Wednesday, November 6, 2019

An Early Mattei

Last September, I was having cocktails at a friend's house. One of the guests was the distinguished art journalist Meredith Mendelsohn and we had a great conversation. We remarked on an unusual painting belonging to our hostess, signed only "Mattei '30." I always liked the painting since it reminded me of old neighborhoods in Baltimore. After some research, Meredith discovered more about the artist. From AskArt:
Antonio Mattei was born in New York in 1900 and studied at Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design. From 1936 to 1943 he was under the sponsorship of Contemporary Arts holding two one-man exhibitions in its gallery. His work has been included in national exhibitions notably the Golden Gate Exposition and the annual exhibition at the Butler Art Institute where his Winter Burial was awarded first prize. Mr. Matttel lives in Ogunquit, Maine carrying on a summer art school there. He had a one-man show at the Laurel Gallery who is his usual dealer. (from an exhibition catalog published by Laurel Gallery in June of 1948) (Read more.)
During the Depression, Mr Mattei supervised art projects for the WPA. The painting above precedes the New Deal, however. Tony Mattei died in Maine in 1956.

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