San Francisco, June 2007—Enrico Donati (b. 1909) is the last living Surrealist artist closely associated with the movement’s acknowledged leader, André Breton. Donati was a key figure in the community of European expatriate artists in World War II-era New York. His studio serves as a fertile source of inspiration for his art and provides a striking visual metaphor for the Surrealist conception of the realms of conscious and unconscious thought.
The Surreal World of Enrico Donati, June 9-September 2, 2007, re-creates the extraordinary assemblage of objects in Donati’s New York studio. Like a 17th-century Wunderkammer (wonder room), or Kunstakammer (art room), which juxtaposed objects from the realms of nature and culture, this exhibition includes over fifty the artist’s Surrealist paintings and sculptures from the 1940s and 1950s, juxtaposed with Oceanic, Native American, and African objects, as well as fossils and other natural curiosities from Donati’s studio. The seminal sculpture Fist (1946), a recent museum acquisition, is prominently featured. Timothy Anglin Burgard, the Ednah Root Curator-in-Charge of American Art notes that, “for nearly seven decades, Donati has pursued his Surrealist vision, creating magical works that blur the lines between reality and the imagination. His works capture or conjure the transformative forces of life, death, and rebirth in order to foster new ways of perceiving the visible and invisible worlds that surround us.”
Concurrent with The Surreal World of Enrico Donati at the de Young is a retrospective of Donati’s work at Weinstein Gallery through August 30, 2007. The retrospective includes paintings from the artist’s entire oeuvre, spanning seven decades from the 1940s through the present. “I can honestly say that working so closely with the de Young Museum to give Enrico dual exhibitions that he will attend—at age 98—is the honor of a lifetime,” says Rowland Weinstein, president of Weinstein Gallery. Weinstein Gallery is located at 301 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102; 415.362.8151; open seven days a week from 10 am–6 pm.