Composite view of the Amalfi Coast, by Carl F. Aagaard and C. Proietto
C. Proietto painting of the Amalfi Coast, courtesy the McCoy Family
C. Proietto painting of the Amalfi Coast, courtesy the Bennett Family
View of the Amalfi Coast, by C. Proietto, courtesy Grayson family
Signature of Costantino Proietto, 20th Century Modern Italian Master
Signature of Costantino Proietto, 20th Century Modern Italian Master
"Follow the story of the Man from Amalfi - Modern Impressionist Master, Costantino Proietto"

Friday, February 10, 2012 1:10 PM Posted by Jim McGillis

Welcome to C. Proietto

Original Oil painting of the Swizz Alps by artist Costantino Proietto - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Two New Paintings by Italian Artist Costantino Proietto Surface in the United States

Since July 2011, I have been investigating an ongoing art mystery involving twentieth century modern impressionist master, Costantino Proietto (1900 – 1979). Among the most startling revelations, from the LoCastro family in New Jersey is that I have been spelling the artist’s name incorrectly. Originally, I understood his name to be “Constantino Proietto”, but after verification by two friends of the artist, I shall henceforth call him by his given name, Costantino Proietto.

After spending over seven months coaxing Google to recognize his misspelled name, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for Google to shift their search algorithm back to the proper spelling. In order to assist them, I have changed all my previous mentions of C.Proietto on the internet to the proper spelling of his name.

Signature "C.Proietto" on the Karns family painting of a Swiss Alps scene - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Many C.Proietto paintings that now reside in the United States originated in Stuttgart, Germany. Stuttgart had been an Allied bombing target during World War II, later becoming a major center for U.S. Military operations in Europe. Today, the 6th Area Support Group (ASG) is located in Stuttgart, providing command, control, communications and Base Operations to Headquarters United States European Command (EUCOM).

Why the Sicilian born artist immigrated to Germany after World War II, we do not yet know. Judging by the number of people and paintings with ties to both C.Proietto and the U.S. Military, it appears that the artist lived in Stuttgart for many years. With the recent discovery of more new pictures, it appears that he painted real life locations. In order to create those scenes, the artist probably made many trips from Germany to Italy and Switzerland. I have one report that he painted within the walls of the Sistine Chapel, at the Vatican.

Italian coastal scene painted by Costatino Proietto in the mid twentieth century - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)This morning, when I opened my email, I had more good news. The Karns family of Severna Park, Maryland provided images of two newly discovered C.Proietto oil paintings. Both works are family treasures, purchased by Peter Karn’s father, who served as an aide to a U.S. Army senior officer in Germany from 1944 to around 1946.

Both Karns family masterpieces appear on this page. One is a coastal scene, with ethereal Mediterranean light. The other features a Swiss Chalet, with a river to one side and the Alps reaching for the sky in the background. Although I do not know either location, perhaps readers of this article could comment the locale of the two new C.Proietto pictures.

Signature of Costantino Proietto (C.Proietto) in the Karns family painting of an Italian coastal scene - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Costantino Proietto’s skill in depicting the sky is unrivaled in modern impressionism. In his Swiss Alps scene, the artist blends the granite of the mountains with the sky above. In the coastal picture, he employs mist or fog to blend light and color between sea and sky. Although these images do a good job of bringing out the artist’s interplay with water and light, viewing the effect in his original works is even grander.

In the near future, we expect to hear from more friends, family and collectors of Costantino Proietto. If any reader has pictures or information regarding the artist, please send an email or click on “Comments” below. Because so many of his works included Italy’s Amalfi Coast, we once called the artist “The Man from Amalfi”. With so many new Costantino Proietto works now surfacing, we may have to add, “The Man from Stuttgart” to his biography.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 1:10 PM Posted by Jim McGillis

Update from August 2011

The McCoy Family C.Proietto painting of the Amalfi Coast - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)

Another Costantino Proietto Painting of the Amalfi Coast is Revealed.

