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Francesco Clemente (Italian, b.1952)


Birth Place: Naples, Italy

Who is painter Francesco Clemente? Francesco Clemente is a painter and contemporary artist who is best known as one of the founding members of the Transavanguardia movement of the 1980s. His seminal work in this group helped to define their values and aesthetics, a rejection of the Formalism and conceptual art of the time and marked a return to figurative art. While born in Italy, Clemente has made his home around the world, with stints in India, New York, and various other stops. A restless idealist and artist, his work mirrors his nomadic life, taking on qualities of all the areas he’s called home, making him a true world citizen and artist.  His work has been shown around the world and has led to a worldwide celebrity that has seen an asteroid named after him (265924 Franceclemente) and has had his art featured in the popular movie, Great Expectations (1998). Clemente’s reach is far and he has gone from counterculture provocateur and thinker to an established and respected member of the art community. He continues to produce art today and is as joyous and excited by creation as he was in the 1980s.  What kind of art does Francesco Clemente make? Francesco Clemente is best known for his paintings, mostly portraits, which are best described as Neo-expressionist or Transvanguardia -- the latter of which is an art movement with which Clemente is often linked. Transvanguardia (and Clemente’s work) marked a return to figurative painting, using mythic imagery and symbolism to harken back to an early time before conceptual art. While some might find this an old fashioned approach, Clemente and the other artists of this movement have brought a joy of drawing and painting back to the art establishment. This was a freeing movement, not tied to art critics or the larger art community. The results are often joyous and beautiful, free as the artists who produced it. This has resonated with the rest of the art world, and Clemente has enjoyed profound critical and commercial success.  How did painter Francesco Clemente get started? Francesco Clemente was born in Naples, Italy -- a historically important art city that imprinted itself on the young artist. In 1970 he enrolled in the architecture school of Sapienza in Rome, but failed to get a degree. This period wasn’t without merit though, while in school Clemente met contemporaries Luigi Ontani and Alighiero Boetti who served as artistic mentors to the young Clemente. Also during this time, Clemente met the artist Cy Twombly who was in the midst of an artistic pilgrimage to one of the great art cities of the world. Clemente spent this time working on his ink drawings and developing his trademark style. His first solo show came in 1971 at the Galleria Giulia in Rome. Clemente has spent the rest of his years since traveling the globe, including stints in Madras, India before finally settling in Greenwich Village in New York City. He continues to live there today.  How much are Francesco Clemente’s paintings worth? Francesco Clemente has a large history of paintings and drawings at auction, many of these range from the tens of thousands of dollars up into the hundred thousand dollar range. At the top, Clemente’s piece Experience of Love (1991) which sold for $424,290 in 2007. His work continues to increase in popularity over the years, but there is still opportunity for the art investor. His work is emotional, beautiful, and fun -- making it perfect for even casual art fans.  Where to buy Francesco Clemente’s paintings for sale? See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection. How to value Artist Name paintings/sculptures/photographs? The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.

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