Salvatore Pinto was born on January 4, 1905 in Cas'Avellino, Italy, one of five children born to a fruit and vegetable vendor. His family immigrated to America in 1909, and they settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Along with his two brothers Biagio and Angelo, he began studying art in the late 1920’s with Dr. Albert C. Barnes. Dr. Barnes is well known today for the Barnes Foundation, the art museum in the suburbs of Philadelphia that displays his collection of noted modern artworks by artists such as Matisse and Cezanne. Through the close relationship that they formed with Dr. Barnes, Salvatore and his brothers had the opportunity to travel to France and Italy with Dr. Barnes. While on this trip, they visited Matisse’s studio. These worldly experiences helped Salvatore grow as an artist and refine his artistic skills. During the 1930’s in New York City, the brothers opened a studio which they shared. Salvatore practiced mural painting, etching, block printing, and drawing. He also collaborated with his brothers on color photography for Life and Look magazines and stage design for ballet companies. His work exemplifies his impeccable abilities to illustrate life in New York, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. After World War II, Pinto was involved in a car accident, causing him to retire from painting and printmaking, but he continued doing photography and stage design with his brothers. Pinto’s work was exhibited in the Corcoran Gallery Biennials four times from 1930 to 1943. He was awarded a prize by the Philadelphia Print Club in 1932 for his work, and in 1934, the club awarded him a gold medal. He has been featured in other well-known establishments such as the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1934 and 1936, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Barnes Foundation, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Even after his death in 1966, his work is still remembered. In Mills, Pinto captures the essence of industrialized America. It was during this time that mass factory production slowly increased, and such large structures were required to accommodate large production. The illustrated mill could have been a steel mill like the ones common to Pennsylvania. Pinto’s finely detailed print illustrates a series of large buildings and smoke stacks connected to one another. The entire piece is composed primarily of geometric figures except for the smoke spiraling up into the air and leading the viewer’s eye away from the busy scene below. When the viewer first observes the print, the eye is drawn to the smokestack in the left foreground, for its value is the darkest. It is from this point that the viewer is drawn back into the scene to the other smokestacks and the buildings. The viewer’s perception of the scene is from ground level, looking up at the towering structures. There is a wide range in the tonal contrast, and a variety of textures are used to distinguish the different buildings and their positions in the picture plane. The central windowed bridge-like structure receding into the background appears to be done in stippling, while the rectangular structure below it is composed of parallel lines. Pinto may be using the texture of these lines to suggest that the building’s exterior is made of a ridged metal material popularly used in constructing industrial buildings. Between these two structures and other bridge-like structures, an x-like crossing is established in the center of the composition. Within these ‘bridges,’ two men appear to be communicating with one another, for the lower one is looking up and the higher one is peering down at the other individual. The nine smokestacks in the background, along with the gable-roofed building, draw the viewer’s eye upward. The gable-roofed building creates a triangular silhouette that cuts into the sky and contrasts with the other shapes cut by the smokestacks. Other than the smokestack constructed of metal sheets attached together with rivets in the foreground, a focal point is not established. Windows are repeated throughout the piece in every single building. The layering of the buildings and the bridges leading into other buildings forms a complex composition.
Kaitlin Costley. "Salvatore Pinto." Carrollton Collects: Prints from the WPA. Carrollton, GA: Department of Art, University of West Georgia, 2011. Print.
Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Vol. 3. 3 vols. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999. McCloy, Helen. “Human Values in the Art of the Pinto Brothers.” Parnassus 6, no. 8 (January 1935): 4-6. "Pinto Takes Richmond." Saturday Evening Post 216, no. 4 (July 24, 1943): 4. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed July 20, 2011).