Florence 1898 – 1972
Painter workshop Trompe l’oeil
Signed lower right A.Serri and numbered 943.
Oil on canvas board. Inscribed on the back top left Chriti al Pipo ? il capodanno del 1944.
350 x 500 mm – 13 3/4 x 19 11/16 in.
Provenance – Casa d’asta Poggio Bracciolini, 24 mai 2018, n° 540.
Alfredo Serri, cultivated and sensitive artist, devoted himself at the beginning of his career to music and taught guitar, violin and piano. As a violinist, he was part of the orchestra of the Teatro della Pergola in Florence then gradually abandoned this area to devote himself mainly to painting from 1932. This change is due to the meeting and to friendship which he formed with the artist Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988) with whom he shared his first artistic adventures, studying nature with a marked penchant for Italian and Flemish painting of the 17th century. He participated in the movement of Modern Painters of Reality between 1947 and 1949 by exhibiting, in Florence, alongside Gregorio Sciltian, Carlo Guarienti and the brothers Antonio and Xavier Bueno. This pictorial movement aspires to a dialectical balance between figurative art consolidated over time and the linguistic contributions of the twentieth century. In his work, often poetic, he conducts an existential investigation of man. Producing portraits, self-portraits, landscapes, it is above all in his still lifes and his series on Commedia dell’arte that he reveals this inner dialogue, making reference to metaphysics and surrealism. The first exhibition dedicated to this artist took place in 2014 at the Cassa Ente of the Risparmio in Florence  and was followed, in 2019, by a retrospective on some thirty paintings produced between the years 1940 and 1950 .
In this studio still life, Alfredo Serri stages all the utensils useful to the painter – palette, tube of oil paint, brushes, bottle of ink, drying oil, bucket and pot – and the result of his work -portrait of a woman in red chalk, portrait of a man in oil and watercolor landscape-. The elements are arranged in a wooden box, the outline forming like the frame of a canvas. The studio key is hung on a nail with papers that appear to be the painter’s orders. The realism of the pushpin slightly embedded in the upper part of the frame, the drawing sheet and the brushes coming out of the frame reinforce the effect of depth and trompe-l’oeil desired by the artist.
His taste for 17th century Dutch painting is confirmed in the revival of Portrait of the Man with the Soft Hat by Frans Hals, kept at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister in Cassel (fig. 1, inv. GK 219), which he modifies by replacing the model’s strokes with its own. The inclusion of his self-portrait is an element that comes up regularly in his work.
The number 943, under his signature, corresponds to the year of creation of the work: 1943. Another painting Still life with female portraits , signed and dated in the same way, is currently on the market (fig. 2).
 Alfredo Serri. L’universo si ricompone nel silenzio, exhibition catalog, Ente Cassa di Risparmio, Florence, from October 24, 2014 to January 18, 2015, directed by Stefano da Rosa.  Alfredo Serri, mostra antologica, May 4 to June 15, 2019, Galleria Open Art, Prato.  Still life with female portraits, Oil on canvas, 35 x 45 cm, dated and signed A. Serri 1943, Art market in 2021.