Episodes from the Pirovano Collection: IV

Through the Cosmos. Correspondence between Georges Vantongerloo and Ignacio Pirovano

“I’m very moved by your desire to possess some of my works. I am thus ,
sending you some maquettes, because I don’t have photographs of them all,
along with a few articles. You may choose the quantity that best suits you…”

Letter from Georges Vantongerloo to Ignacio Pirovano, Paris, 26 January, 1956

The Argentine collector Ignacio Pirovano (1909-1980) and the Belgian artist Georges Vantongerloo (1886-1965) met in Paris in May 1950 and immediately struck up what would prove to be a very productive friendship. Pirovano added Vantongerloo’s work to his collection and promoted his written output, which turned out to be a key influence on several Argentine abstract artists in the late fifties.

This exhibition presents artworks, letters, texts and photographs that allow us to plot the course of the friendship between the artist and patron and the dialogues it inspired. This set of eight pieces by Vantongerloo – the most significant collection of the artist’s work in Latin America – is exhibited here along with a selection of fragments taken from Vantongerloo and Pirovano’s correspondence. The letters cover aesthetics and philosophy, artistic techniques, the purchase of artworks and their shipping to Buenos Aires, and the visits of Argentine artists to Paris. In short, the friendship between these two men provided the foundation for the Pirovano Collection, which today belongs to the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires.

Pirovano sought to include pieces from throughout Vantongerloo’s career in his international collection of abstract art. These artworks, all of which are exhibited here, chart a path through the different stages of Vantongerloo’s output and reveal his interest in the cosmos, the infinite and the indefinable. These concepts, inspired by scientific knowledge, were part of his quest to explore the infinite nature of the universe. His ambition to make the invisible visible can be seen in his experimentation with white surfaces and curved lines from the forties, his wire constructions and his experiments with acrylic from later in his career. In a letter to Pirovano, Vantongerloo writes: ‘the finite is a state, a given moment in the infinite and there is something beautiful about that.’

Episodes from the Pirovano Collection is an exhibition series based on the Ignacio Pirovano Collection curated and researched by María Amalia García in partnership with the Patrimony Department and Library under the direction of Valeria Semilla and the Conservation Department run by Pino Monkes.