Library: Francesco Clemente

Greenwich November 19th, 2018

This library selection features the artist Francesco Clemente, whose exhibition, Works 1978-2018,  is currently on view at The Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich, CT.  Individuals are invited to use these resources while exploring the exhibition.  Please contact to schedule a time to visit The Brant Foundation Library.

About The Brant Foundation Library

The Brant Foundation’s library program was established in 2009 to facilitate the appreciation and understanding of contemporary art and to advance our mission of promoting arts education. As both a museum and art study center, the Foundation’s library serves as a crucial resource for students, scholars, and educators by providing access to a unique collection of hard-to-find materials. After noticing the difficulties of obtaining contemporary art publications, typically as a result of rarity or expense, the Foundation was inspired to make efforts to broaden their holdings and increase accessibility to the public.

By reaching out to the surrounding arts community for help, the Foundation has accumulated an actively growing, rich collection of contemporary art books. With the contributions from the many organizations and institutions that share our vision, the public gains access to a wider range of materials used for the scholarly study and examination of contemporary art. Housing over 1,000 volumes – from exhibition catalogs and artist monographs to art criticism texts and periodicals – the library reflects the Foundation’s collection and admiration of contemporary art. Because of the rarity and value of the materials, our library is non-circulating, but we welcome and encourage the public to make use of the study center during operating hours. Please contact to make an appointment to visit The Brant Foundation’s library.

Francesco Clemente - Guggenheim

Edited by Lisa Dennison. Essays by Robert Creeley, René Ricard, Ettore Sottsass, Gregory Corso, Raymond Foye, Allen Ginsberg, Craig Houser, Jyotindra Jain, Gita Mehta, Francesco Pellizzi and Gus Van Sant.

Francesco Clemente has, since the 1980s, been a leading artist in the international revival of expressionist figure painting and sculpture. Clemente’s subjects–rooted in both the physical and the surreal, spiritual worlds–create a vast body of work that appeals to diverse audiences. Clemente draws upon a pan-historic web of impulses, mediating among the myriad cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, Byzantium, Europe, India and America. Stylistically his work recalls the Italian Renaissance, Indian miniatures, European Romanticism, Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Clemente’s widespread cultural interests and nomadic lifestyle–New York is his home but he spends part of each year in Italy, India and the New Mexico desert–have deeply affected his art. This lavishly produced catalogue accompanies the first major survey devoted to the painter.

Francesco Clemente: Inspired by India

The first museum exhibition devoted to the Indian influences in Clemente’s work and how they relate to the artistic practices and traditions of various regions in India features approximately 20 works, including paintings from the last 30 years, and four new, larger than life-size sculptures created especially for the exhibition. In contrast to leading conceptual art practices of the 1970s, Clemente refocused attention on representation, narrative, and the figure, and explored traditional, artisanal materials and modes of working. This audio companion follows in the spirit of Clemente’s collaborative works with literary figures and features world-renowned author, Salman Rushdie, reading from The Moor’s Last Sigh.

Francesco Clemente: Palimpsest

Throughout the sensual relationship that Francesco Clemente (born 1952) has cultivated with paper surfaces runs the idea of the palimpsest–the manuscript page or parchment, often torn from a book, from which text has been effaced so that the surface can be re-used. By virtue of their accumulated layers of traces, palimpsests are enormously evocative objects–evocative of human and material impermanence and the vast scale of human history. Clemente’s relationship with the histories of the inscribed page is widely known and celebrated; he has reinvigorated the idioms of both Indian and Italian manuscript painting, and has collaborated with poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley and René Ricard. This volume takes the palimpsest as a metaphor for Clemente’s art, from early works on paper to large-format paintings and more recent, monumental watercolors.

Francesco Clemente: A Private Geography

Francesco Clemente has a natural affinity for painting on paper, and his love of the book-based genres in the visual arts–manuscript painting, livres d’artistes collaborations and artist’s books–expresses itself in the fluency of his encounters with paper. Central to his oeuvre, Clemente’s works on paper have been the subject of numerous international retrospectives, from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 1991 touring show, to exhibits at the Pompidou and the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna (1999). A Private Geography brings us up to speed with the artist’s continued evolution of his familiar themes: love, the human figure, spirituality and its iconography. Created in four years across four continents, the 44 works utilize a range of media, from watercolor to ink to pastel. Motifs include Surrealist scenarios of birds sprouting from a dreamer’s head and images of lovers embracing.