   
We recently discovered that the signature on our oil painting of the Amalfi Coast is “C.Proietto”. Since then, I have been on a quest to find out more about, “The Man from Amalfi”, Signore Costantino Proietto (1900 - ?). Soon after posting my original article on that subject, Ms. Marion Grayson of Belton, Texas sent me an image of her own C.Proietto. It is yet another Amalfi Coast masterpiece.

Grayson family C.Proietto Amalfi Coast oil painting - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Although foreground objects differ, and the field of view varies, each painting was of the same place, by the same artist. On the terrace of the hotel from which he often painted, only the potted plants had changed. Even before seeing his signature, my heart leapt. Here was yet another window in time, created by the master in residence, Costantino Proietto.

Soon after we published images of the Grayson C.Proietto painting, Mr. Darold Bennett of Las Vegas, Nevada emailed three images of his own C.Proietto. Displayed by his in-laws in their home of sixty years, the family treasure hangs now in Bennett’s home. Remarkably, the Bennett CProietto depicts the same Amalfi Coast location as the previous two. As usual, the artist depicts the Amalfi Coast, with a view to the sea. Of his own Costantino Proietto painting, Darold wrote, “I had a hard time trying figuring out the name too, but it finally came to me that it is ‘C.Proietto’, not ‘C.Preietto’. My in-laws had this painting about 60 years. Are [C.Proietto’s] paintings worth anything?”

The quick answer to Darold’s question is; historically no, but in the future, perhaps. From the limited biography available for the artist, only postwar tourists to Italy purchased his paintings from their source. Since initial purchases were in the 1940’s and 1950’s, many C Proietto paintings are now passing from one generaBennett family C.Proietto painting of the Amalfi Coast - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)tion to the next. In our case, we are third-generation owners of our painting.

In most cases, C.Proietto provenance is hard find. Current owners often know who first owned the painting, yet few details of purchase remain. Although an artist of note could counterfeit his works, recent auctions value an original C.Proietto at or below $1000.  Short of forensic analysis, C.Proietto’s unique signature is the best test of authenticity. I cannot imagine anyone copying that multifaceted signature and making it look right. In an effort to strengthen their provenance, some later C.Proietto paintings had wax seals and other documentation attached.

Alternate view of the Bennett Family C.Proietto painting of the Amalfi Coast - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)Bennett’s is the third C Proietto Amalfi Coast painting to surface on the internet in the past month. With such rapid additions to the artist’s known body of work, we wonder how many more examples may exist. We picture many a living room graced by an attractive oil painting depicting a classical Italian scene. Is that the new owner, staring at an enigmatic signature, executed with blue paint so dark that it looks black?

At least one letter in each of the artist’s signatures will be enigmatic, if not indiscernible. Over time, each owner of a C.Proietto painting shall decipher the signature code, conduct a Google search and find that he or she is among friends. If each who discovers their own C.Proietto masterpiece provides us with information on their painting, I shall publish it here.

C.Proietto signature from the Bennett family painting of the Amalfi Coast - Click for larger image (http://jamesmcgillis.com)In Ancient Egypt, Pharaohs appeared as a blend of human and deity, manifested here on Earth. If their god-side was to penetrate eternity, so too must Pharaoh's image. Even today, viewing one of their funerary masks “in person” can send a chill up your spine. In that moment of mutual recognition, we validate another Pharaoh’s quest for eternal life.

On what date Costantino Proietto lifted his final canvas from its easel and sold it to a tourist for a few hundred dollars, we do not know. All we know is that sometime in the second half of the twentieth century, C.Proietto painted his final masterpiece. Each unrecognized painting waits for its owner to decipher to its signature. Like the mask of an ancient Pharaoh looking back at us through time, each locked Costantino Proietto signature awaits its key. In fact, human consciousness is the key to All that Is.