Pen and black ink on grayish paper. Signed and dated bottom left Guttuso '40. 217 x 178 mm.
Born in Sicily, Guttuso completed his classical studies in Palermo. Abandoning the idea of a law degree, he instead decided to embark upon a career as a painter and in 1931 he moved to Rome where he exhibited at the I Quadrennial. Guttuso's first paintings depict the peasants of his native Sicily in a figurative style. Between 1935 and 1937 he stayed in Milan, coming into contact with the artists Renato Birolli and Giacomo Manzù, the critic Edoardo Persico and the philosopher Antonio Banfi. Besides embracing the anti-fascist cause within this environment he also came into contact with anti-novecento reaction, approaching realist art. In 1940 Guttuso became a member of the Italian Communist Party and was consequently active in the anti-fascist resistance in Italy from 1943 to 1945 and joined the Fronte Nuovo delle Arti. After the war, he continued to paint in his realistic style, referring to current political themes.