Francesco Clemente Fiori D'Inverno a New York

With this exhibition Francesco Clemente pays homage to Siena, a city that already in 2012 has shown a keen interest in its production with the prestigious nomination for the execution of the Palio drapery. Ten unpublished works divided into two distinct cycles are presented here for the first time. The series of Winter Flowers in New York was created in collaboration with the artist’s wife, Alba Primiceri, and consists of five canvases with large-scale floral representations, which have engaged the artist for six years (2010-2016) . Some flowers present in New York in the winter months were chosen as the basis for these pictorial reworkings, distinguished by the careful selection of plant pigments in the colors and the slow execution in various stages. The theme of “Winter flowers” it implies a meditation on the most advanced age of man and on the irreducible joy that can characterize this season of life. The cycle of the Tree of Life, performed between 2013 and 2014, represents the summa of the “emblematic” language adopted by Clemente with references to some of the themes present in his production since the seventies and linked to the life cycle as the Tree, the Boat, the Bridge and the Wheel.

Francesco Clemente: New Works

The first major exhibition in Ireland by the internationally-acclaimed Italian artist Francesco Clemente comprises more than 60 works, including some 20 paintings, 10 pastels and 30 watercolours. All have been created since Clemente?s comprehensive retrospective at the Guggenheim, New York, in 2000 and most are being shown publicly for the first time.

Clemente first came to international attention as part of the Italian Transavanguardia group in the late 1970s and early ’80s, a period which saw a renewed interest in painting internationally, evident in the success of artists such as Julian Schnabel and Anselm Kiefer. From the start, however, Clemente manifested a singular personal vision, drawing on a diverse cross section of cultures and styles to realize his wide range of visual and conceptual ideas. Extensive travels in Europe, the Caribbean, Egypt, Japan, New Mexico and, in particular, in India, have been a major influence, releasing him from the usual conventions of art making.

Francesco Clemente: Nostalgia/Utopia

Few contemporary artists have had the broad appeal of Francesco Clemente, whose wide-eyed portraits and bold manipulation of images from art and popular culture have established him as one of the foremost artists working today. Clemente continues to draw inspiration from a wide range of cultural sources in his most recent series, Nostalgia/Utopia, currently on display at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York.

Presented in this book are the paintings that comprise Nostalgia/Utopia. The series brings together works completed in Italy and New York City, each with a highly imaginative narrative quality. In one, milk-painted quilt patterns are overlaid with fragments from Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s fantastical etchings of subterranean prisons. In another, yellow taxicabs queue up against a backdrop of erotically paired figures inspired by ancient Indian epics and myth. The elements in the paintings are at once familiar, mysterious, and rich in symbolic associations, leaving viewers with the impression that the paintings can be tied to no single time and place. The book also includes a new series of gouache and sanguine drawings by Clemente, as well as photographs of iconography directly related to these drawings.
Lavishly illustrated and including an essay by the poet Peter Lamborn Wilson, Francesco Clemente: Nostalgia/Utopia offers a look at the acclaimed artist’s newest work.

Francesco Clemente: Works 1971-1979

The Italian-born painter Francesco Clemente came to prominence in the mid-1970s when intensely subjective yet universal themes filtered into his skewed self-portraiture, witty wordplay and gestural figuration. This volume compiles a decade’s worth of works on paper from those early days, many of which were inspired by Italy’s political crisis at the time or fellow artists Alighiero Boetti and Luigi Ontani.

The Italian artists of the 1970s were working in the context of the “terrorist generation.” There was a crisis of capitalism and of Western societal values–both of which informed such major ideas in Clemente’s early work as “fragmentation of self” and the “refutation of reason.” Suddenly the body became a territory for artistic exploration; it became a border and led to the idea of travel. Here Clemente learned to trust geography over history, and his highly personal symbolism of the time bears proof of an itinerant life spent between homes in Madras (current-day Chennai, India), New York and Rome, with many trips to Dehli, Srinagar and various areas of Afghanistan mixed in.

