Pietro Consagra was born in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, on October 4, 1920. He attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Palermo from 1938 to 1944, and subsequently 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 Forma 1 group, which supported a socially oriented non-figurative aesthetic. Forma 1 held the first show of non-figurative art in postwar Rome, Mostra del Gruppo Forma I, at the Art Club, and published a journal on contemporary aesthetics entitled Forma I. Consagra’s first solo show took place in 1947 at the Galleria Mola in Rome. In 1949 he contributed his work to the Mostra di scultura contemporanea exhibition at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Consagra was given solo exhibitions at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, in 1958; at the Galerie de France in Paris, in 1959; at the Museum Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, in 1967; and at the Marlborough Gallery in Rome, in 1974. The artist was awarded a prize at the São Paulo Bienal in 1955, and participated frequently in the Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Einaudi Prize in 1956 and a Grand Prize for Sculpture in 1960. In 1962 he was given his first solo show in New York at Staempfli Gallery, and participated in the I Grandi Premi della Biennale 1948-1960 exhibition at Ca’ Pesaro Galleria internazionale d'arte moderna in Venice. In 1964 he executed a fountain in Mazara del Vallo.

Consagra wrote at length about his art. His polemical pamphlet of 1952, La necessità della scultura, which was an important refutation of Arturo Martini’s La scultura lingua morta, was followed by L’agguato c’è (1961), and La città frontale (1969). A major retrospective of his work was held at the Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna in Rome, in 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, St. Petersburg. The Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart opened a permanent installation of his paintings and sculptures in 2002. The same year, a solo show took place at the Museo d’Arte Moderna, Bolzano, then traveled to Palazzo Sertoli and Palazzo Pretorio in Sondrio. Pietro Consagra died on July 16, 2005, in Milan.


Artworks