Artist: Pietro Consagra
Title: Piccolo Conmizo, 1956
Size: 25" x 18.75"
Pietro Consagra (Italian 1920-2005)
Consagra was born on October 4, 1920, in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily. He attended the Accademia di belle arti, Palermo, from 1938 to 1944, the year he moved to Rome. He first traveled to Paris in 1946 after participating in his first group exhibition in Rome at the Galleria del Cortile. In 1947 he was a founding member of the group Forma 1 (Form 1, 1947–51), which supported a socially oriented, nonfigurative aesthetic. Forma 1 held the first show of nonfigurative art in postwar Rome, Mostra del Gruppo Forma 1 (Exhibition of the group Form 1), at the Art Club and published a journal on contemporary aesthetics (Forma 1, two issues, 1947–50). Consagra's first solo show took place in 1947 at the Galleria Mola, Rome. In 1949 he contributed work to the exhibition Mostra di scultura contemporanea (Exhibition of contemporary sculpture) at Peggy Guggenheim's Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Venice.
Consagra was given solo exhibitions at the Palais des beaux-arts, Brussels (1958); Galerie de France, Paris (1959); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands (1967); and Marlborough Galleria d'arte, Rome (1974). The artist received a prize at the 1955 São Paulo Biennial and participated frequently in the Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Einaudi Prize (1956) and Grand Prize for sculpture (1960). In 1962 he was given his first solo show in New York at Staempfli Gallery and participated in the exhibition I Grandi Premi della Biennale 1948–1960 (Grand prize of the biennale 1948–1960) at Galleria Ca'Pesaro, Venice. In 1964 he executed a fountain in Mazara del Vallo. In the 1960s Consagra was associated with Continuità (Continuity, 1961–ca. 1970), a group established in Rome with many former members of Forma 1, including Carla Accardi, Piero Dorazio, and Gastone Novelli. The group advocated a stronger unity with Italian art history, as well as the restoration of order and structure in art.
Consagra has written at length on his art: his polemical pamphlet, La necessità della scultura (The necessity of sculpture, 1952), an important refutation of Arturo Martini's La scultura lingua morta (Sculpture, a dead language, 1945), was followed by L'agguato c'è (The snare exists, 1960), and La città frontale (The frontal city, 1969). A major retrospective was held at the Galleria nazionale d'arte moderna, Rome (1989), where a permanent installation of his works was opened in 1993. In 1991, he became the first abstract sculptor to exhibit at the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg. The Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart, Germany, opened a permanent installation of his paintings and sculptures in 2002. A solo show took place in the same year at the Museo d'arte moderna, Bolzano, Italy, then presented at Palazzo Sertoli and Palazzo Pretorio, Sondrio, Italy.