Published on the occasion of Clemente’s recent exhibition at New York’s Deitch Projects, this deluxe volume highlights the artist’s concerns with process and concept–not technical perfection–and his obsession with paper’s ephemeral vulnerability. Hints of Clemente’s later forays into Surrealism and deep human psychology are also evident, and provide an essential view of the beginning of a masterful career.


Francesco Clemente: Evening Raga & Paradiso

A collection of watercolor paintings in which the artist has illustrated the theme of metamorphosis using two color combinations.

Francesco Clemente: Terra Fragile

Edition Bruno Bischofberger Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland

87 pages (2001)

Translations from Latin of Medieval and Renaissance poems and a new poem by Vincent Katz

Francesco Clemente: Testa Coda

Paintings by Francesco Clemente. Introduction by Dieter Koepplin. Text and interview with the artist by Michael McClure. Includes a selected exhibition history and a selected bibliography. Designed by José Conde. 112 pp., with 27 four-color plates and numerous additional color and black and white illustrations.

Francesco Clemente: Self Portraits

English Edition – Catalog of the exhibition organized by the Jablonka Gallery in Cologne, Germany, in 2002. Fine edition, printed on the English paper, with texts in English by Jean-Christophe Amman and Rene Ricard. He documents paintings from 2002. In particular, self-portraits by Francesco Clemente along with portraits of other artists.

Francesco Clemente: The Tarots

Since the fifteenth century, tarot cards have remained a source of wonder and fascination for those seeking to divine the future. Drawing the card depicting the coveted wheel of fortune is believed to foretell favorable events, but turn over the tower or death card and adversity may be headed your way. Mysterious, rich in symbolism, and hinting at the arcane, tarot cards also display considerable artistry and visual appealIn Francesco Clemente: The Tarots, Clemente uniquely reinterprets the deck with a star-studded group of unexpected subjects.

Presented here are the seventy-eight watercolors that make up the artist’s tarot card series. Begun in 2008, the paintings include family and friends and reflect important personal relationships. Since 1981, Clemente has been a resident of New York and many of the paintings—including the twenty-two cards of the higher arcana—depict New Yorkers, making this series, in the artist’s words, “my portrait of the city.” Among the personalities whose likenesses are included this series are Salman Rushdie, Fran Lebowitz, Jasper Johns, Philip Glass, Diane von Fürstenberg, Colm Tóibín, and Scarlett Johansson. Clemente has always had a keen interest in the spiritual, and the book also includes twelve self-portraits representing each of the twelve apostles. Rounding out the extensive illustrations are essays by Max Seidel, Marzia Faietti, Antonio Natali, and Francesco Pellizzi examining the series.
Clemente is among the most recognized and established contemporary artists in America today, and this book—created to accompany an exhibition at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence—makes his most recent work available to readers for the first time.

Francesco Clemente: Captive Pleasures

Published in 2010 on the occasion of the exhibition “Francesco Clemente: Captive Pleasures” at Galerie Bruno Bischofberger AG Zurich, Switzerland.

English text by Taiye Selasi.

11 color plates, 31 pages7

Published by Galerie Bruno Bischofberger

Francesco Clemente: Two Horizons

Catalogue of an exhibition August 12-October 16, 1994, Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo.

Text in Japanese and English.

Francesco Clemente: Self-portrait Watercolors and Pantheon

Text by Norman Rosenthal, with an introduction by Bernardo Bertolucci.
Published by Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma
Paperback, 91 pages, English / Italian, 2006
The book Self-portrait Watercolours and Pantheon was published on the occasion of Francesco Clemente’s exhibition at Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma 11 May – August 2006, and includes full-page reproductions of the artist’s 32 Self-portrait watercolors as well as a fold-out print of his monumental painting Pantheon.

Francesco Clemente: SALINE AQUARELLE

Text by Vincent Katz, Alex Katz
Published by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
48 pages