O. Louis Guglielmi
The Gallants, 1940
Oil on masonite
30 x 24 inches
Signed Guglielmi and dated 1940 lower right
As a young artist in New York during the 1920s and 1930s, O. Louis Guglielmi was familiar with the legacy of the Ashcan School artists. Like them, he drew his subject matter from the streets, focusing on the plight of immigrants and the realities of poverty. However, he interpreted his subjects through the prism of Surrealism, especially as it appeared in the work of Giorgio de Chirico.
Guglielmi sets The Gallants on Minetta Street, a narrow lane in Greenwich Village and the setting of a number of earlier works. In his street scenes, he reduced architectural forms to flat geometric planes of color. “I like to evoke the feel of a street, the unseen life hidden by blank walls, its bustle and noise, the mystery of a deserted alley,” the artist wrote in 1944. “I people my pictures,” he added, “and no matter how minute in scale they may be, the attempt is to imbue them with a sense of reality.”