Franco Grignani: Art as Design 1950–1990
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
– 10 September 2017
Franco Grignani (1908-1999) is seen as one of the most influential representatives of Op Art graphics of the 1960s in Italy. Until 10 September 2017, the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in London is displaying the works he produced between 1950 and 1990.
Grignani became famous as a result of the woolmark symbol he created for the Woolmark Company in 1964. The symbol, that is reminiscent of the convoluted shape of a Möbius strip, does not only stand for excellent achievement in graphic communication but is also linked with a story. The Woolmark Company set up a competition to design the new symbol. As a member of the jury, Grignani was not allowed to submit one of his own designs. However, as he was very disappointed by the submissions, he nevertheless designed a logo under the pseudonym of Francesco Saroglia. It was selected as the winner. To this day, there is dispute as to whether he submitted the symbol himself or whether someone else did it for him.
In addition to the symbol, the Estorick Collection is showing another 130 works that display Grignani’s approach to optical effects in graphic design, painting and experimental photography. Throughout the years, he researched the relationships in the processes of perception and optical effects and tackled mathematics in art and gestalt psychology.
In staging this exhibition, the Estorick Collection is expanding its focus on futuristic works from the first half of the twentieth century. Opened in 1998 in London, the collection is the only museum in the United Kingdom that specialises in modern Italian art.