home page previous page search


The Factory

Sassu’s interest in the modern, typical of the years around 1930, can be seen already in his first pictures of the urban landscape - Fabbriche, 1929; Urban Landscape, 1930; Urban Landscape with Red Taxi, 1931 - which reflect the great change, in a rational and modernist direction, which Milan was going through in that period.

The bright colors should not be seen simply in a primitivist key but as the reflection of the real aspect of the new construction in the city: suffice it to mention the colored or bright white houses built by architects like Gigiotti Zanini and Enrico Griffini.

Sassu’s urban outskirts, crossed by cyclists, automobiles, and trolley cars, are much closer to those by Renato Birolli of the same time than to the ones painted by Mario Sironi, tied to the gray tones and dark palettes of the Novecento italiano.

top of page THE CAFE'

The San Carlo Café

But the main subject from contemporary reality developed by Sassu starting in the early 1930s is the café, a place exemplary of life in a modern city during his time. The café pictures are born out of a number of drawings and sketches made from life, which he then reworked in his studio; the most significant achievement in this series is The Big Café of 1936-40.

This same subject, which allows him to develop a lively narrative painting style, is reproposed in numerous paintings of the years after World War II, up to, for example, Via Manzoni, of 1952, and Piazza San Marco at Night of 1962. Rhythms and shapes of the contemporary metropolis are captured in highly synthetic form in a painting like Chicago of 1969, which, being almost abstract, represents an isolated episode in Sassu’s painting.