Alfonso Ossorio

Etching and aquatint on white wove paper, 1984. 600×451 mm; 23¾x18 inches, full margins. Signed, titled, dated and numbered 14/35 in pencil, lower margin. Printed and published by Hudson River Editions, New York, with the blind stamp lower right recto. A very good, dark and well-inked impression.

The scion of a Philippine sugar magnate, Ossorio (1916-1990) was one of the early practitioners of Abstract Expressionism, and in the 1950s he formed important artistic friendships with Jackson Pollock and Jean Dubuffet. These artists showed Ossorio the value of looking inward for inspiration, and his surrealistic imagery began to evolve into more abstract, outwardly expressionistic work.

From 1934 to 1938, Ossorio studied fine art at Harvard University and then continued his practice at the Rhode Island School of Design. He became an American citizen in 1933 and served as a medical illustrator in the United States Army during World War II. Circling back to his Catholic-Filipino roots, Ossorio painted a mural, known as The Angry Christ, in 1950 for the parish of St. Joseph in Victorias City, Negros Occidental in the Philippines. Soon after, in the early 1950s, he was pouring oil and enamel paints onto canvas–à la Pollock–in the style of the first abstract expressionists in the US. Later in his career, he returned to religious themes, including the current work, from a series of etchings he created based on Quem Quaeritis, which refers to four lines of the medieval Easter liturgy that later formed the core of the large body of medieval liturgical drama. The Quem Quaeritis (or, “Whom do you seek?”) was an exchange of one question, one answer, and one command between the Angels at Christ’s tomb and the three Marys, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the sister of Lazarus.

There is Another God, 1984

Quem Quaeritis, 1984

Amordie, 1983

Exhibition Poster Betty Parsons

Untitled (Small Yellow Square) , 1984

Untitled (Tightrope), 1984

Untitled Monotype

Untitled, 1984

Untitled, 1984

Ossorio Untitled color Monotype

Untitled, 1984

Good Friday

Untitled B & W Square, 1984

Untitled (Frontispiece), 1984

Concord, Bioscape One, 1984

Untitled (Heart), 1984

Untitled (Keep your Head Down), 1984

Untitled (Keep your Head Down), 1984

Untitled (Smile), 1984

Jewish Star, 1984

Alfonso Ossorio, Philippine Artist and Collector

The Art of Relationships. Quantum Engagement: Jackson Pollock and Alfonso Ossorio, with Mike Solomon

An assemblage of familiar objects | Alfonso Ossorio | UNIQLO ARTSPEAKS