that gradually changed over time, partly due to his time as a student at the progressive Académie Lhote in Paris. After exploring the principles of formal composition, he began to make geometrically inspired pictorial structures. With their ever clearer language of colors and forms – at first predominantly circular in nature – these works mark the beginning of his Concrete and Constructivist oeuvre in the early 1960s. One of his characteristic forms is the so-called “Achtzentrischer Kreis,” which Sapone created by constructing a circle enclosed by a square using eight different centers. In the 1970s, he then began working with variations of squares, circles, and circular segments until he finally settled on the pentagon as an ideal figure. Sapone went on to use this element as a constructional foundation for creating remarkable pictorial solutions.
Sapone worked with many different materials in his exploration of the pentagon, which is a form associated with the golden section: an aesthetic principle for ideal proportions that can also be found in nature. A pentagon within a circle became a kind of model for his many paintings and sculptural objects and for the iron sculptures that he began making in the 1980s. Because it is a harmonizing system of order, it presents a wide range of possible compositions. For this reason, Sapone shares much in common with Josef Albers, Max Bill, Richard Paul Lohse, and Verena Loewensberg. However, as can be seen in his leitmotif of the “Achtzentrischer Kreis” and his works titled “Bewegung,” three of which are part of the collection of the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Sapone created his own unique pictorial formula consisting of visually perplexing playful effects and dynamic, seemingly spatial rotations, which he later further developed into structures of circles in rows and overlapping.
Dominique von Burg