Afro from the Comet Gallery years to the postwar period is an exhibition project curated by Giuseppe Appella articulated in two exhibitions: by Fabrizio Russo forty-four works on paper made between 1936, the date of a beautiful view of Piazza Navona, and 1948; by Francesca Antonacci sixteen important paintings.
The exhibitions investigate a chapter of Afro’s artistic career little known to the general public: the his figurative painting from the mid-1930s to the late 1940s. The Afro that will be seen in the exhibition is a dazzling talent observed in the preparatory phase of what, from 1950 on, will become his unmistakable mark of recognition, in which an orientation to the new does not implies a rejection of previous tradition. A young artist, between the ages of twenty and thirty, yet perfectly mature and in full possession of the sparkling confidence that, without flexing, will will accompany him to the end of existence. In the background is the fervid cultural context in which the
brothers Afro, Mirko and Dino Basaldella are fortunate enough to be welcomed at the time of their move to Rome from Udine. Indeed, the chronology of the works on display offers the cue to recount an environment of incomparable glamour, the one revolving around the Galleria della Comet and the salon of Anna Laetitia Pecci Blunt.
Giuseppe Appella writes in the catalog essay, “There is no image that Afro painted without first having verified it on paper.” In the decade considered by the exhibition, Afro appears committed to taking note of the variety of currents moving in Italy and Europe, to grafting the novelties coming from Paris onto the perfect mastery of the “achievements of the Venetian Renaissance,” “assimilating opposites into unity of style” (G. Appella).