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The Big Café

Sassu’s arrest and detention in prison in 1937 took place in a moment when he was quite far along in the execution of The Big Café. Indicated by many as his masterpiece, it would be finished only in 1940.

The theme of the café is not a new one for the artist, who worked on it from the early 1930s, although his stay in Paris gave him numerous suggestions for continuing his analysis of passages from reality.


The Argonauts

In The Big Café can be seen both the new ideas coming from his French experience of 1934-35, like the solidity of the compositional structure, ideas which he refined significantly in the intense exercise of his art that he carried out during his imprisonment, and elements of continuity with his preceding production, as in the first picture of the Argonauts, in the rendering of the sense of isolation of the figures which nonetheless maintain strong contact with their surrounding environment and with each other.

The figurative problem which the artist had to face here consisted precisely in harmonizing all the elements derived from his various experiences - the definition of a formal equilibrium and of essentially mental colors - while still remaining in the sphere of figure painting and thus seeking to represent a concrete space.