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Eduardo Paolozzi was born to Italian parents in Leith, near Edinburgh, on March 7, 1924. He took evening classes at the Edinburgh College of Art in 1943 and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, from 1945 to 1947. His first one-man exhibition took place at the Mayor Gallery, London, in 1947. From 1947 to 1949 Paolozzi lived in Paris, where he Knew Brancusi, Tzara, Giacometti and Dubuffet. Deeply interested in Dada, Surrealism and Art Brut in this period, he was especially drawn to the Surrealist collage. Returning to London in 1949, he associated with Bacon, with whom he shared an enthusiasm for pulp imagery and brutal surfaces. From 1949 to 1955 Paolozzi taught textile design at the Central School of Art and Design, London.
A leader in the development of British Pop Art, in 1953 Paolozzi was a member of the Independent Group of artists and critics in London, influencing its position in favor of popular imagery, and organizing its major exhibitions. In the 1950s Paolozzi extended the idea of collage into sculpture, and he incorporated found objects into his hulking, rough-surfaced anthropomorphic or animal figures of cast metal. These figures were succeeded in the 1960s by austere polished metal sculptures of simpler monumental components that often included or referred to machine parts. Among the major group shows in which the artist participated during this period were the Venice Biennale, 1952, 1960, and the São Paulo Bienal, 1963.
Active as a printmaker since 1950, Paolozzi produced his first unified series of graphic, All Is When, in 1964. During the 1970s he produced compartmentalized boxlike reliefs in wood or bronze as well as freestanding cast metal sculptures with machine references. His major one-man exhibitions include retrospectives at the Tate Gallery, London, 1971, and the Nationalgalerie, Berlin, 1975, and a print retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1977. The artist, who was elected to the Royal Academy in 1978, died in London on April 22, 2005.