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Pietro Consagra was born in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, October 4, 1920. He attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in 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 Forma I group, which supported a socially oriented nonfigurative aesthetic. Forma I held the first show of nonfigurative 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 one-man show took place in 1947 at the Galleria Mola, Rome. In 1949 he contributed work to the exhibition Mostra di scultura contemporanea at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.
Consagra was given one-man exhibitions at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, in1958, at the Galerie de France, Paris, in 1959, the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, in 1967, and at the Marlborough Gallery, Rome, in 1974. The artist received 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 one-man show in New York at Staempfli Gallery, and participated in the exhibition I Grandi Premi della Biennale 1948-1960 at Galleria Ca’Pesaro, Venice. In 1964 he executed a fountain in Mazara del Vallo.
Consagra has written at length on 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, 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, Stoccarda, opened a permanent installation of his paintings and sculptures in 2002. Consagra’s one man show took place in the same year at the Museo d’Arte Moderna, Bolzano, then presented at Palazzo Sertoli and Palazzo Pretorio in Sondrio. Consagra died on July 16, 2005, in Milan.