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Fabrizio La Torre La Venezia dell'Asia, 1961

$1,945

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Brussels Art Edition

Brussels, Belgium

Artsper seller since 2020
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Fabrizio La Torre, La Venezia dell'Asia
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About the work
  • Medium

    Photography : pigment ink, fine art print

  • Dimensions cm | inch

    23.6 x 16.5 x 0.2 inch

  • Support

    Photography on baryta paper

  • Framing

    Not framed

  • Type

    Numbered and limited to 7 copies
    5 remaining copies

  • Authenticity

    Work sold with an invoice from the gallery
    and a certificate of authenticity

  • Signature

    Signed artwork

  • About the artwork

    Artwork sold in perfect condition

    During the 15 year period in which Fabrizio La Torre dedicated himself to photography, he travelled in Italy, in Europe, North America and Asia. From wherever he went he brought back photos depicting the human condition, universal in meaning, full of emotions, with which he empathised.
    In order to make it easier for collectors and enthusiasts to get to grips with these works, we have opted for grouping together a set of 5 photos taken in a specific place under the heading “First Impressions”. Today First Impressions of Thailand where Fabrizio lived from 1956 to 1961, working as an administrative director for an Italo-Thai undertaking which had been contracted to restore the navigability of the Chao Praya, the great river which flows through Bangkok

    1 - “La Venezia dell’Asia”, the Venice of Asia, as Bangkok used to be known, when its myriad canals, small and large, flowed through the city, facilitating the transport of goods and passengers. Here, a view from the banks of the Chao Praya, showing in the background the largest temple in the capital, Wat Arun. Bangkok, 1956-61
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Origin: Belgium
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Fabrizio La Torre

Italy Born in: 1921

Fabrizio La Torre (b. Rome 1921 d. Brussels 2014) was an Italian neo-realist photographer working during the period 1950-1960 who left behind a body of work focussing on three specific geographical areas:  Italy, North America, which he spent  several months visiting in 1955 and Asia where he lived for five years (1956-61).

Fascinated by the task of capturing moments of  truth and intimacy which characterise the human condition all over the world, he gives us moments of insight into life which reach out to us bridging time and distance.  He holds up to us an affectionate and benign mirror, always knowing, sometimes amused but never mocking.

In 1965, success came knocking at his door:  he was offered the possibility of exhibitions and  publication but he turned it down for reasons he never fully explained.

The most we can do is note that this was also the time when the immense talent and historical importance of the photographic works, produced a century earlier by his grandfather Enrico Valenziani, were discovered.  This may have made him feel he could not compete, particularly as he came from a family which  was possessed of multiple artistic talents but in which no-one claimed to be an artist. Perhaps he saw himself as “a photographer” who was just the grandson of one of the founding fathers of Italian photography.  Who knows?

In 1970 he closed his archives and gave away his cameras.  He ceased to see his photography as an act of creation but merely as a kind of notebook of his many travels for his job.

In 2009 he agreed to re-open his archives  and to have his photos restored and digitised. He also permitted the first printed edition of his art photos.

Far from rejecting the switch to digital photography, he welcomed the freedom to render the shades, the tones, the “sfumature” which photo labs in the 1960s saw as “imperfections”,  at a time when hyper contrast was the big thing, deep blacks and anaemic whites were all the rage.  Fabrizio La Torre’s vision of the world was full of different shades.

The last few years of his life were spent hard at work.  He may have been a little unsteady on his legs but there was nothing wrong with his head - memory intact, imparting clear instructions and sharing many reminiscences. With Jean-Pierre De Neef and his technical team he fine-tuned every single print, perfectly willing to start all over again if necessary to achieve what he had intended 50 years earlier when the photo was taken -  the desired composition, lighting and contrast.

The exhibitions, the publications, the encounters with his audience came thick and fast: in Paris at the Italian Institute of Culture in 2010, in Brussels at the Ixelles Museum in 2011,  followed by the magnificent Retrospective  organised in 2014 in the Principality of Monaco. For a year he worked on a daily basis, taking advantage of this major event to give his final instructions.  Fate can be cruel: his heart finally gives out just two weeks before the opening of the exhibition which covers 800 square metres.  However, he knows he has done what was necessary, he has passed on his instructions which embody his desire to bring to life his photographic achievements  which are centred entirely on the human dimension, man’s adventures, his dreams, his fight for a better life.

Beginning in 2017, his curator, François Bayle, assisted by the team at Brussels Art Edition started work on the photos taken by Fabrizio La Torre in Asia during his five year stay in Thailand (1956-61). In November 2018, in Bangkok, a book entitled “Bangkok That Was” was published in English, which brings together these photos and, using the original notes left by the artist, tells the story of his life in Asia and expresses his affection for its people.

An exhibition with the same title took place for two months at the Serindia Gallery. Afterwards Fabrizio’s photos were taken to their permanent home in Bangkok, the cultural venue of the Central Embassy Mall where they are displayed and on sale all year round.

Meanwhile a new exhibition  is planned in Bangkok and a new book published based on the pioneering efforts of Fabrizio La Torre in photographing  in 1958 in the storerooms of the National Museum in Bangkok the painstaking lacquerwork representations of daily life of the Siamese people two centuries earlier.

At the very beginning of 2020 Jean-Pierre De Neef, François Bayle and their teams were working enthusiastically on two specific projects: the exhibition and the book on the lacquerwork mentioned above and a very fine exhibition  planned for 2021 in New York.  

Then along came the virus and upset the best-laid plans.  The projects have been postponed, in all probability for a year.

In order to continue funding preparations for these two major projects, the high quality art photos, validated by the artist himself  before his death, are now on sale.

This is an opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to acquire the works of an Italian artist  of recognised talent whose works are attractively priced before the exhibition in the USA, thus offering the advantage of a very strong potential for growth.

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Fabrizio La Torre, 100th Anniversary Celebration Coffret # 12 - By the sea, Print

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