Sunday, September 09, 2007

Conservator’s paintings resemble Matter “Pollocks”

A collection of paintings attributed to Franco Lisi– the art conservator reported to have first cleaned and repaired the Alex Matter “Pollocks” – that are reproduced on Lisi’s website bear remarkable resemblance to the Matter "Pollocks."

Two of Lisi's works are reproduced here. In particular, note Lisi’s preference for dots, which are prevalent throughout the Matter “Pollocks,” as well as his penchant for straight-line pours or splashes, which are seen in a series of spare Matter “Pollocks” that the organizers of Boston College’s “Pollock Matters” exhibit have suggested may be examples of how Pollock began his works. It’s hard to tell from the Lisi reproductions, but Lisi’s pours seem to have an almost cake-frosting density, much like the Matter “Pollocks.”

Lisi's website says:
Franco Lisi was born in Italy and came to the United States on an Artist Visa. That was followed by a successful exhibit that eventually led to becoming an American citizen. He studied art in Italy and worked for Artisti Associati Italiani in Naples along with other Italian masters such as Francesco Galante, Antonio D’Urso and Aldo de Amicis. His artistic passion is rooted in impressionism, but his style was influenced a few years ago by the modernist movement. That influence has led to a mix that he calls "abstract impressionism."
One of the curious things about accounts of the Matter “Pollocks” is that Lisi seems to have taken few photos of the paintings before he reportedly restored them. Matter says he found 34 “Pollocks” among his late father’s effects in 2002, but an unsigned essay on page 160 of the “Pollock Matters” catalogue notes: “It seems that Lissi [sic] did not photograph all of the works (recto and verso) prior to restoring them, but there are eleven extant photographs of unrestored rectos and twelve verso images shot by Lissi [sic] available for study.”

Also, one of the arguments that Matter and “Pollock Matters” curator Ellen Landau have made for the “Pollocks” being authentic is that scientific analysis that found materials in the paintings patented after Pollock’s death may have been tainted by additions Lisi made when he first cleaned and restored the works.

The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research has sent emails seeking comment to Landau, Lisi, Boston College art museum director Nancy Netzer and Robin Zucker of Zucker Public Relations, a New York-based publicist for Landau and Matter.

Update: Mark Borghi of Mark Borghi Fine Art, which has represented the estate of Mercedes Matter and been involved with the Alex Matter “Pollocks,” responded Sunday night:
I would like to fill you in on the "chain of custody". The first person to see the works from Alex was William O'Reilly who told Alex to show them to Joan Wasburn, who is the representative of the Jackson Pollock estate. In fact Joan had 3 of the works for at least 7 months. A call to her gallery can confirm this. This is long before myself or Franco ever laid eyes on any of the paintings. I collected the works from Joan in their original state prior to any conservation. It was only at this point that I became involved. It was I who introduced Alex to Franco in the spring of 2003.
Pictured here from top to bottom: Franco Lisi paintings "Ghost World II" and "Evolution of the Soil."


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